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Thread: Turning Lower Manhattan Into Parkland

  1. #31


    Quote Originally Posted by NYatKNIGHT
    And the St. John's Rotary, entrance to Manhattan coming out of the Holland Tunnel
    Good to see it called by its old name. It deserves its own thread.

  2. #32


    The Canal-Varick-Laight park now has a name.

    Landscape group presents park plan for Varick triangle

    By Deborah Lynn Blumberg

    As part of the new design for the Tribeca park planned for the triangle at Laight, Canal and Varick Sts., stones from the 50 states—including volcanic rock from Hawaii and quartz from Virginia—will line the space’s winding brick path.

    Plans for the new half-acre park, Renaissance Park also include a potential 24-ft tall stone waterfall and decorative metal fencing and benches, all designed for free by top landscape designers and architects from across the country — members of the American Landscape Contractors Association. The New York City Parks Department and Downtown’s Community Board 1 recently approved the design. Now, the city’s Art Commission must consent before construction can begin this coming fall.

    “We’re just so hungry for a park down here,” said Albert Capsouto, chairperson of C.B. 1’s Tribeca committee. “This is a terrible area for pedestrians, and we want to get it fixed up.”

    The Art Commission is currently working with members from the association, a national trade organization that agreed to design, fund and build the park post-9/11, to finalize plans. The project will cost about $1.5 million, said David Fiore, a landscape architect for the Wilton, Connecticut-based Glen Gate Company and association member who worked on the project design.

    Vicki Bendure, the association’s spokesperson, said the commission may want to modify the waterfall before approving the design. “We’re trying to see if it’s feasible financially,” she said. Association members will have to return to the commission when it meets again in September to negotiate the design.

    Several years ago the Parks Department decided to convert the empty concrete lot into a park and completed initial designs early September 2001, but following the terrorist attacks postponed the project. “Everything was on track, but then obviously with the events, [the plans] got sidetracked and were pushed back in terms of priority,” Capsouto said.

    Following 9/11, the American Landscape Contractors Association proposed to build the park as a gift to Lower Manhattan, in conjunction with the Parks Department. The park’s name, Renaissance Park, will signify rebirth and renaissance for New York City and for Tribeca, Capsouto said.

    “Our goal is to make it a really beautiful green space,” Bendure said. “The association wanted to do something after 9/11, but with a sensitivity that people living in the area might want something more uplifting and not necessarily associated with remembering 9/11.”

    The group is raising money to buy additional materials and to set up a maintenance fund. Anyone wishing to participate in the project can make a monetary donation to the association or “purchase” a portion of the park, which designers have divided into 1,400 sections of 16 square feet each. One section can be bought for a $500 tax-deductible donation. For more information, visit or call 1-800 395-ALCA.

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  3. #33
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    West Harlem


    Sounds like a nice park, but Renaissance is so played out.

  4. #34
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    Sep 2003
    Manhattan - UWS


    Plans for the new half-acre park, Renaissance Park also include a potential 24-ft tall stone waterfall and decorative metal fencing and benches, all designed for free by top landscape designers and architects from across the country...
    Vicki Bendure, the association’s spokesperson, said the commission may want to modify the waterfall before approving the design.
    That 24-ft tall stone waterfall sounds kind of cool and tall! It will be interesting to know if they want to modify it by the size or the way it suppose to look.

  5. #35


    New York Times
    September 30, 2004

    A Chip Off the Old Park


    Teardrop Park, which opens Thursday, is hemmed in by the towers of Battery Park City, but will still have plenty of sunlight.

    James Gill, the chairman of the Battery Park City Authority, admiring some finishing touches at the park.

    By the time you have found a perch on the storybook hill, stumbled through the boggy marsh, ascended the glistening wall of craggy bluestone, scuttled through a notch in the limestone boulders and - attention, first graders! - slid into the sand pit, you will be amazed that you have covered only 1.9 acres.

    In one-440th the space of Central Park, the new Teardrop Park at Battery Park City, which is to open today, seems to pack almost as many features, most of them designed for youngsters. Framed by three apartment towers, soon to be four, the park responds with a dense landscape that dips, rises and twists.

    "It's going to be the most magnificent place for chasing games, for hide-and-seek," said Robin Moore, a professor of landscape architecture and the director of the Natural Learning Initiative at North Carolina State University, who was a consultant on the park. "Play equipment is fine and it's important, but we mustn't forget all of the other potentials that landscape offers for healthy child development."

    On a tour this week, Timothy S. Carey, the president and chief executive of the Battery Park City Authority, which built the $17 million park, lowered himself on his knees to about three feet. He pointed to the top of a hillock covered in flowering helleborus and halesia trees, cresting at a reading circle formed by rock outcroppings.

    "If you get down here," he said, "and you're a little child, this is a jungle. You can climb up over those rocks and read 'Tarzan' or Robert Louis Stevenson." (Obviously, it's been a while since Mr. Carey was three feet tall.)

    The designers, Michael Van Valkenburgh, Matthew Urbanski and Laura Solano, of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, worked with the artists Ann Hamilton and Michael Mercil, with engineers at Mueser Rutledge and at Arup and with Professor Moore and his colleague, Nilda Cosco. They were inspired in part by the work of Frederick Law Olmsted.

    "Olmsted said for a park to be great, it has to have range," said Mr. Van Valkenburgh. The designers tried to create an "unfolding landscape of discovery," Mr. Urbanski added.

    The cruciform park is in the center of a block bounded by