World-Class Track and Field Center Comes to Randall's Island
By Barbara Jarvie
Last updated: Aug 20, 2003 05:26PM
RANDALL'S ISLAND, NY-One of the signs that New York is gearing up to be a possible Olympics venue is the $37 million development of a world-class track and field center on Randall's Island-the only one of its kind in New York City.
According to the Randall's Island Sports Foundation, the 10,000-center now under construction for a summer 2004 unveiling will far exceed the expectations of all track and field competitors and spectators. The center will be the only local facility to host international competition and Olympic Trials, and will also be a nexus for the general public including the disabled, and the private and public school community.
The stadium is being built on the former site of the antiquated Downing Stadium, the site of Olympic Trials in the 1920's and 1991. The foundation is working together with New York City Economic Development Corporation and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. They selected Bovis Lend Lease LMB Inc. as construction manager, Hillier as prime architect, and Ricardo Zurita Architecture and Planning, associate architect, to provide design and construction management services for the construction. The facility which will meet IAFF Competition Category 3 requirements to accommodate championships including Olympic trial meets, will have a Mondo track and provide covered stadium seating for 5,000; support facilities for participants and spectators; and an additional 5,000 open bleacher seats.
There will be two 160-foot high light towers that will function dually as a source of light for track and field events, and to illuminate the skyline. The towers, located at opposite ends of the stadium, will also serve as structural piers for a series of suspension cables supporting a slim-profiled, slightly inclined, flat roof that will appear to hover above the stadium seating. Another cable, arching from the base of one tower to a height of 75 feet at the center and back down to the base of the second tower, will stabilize this suspension structure. The stadium’s ground level will accommodate locker, training, and storage facilities. A broad staircase, supplemented by an elevator, will provide separate spectator access to the concourse level, with public toilets, concession stands, and through-passageways to the spectator seating, which is oriented to give panoramic views of Manhattan as well as excellent track and field sightlines. All levels provide for wheelchair access and accommodations.
Phase one--the demolition of the antiquated Downing Stadium was funded through public and private contributions and has been completed. Now in its early stages, Phase two includes construction of a first-class facility meeting UST&F & IAFF standards for international competition and Olympic trials, covered seating for 5,000 spectators, temporary bleachers for an additional 5,000 people, and design specifications to include the disabled.
Nearly 700,000 visitors come each year to Randall's and Wards Island Park for sports, recreation and environmental education activities. Earlier this year, more than $3.2 million in funding was earmarked for the protection and restoration of Randall's and Wards Island Park, part of a joint effort of the State, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, and the RISF to increase public access and enjoyment of this urban park.
Back in 2001, former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani broke ground for the beginning of several major initiatives at the area. Together, they were expected to create more than 500 May through September jobs, generate approximately $1.5 million in direct revenue annually for the city and approximately $1.25 million in tax revenue.
The Randall's Island Sports Foundation was created in 1992 as a public/private partnership for managing the recreational activities on Randall's and Wards Island.
New Track and Field Stadium at Randall's Island Park to be Completed with $10 Million Gift from Carl Icahn
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe, and Randall's Island Sports Foundation (RISF) Chair Richard J. Davis today announced that the Carl C. Icahn Foundation and The Icahn Charitable Foundation, both funded by Carl Icahn, internationally renowned financier, have committed $10 million to sponsor a new world-class track and field stadium on Randall's Island Park. The gift is the largest ever from a donor to a New York City park facility. Icahn Stadium, already in construction, will be the only state-of-the-art outdoor track and field venue in New York City designed to host local, national, and international competitions. The stadium will have seating for up to 10,000 spectators, a 400-meter running track, and a regulation-size soccer field, and will attract world-class events, while also providing a key resource to local communities and schools. The $40 million project is also funded by $20 million in public funds and another $10 million in private donations, and will be complete by fall 2004. Carl Icahn, Gail Icahn, Deputy Mayor Patricia E. Harris, Economic Development Corporation (EDC) President Andrew Alper and RISF Founder and President Karen Cohen joined the announcement at the Arsenal, Parks & Recreation headquarters, in Central Park.
"Carl Icahn is a truly generous New Yorker who has supported this City in many ways, and we are grateful for his donation to this great facility," said Mayor Bloomberg. "With seating for up to 10,000 spectators, a 400-meter running track, and an irrigated, regulation-size soccer field, Icahn Stadium will be a state-of-the-art outdoor track and field venue and provide fitness opportunities for all New Yorkers - especially children. We look forward to using it for track and field competitions for local communities and schools. Icahn Stadium will be an invaluable addition to Randall's Island Park, and I look forward to cutting the ribbon."
"I am proud to be part of this much needed movement to help the underprivileged youth of New York," said Mr. Icahn. "Randall's Island Park is the ideal location to establish an athletic complex to fulfill this function."
"Parks & Recreation has enjoyed a long and productive partnership with the Randall's Island Sports Foundation," said Commissioner Benepe. "The construction of this new stadium is the result of years of campaigning and fund-raising efforts. It will allow us to expand our programming, offering our city's kids and athletes of all levels a desperately needed venue for track and field competitions, while helping to shape New York as the center of track and field."
The New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, New York City EDC, and RISF are developing the state-of-the-art facility, which broke ground in January 2003. Situated on the 25-acre northwestern waterfront area of Randall's Island Park known as the Great Lawn, Icahn Stadium will be visible from the East Side of Manhattan and from the FDR Drive. In addition to a full standard 400-meter running track flanked by covered spectator seating, the stadium will include modern locker rooms, showers special accommodations for the disabled and meeting rooms within the seating complex. A suspended roof structure and signature light towers will mirror the unique and historic architecture of the Triborough Bridge, which spans the length of the Park. The project architect is Hillier and the associate architect is Ricardo Zurita. The landscape architect is MPFP.
Carl Icahn is a New Yorker who grew up in Far Rockaway, Queens and attended Far Rockaway High School. His mother was a teacher and his father was a cantor. Mr. Icahn is now one of the best-known figures in American business and finance. His investment firm, Icahn & Co. Inc. specializes in real estate development, oil and gas, railcar leasing and manufacturing, and technology firms. A noted philanthropist with an interest in educational issues and a special concern for abused and neglected children, Mr. Icahn established his Foundations to serve a diverse range of educational and charitable endeavors. He has established the Carl C. Icahn Laboratory for Princeton University's Institute for Integrated Genomics at Choate Rosemary Hall, in Wallingford, Connecticut. Mr. Icahn established the Icahn Scholars Program, as well as the Carl C. Icahn Science Center - Choate Science Center. The Children's Rescue Fund, also established by Mr. Icahn, sponsors Icahn House, a home for single mother's and their children. Mr. Icahn made substantial donations to Mt. Sinai Hospital and established the Carl C. Icahn Charter School in the Bronx.
"We are extremely grateful to the Carl Icahn Foundation for this extraordinarily generous gift," said RISF Chairman Richard Davis. "Mr. Icahn is a wonderful partner in preserving and enhancing Randall's Island Park's rich tradition of international track and field and competitive sports, and improving the quality of life for all New Yorkers."
Randall's Island Sports Foundation (RISF) is a public/private partnership with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, which assists in the management and operation of the 480-acre Randall's Island Park. RISF has helped significantly to attract private support to improve the flagship park and also develops sports and recreational facilities and sponsors community-linked programs for the children of New York City. Other contributors to the track and field stadium project include the Starr Foundation, Booth Ferris Foundation, David Howe, Al Gordon, Tori Dauphinot and Ken Hubbard, Bloomberg L.P., Bill Doty, and the Doty Family Foundation. Funding has also been allocated by Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields, the City Council and the City of New York. This is another example of the administration's commitment to raising private support for public projects.
January 26, 2005
So What's in a Big, Bright Name on the Skyline? For City, $10 Million
By SAM ROBERTS
Drivers on the East Side of Manhattan have no trouble spotting the name for a sports stadium on Randalls Island that will open in April.
Carl C. Icahn, the philosophy major turned corporate raider, investor and philanthropist, is New York's latest man of letters.
Five letters, to be precise, costing him $2 million apiece.
To the surprise of some East Side residents and passing drivers on the Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive, the name Icahn is now spelled out in eight-foot-high, stainless-steel type atop a new track and field stadium on Randalls Island.
And just in case any potential donors, spectators or athletes missed the name "Icahn Stadium" since it was installed on the grandstand roof last fall, concerns about inconspicuousness dissipated last month when the sign was illuminated by white light-emitting diodes.
The stand-alone letters read backward from the adjacent Triborough Bridge elevated roadway that leads to and from Queens, where Mr. Icahn was born. But they are plainly legible from Manhattan, which was precisely the point.
"Look, it's plainly large, but from our perspective it attracts attention to the fact that there are things happening on the island," said Richard J. Davis, a lawyer and the chairman of the Randalls Island Sports Foundation, a partnership with the city's Parks Department.
The stadium is to open in April with an Olympic-class 400-meter running track, a soccer field, locker rooms and a dance studio that will be available to school and community groups with permits.
The city contributed about half of the $45 million cost, with the rest raised by the foundation from private sources.
Mr. Icahn's $10 million gift was the biggest private contribution to any park facility in the city. (The sign itself cost $327,000.)
Mr. Davis recalled that about a year ago, Mr. Icahn was offered "a highly visible naming opportunity." He responded by offering to contribute $10 million through two foundations to help complete the structure. Without the gift, the stadium would probably have been built without the roof, which is suspended over a grandstand, or the two light towers that were designed to evoke the architecture of the adjacent bridge - not to mention the sign.
"For $5 million we probably wouldn't have named a whole stadium after someone," Mr. Davis said. "And we were happy to get an individual rather than, say, Krispy Kreme, so it wouldn't look like advertising."
In New York, though, any incursion on the skyline can be jarring, at least initially. This month, the columnist Cindy Adams complained in The New York Post about the "monster-size letters" atop a stadium built for "track or field or soccer or Olympics of businessman Carl Icahn's ego." She suggested that he "hire an electrician for $30 to dim the lights." Others are worried about the precedent of buying skyline prominence.
"It's a great gift to the city and Icahn deserves plenty of attention," said Kent L. Barwick, president of the Municipal Art Society of New York, "but we hope the city, as it seeks private funding, will not overwhelm us with billboard credits."
How big, or bright, can a sign be legally? If it's in Central Park, not very big. In 1997, a Manhattan couple, Edith and Henry Everett, withdrew their $3 million donation to help rebuild the Children's Zoo after the city's Art Commission decided that their names could be officially recognized in letters only two inches tall.
Randalls Island is in another class. Last April, the Art Commission approved the Icahn Stadium design, sign included.
Mr. Icahn said the giant surname was not his idea. "I was going to put the name of one of my companies on it to get publicity," Mr. Icahn said in an interview the other day. "They preferred I do it personally. They said, 'If we have Icahn's name on it we'll get other rich guys to follow.' "
No size was specified for the sign; Mr. Icahn eventually chose from among several mock-ups.
"I don't recall him rejecting one and saying, 'Make it bigger,' " Mr. Davis said.
Given the potential exposure to passers-by, if not necessarily to spectators, Mr. Icahn's investment could be a bargain, considering that Reliant Energy committed about $300 million over 30 years for naming rights to the Houston Texans' football stadium, and FedEx promised $205 million over 27 years for the home of the Washington Redskins. What with mergers and takeovers, the sort that Mr. Icahn engineers, many corporate names do not survive that long anyway.
Icahn Stadium was built on the footprint of the old Municipal Stadium, which was unobtrusively renamed in 1955 for John J. Downing, the city's recreation director. That stadium was demolished in 2002.
"We loved to see those signs," said Joan Kane, one of Mr. Downing's daughters.
Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company
New Track Shines on Randall's Island
BY MAURA YATES - Special to the Sun
April 20, 2005
The city's newest stadium will be opening this weekend, but unlike other stadiums involved in New York's 2012 Olympic bid, this one is refreshingly free of controversy.
Icahn Stadium at Randall's Island is one of the country's finest track and field facilities, and the only one in the nation to be accredited by the International Amateur Athletic Federation, which has designated it a first-class facility.
The state-of-the-art stadium, long awaited by New York's runners, will be used as an Olympic training track if New York wins the 2012 Summer Games. It is also being considered as the host for the 2008 Olympic track and field trials.
The new facility was built in the footprint of the former Downing Stadium, where the famed black track star Jesse Owens qualified for the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Downing Stadium was demolished in 2002.
The opening ceremony for Icahn Stadium will be held this Saturday and will include a tribute to Owens, featuring a re-enactment of his 100-meter dash by Athens Olympic gold medalist and Brooklyn native Justin Gatlin. There will also be a dedication of the Jesse Owens Track & Field Club by his daughter, Marlene Owens Rankin.
The stadium, which features a 400-meter Mondo surface running track, can accommodate up to 10,000 spectators.
The nicest part about the facility, said stadium spokeswoman Katie Daniels, is that it will be used by everyone, from elementary school children to adult amateur athletes to Olympians. More than 125,000 athletes from 400 schools and 100 colleges are expected to compete at the track in its first year. This year's schedule is already full, with 50 planned meets.
The $42 million facility is the result of public and private donations, capped by a $10 million donation from billionaire financier Carl Icahn.
According to the executive director of the Randall's Island Sports Foundation, Aimee Boden, Mr. Icahn, a Queens native, was drawn to the project by his recent interest in supporting programs involving kids and sports. "It caught his eye because it's going to be a top-quality thing," she said.
"The completion of Icahn Stadium will result in a world-class track and field facility," said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. "It will allow the city to resume its former role as a producer of track and field stars."
When the track isn't used for competitions, it will be incorporated into the Randall's Island Kids children's program, which provides physical activity for more than 10,000 youths in East Harlem and the South Bronx.
Last weekend's USA Men's and Women's 8K Championships and the Randall's Island 5K were the first races held at the stadium.
"The professionals loved the track," said a spokesman for the New York Road Runners Club, Richard Finn. "They said it felt good under their feet."
Mr. Finn said that the New York Road Runners are exploring bringing back top-flight competitions to the city now that the new facility has been completed. "This is something we have needed in the New York metropolitan area for quite some time," he said.
Randall's Island Reborn
Regional park revived with major new amenities,
its largest public space investment since Robert Moses
More than 60 athletic fields are among the improvements
recently made to Randall's Island.
Randall’s Island has long been a daunting landscape of deteriorating ball fields and overgrown parkland. But on May 19, the Randall’s Island Sports Foundation (RISF) announced the completion of more than 60 new athletic fields, one of the final pieces of a decade-long effort to revive the island as a recreational destination. Along with acres of landscaped open space, a waterfront promenade, and other public amenities, the vast project has transformed the forlorn site for residents of East Harlem and the city beyond.
The $130 million field project, launched in 2007, fulfills the dream of then–Parks Commissioner Robert Moses, who in the 1930s aspired to transform the 480-acre island into playing fields and public pathways. “When we opened the fields the other day, Moses’ vision was finally completed—we are really turning the island into a state-of-the-art athletic facility,” said Rick Parisi, managing partner at M. Paul Friedberg and Partners (MPFP), lead architect for the project. The new fields are expected to double the island’s visitors, currently numbering 700,000 annually, with an array of facilities for soccer, softball, baseball, football, lacrosse, and cricket. Improvements also include artificial turf on 11 fields for year-round use, lighting for evening play, restrooms, dugouts, and bike racks.
The bleachers at Icahn Stadium, which opened in 2005.
Courtesy Zurita Architects
The masterplan forged by MPFP recovered land from various institutions—including the Manhattan Psychiatric Center and the Wards Island Water Pollution Control Plant—that were a major obstacle to creating connectivity and giving the island an identity as a singular park. The present phase improves orientation in the landscape through a grid inspired by Manhattan’s 625-foot-long West Side blocks.
“The grid helped us to generate familiarity and orient the fields properly,” said Ricardo Zurita, principal of Zurita Architects, which collaborated on the masterplan and other aspects of the park, including the design of new sculptural comfort stations that serve as nodes along the grid. The artificial fields were also inserted along the edges of the island’s natural areas. “By doing this we tried to blur this very artificial landscape and blend it seamlessly with naturalistic elements,” Zurita said.
Young baseball players take to some of the island's dozens of diamonds,
with the RFK Bridge in the background.
Other park additions include the planting of 4,000 trees in tandem with PlanNYC’s Million Trees initiative, as well as new waterfront pathways designed by RGR Landscape Architecture that offer scenic views along the East River. Elements remaining to be finalized are the restoration of shorelines—including sea wall, riprap, and areas of natural beach, as well as several more ball fields and a path providing access to a new bridge connecting to the Bronx Greenway.
The project marks a milestone for RISF, which manages the island as a public-private partnership with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. Aimee Boden, executive director of RISF, said the new work complements additions such as the 2005 Icahn Stadium and the Sportime tennis center, completed last year. “I really hope that this galvanizes the island,” she said, “and brings it to its place as a regional park facility where New York City goes to play.”
Copyright © 2003-2010 | The Architect's Newspaper, LLC.
^ That's an excellent aerial view of Randall's Island and the Triborough (JFK) and Hell Gate Bridges.
A few days old, but...
On Randalls Island, Private Schools Play Free
By JENNY ANDERSON
June 13th, 2010
On a blazing May afternoon, a group of lanky seventh- and eighth-grade softball players from the Dalton School were locked in a fierce battle against a rival private school, St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s. The championship game was being played on Randalls Island, on an immaculately manicured field that sparkled in the sunlight. Not far away, boats chugged along the East River.
Nearby, Nightingale-Bamford was battling Brearley in lacrosse, and softball players from Trevor Day were practicing for their own championship game.
In 2006, these private schools and 15 others offered to contribute $52.6 million toward the construction and refurbishment of sports fields on the island, in exchange for a guarantee that they could have two-thirds of the fields from 3 to 6 p.m. on school days in the spring and fall. A coalition of public school parents, community groups and park advocates, arguing that the city had no right to grant private schools special access to public land, sued to overturn the deal and won.
But the city built the fields anyway, and today, the private schools are, in effect, getting at no cost what they had been willing to pay millions to secure.
In 2010, during the coveted 3 to 6 p.m. weekday slot, independent private schools used the fields 56 percent of the time, compared with 13 percent for public schools, according to the Department of Parks and Recreation. The balance of the playing time during those hours was taken up by other private schools, including Catholic schools, which were not part of the agreement; local youth groups; and community organizations like the Harlem Little League.
Adrian Benepe, the parks commissioner, called the court decisions “unfortunate” and said everything the city did was “on the up and up and with a great civic purpose.”
The fields have benefited a far broader group than just the private schools, he said.
Counting evenings and weekends, adult leagues, youth leagues and community-based organizations accounted for 83 percent of total field use in 2010, according to the parks department.
And Mr. Benepe said he still thought the private school deal would be a good one for the city.
“What the litigation achieved is letting the private schools off the hook,” he said. “The private schools were subsidizing a great public benefit without a requirement to do so.”
The debate over the use of the island highlights some of the challenges inherent in public-private partnerships. “It seemed like it would be win-win for public schools and private schools and community groups, because we would have so many more fields,” said Richard J. Davis, head of the Randalls Island Sports Foundation, a nonprofit that raises money for the island and oversees its care in conjunction with the parks department.
But protests came swiftly. Opponents said the deal amounted to private usurping of public land, and even worse, it was sealed without public discussion. “We thought that it wasn’t appropriate legally and otherwise to make such drastic changes to public parks without consulting with the community,” said Marina Ortiz, one of the plaintiffs, who lives in East Harlem.
In February 2008, a judge nullified the deal, saying it should have been approved by the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, also known as Ulurp, a rigorous process that requires major projects to be reviewed by the local community board and borough president and approved by the City Planning Commission and City Council.
The schools and the city devised a new deal, with the schools paying $44 million for use of 50 percent of the fields during the after-school hours and guaranteeing that public schools would get 40 percent of the use.
But in December 2009, a second judge ruled that the city had still bypassed the public review process, describing its arguments as “audacious” and showing more “daring than logic.” That judge also ordered the city to pay the plaintiffs’ legal costs.
The city continued work on the fields. The plaintiffs asked a judge to halt the work, but were denied. The schools paid their first installment of $2.2 million last fall, before the second ruling. The city is still weighing whether to appeal the decision, but if it is not overturned, the schools will get their money back.
When the work was mostly done, the city held a ribbon-cutting on May 19 and heralded the project as “the largest city-funded initiative, in both scale and investment, dedicated toward new sports fields in New York City in over a century.” The total cost, almost all of it public dollars, was more than $130 million.
Mr. Davis said that the city began the work because it had the commitment from the private schools. Mr. Benepe said that by the time the ruling came down, “the money was spent, everything was in the ground.”
Norman Siegel, a lawyer representing the group that sued, said it was an empty victory. “People say, ‘Congratulations, you won,’ and I say: ‘What did I win? They did it anyway.’”
He rejected the notion that the lawsuit wound up costing the city millions. “The reason the city is not getting the money is not because of the litigation but because of how the city handled this situation,” he said. “The city could have and should have gone through the Ulurp process.”
The private schools, meanwhile, are elated about the fields. “It’s changed our lives,” said GloriAnne DiToro, the varsity lacrosse coach at Nightingale-Bamford. Schools use the fields not only for intramural sports like soccer, softball and lacrosse, but also for physical education classes. Ms. DiToro said she had noticed fewer student athletes leaving Nightingale-Bamford in ninth grade, when many opt for boarding school. “I can’t say the fields are making them stay, but it’s helping,” she said.
Public schools do have access to the fields, and Donald Douglas, director of the Public Schools Athletic League, said the redevelopment had been a boon. In 2007, 20 teams from 11 public schools played on the island; last fall, 81 teams from 57 schools competed on the fields. “When we request to use Randalls Island, we’re provided with what we ask for,” he said.
But public schools lack the buses the private schools have, so their students have to take public transportation, and many have trouble getting to the fields in a reasonable amount of time to make use of them.
The same day that Dalton took on St. Hilda’s, another softball matchup pitted the Frederick Douglass Academy against a Boys and Girls Club team from Brooklyn. It started more than an hour late because it took two hours for the Lady Roos from the Boys and Girls Club to get there. They rode two trains and a bus, and by the time they arrived, the players were in a bad mood.
“Just do your best!” implored their coach, Felix Melendez. “Don’t be angry. Don’t make faces, it’s a beautiful day! Just look at the water!”
Nearby, the coach from Trevor Day asked Jan Ryan, who coordinates field use for the 20 private schools, whether her players could use an empty field for softball practice. Ms. Ryan explained that it had been allotted for public school use, but the students had not shown up. “You can use it, but you will have to move if they get here,” she said.
The students never arrived.
Minus that awful fence, that view is awesome.
Randalls Island Connector could become bridge to nowhere due to muddy South Bronx property deal
Pedestrian and bicycle span would link South Bronx to parks and ballfields
By Daniel Beekman
New York City Economic Developme
Randall's Island Connector path rendering
The city could be building a bridge to nowhere, thanks to a muddled South Bronx land deal.
The Randalls Island Connector, a planned pedestrian and bicycle bridge, will eventually span the Bronx Kill, a narrow waterway separating the South Bronx from public ball fields and green space on Randalls Island.
But land between the bridge and the South Bronx street grid is controlled by a private company, Harlem River Yards Ventures. The New York City Economic Development Corp. needs an easement so it can build a path from the bridge to E. 132nd St.
The EDC and HRYV have worked together on the project for years and now that the city is ready to start bridge construction, it has made the company an easement offer. But no deal has been struck and now the project is in doubt, sources said.
Anthony Riccio, senior vice president of HRYV, said negotiations are ongoing and claimed there is no cause for concern.
"There is no problem," he said. "We are confident we will reach a satisfactory resolution soon."
But the viability of the $6 million bridge is at stake, said an EDC spokesman.
The Connector will link the South Bronx to a greenway network that stretches from Randalls Island to Astoria, Queens and East Harlem.
We are hopeful that the negotiations with [HRYV\] can be resolved quickly, so the city can move forward with this important project," said Kyle Sklerov, EDC spokesman, claiming the bridge will help South Bronx residents enjoy the outdoors.
The strip of land needed for the path is actually public property already, part of a sprawling 96-acre rail yard owned by the state Department of Transportation.
But HRYV controls the land because it secured a 99-year lease for the site in 1991 under terms later slammed by the state controller as a sweetheart deal.
Harry Bubbins, executive director of Friends of Brook Park, a South Bronx group, called the Connector "an extremely important" project with widespread community support. But he blasted the easement negotiations.
"The site belongs to the state. It is unfathomable why we even have to pay to use it and [HRYV\] should expedite the easement."
The EDC and HRYV are also in talks about building a new headquarters for Fresh Direct at the rail yard. The Queens-based grocery delivery company is mulling a move to the site, with the EDC offering it millions of dollars in public benefits.
Despite the timing, Sklerov said the Connector and Fresh Direct projects are unrelated.
U.S. Rep. Jose Serrano (D-South Bronx) is betting on the Connector.
"I am confident any last minute problems will be worked out and this important project will move forward," he said.
Or does that only work with small private land owners when it comes to using their front yards to make a faster route to Atlantic City?
No, it also works for giving Columbia a giant blank canvas on which to build a whole new campus without sharing the space with messy non-academic buildings. It only doesn't work for giving pedestrians and bicyclists an easement through empty, already public land.
New York Pop Festival - Randall's Island - July 17, 1970
New York Pop Festival - Randall's Island - July 17, 1970
New York Pop Festival - Randall's Island - July 17, 1970
I'm a huge Pearl Jam fan, seen them everywhere from Oakland, Seattle, Madison Square Garden, Philadelphia etc.. My first Pearl Jam show was Randall's Island , September 29th 1996. Changed my life!.. There were people abandoning their cars at the Tri-Borough Bridge toll plaza and walking along the elevated highway to watch above the stadium.
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Last edited by STT757; April 2nd, 2012 at 07:37 PM.
City Strikes a Deal for Bronx Bridge to Randall's Island
By Jeanmarie Evelly
A rendering of the Randall's Island Connector, a
planned pedestrian bridge that will link the
South Bronx and Randall's Island.
(New York City Economic Development Corp.)
THE BRONX — Long-delayed plans to build a pedestrian bridge between the South Bronx and Randall's Island got the green light last month, after the city reached a deal with a developer that controls the Bronx site.
The Randall's Island Connector will be a quarter-mile, landscaped pathway for pedestrians and bicyclists, reaching over a stretch of water known as the Bronx Kill. It will connect a railyard in Port Morris with 400 scenic acres of Randall's Island, officials said.
The New York City Economic Development Corp. had long been sought an easement from Harlem River Yard Ventures, which leases the Bronx site from the state, which is needed in order to start construction on the project.
The Connector was first proposed in 2006 and is just one compenent of the South Bronx Greenway, a larger project meant to increase waterfront access for residents in the Bronx via public parks and pathways.
An EDC spokesman confirmed that an agreement was reached with Harlem River Yard Ventures last month. Bronx newspaper, Mott Haven Herald, reported the deal on Monday. According to the EDC, ground should break on the Connector project in 2013.
Anthony Riccio, senior vice president for Harlem River Yard Ventures, said the group has always been supportive of the Connector plan.
"I've been working on this for almost three and a half years," Riccio said. "It takes that long. Good things don’t come easy."
Riccio declined to comment on specific details of the agreement.
"We worked out the economics of it," he said. "It satisfied the city and it satisfied us."
Harlem River Yard Ventures, a subsidary of the Albany-based developer Galesi Group, leases the portion of Port Morris railyard from the State Department of Transportation. It's the same land where the company FreshDirect plans to build its new headquarters, a project that's been blasted by Bronx advocacy groups who worry that the move will increase air pollution.
Both the EDC and Harlem River Yards said the FreshDirect project will have no effect on plans for the South Bronx Greenway, including the Randall's Island Connector bridge.
“We look forward to continued progress on all of the South Bronx Greenway initiatives which will vastly improve outdoor recreational opportunities for residents of the South Bronx,” EDC spokesman Kyle Sklerov said in a statement.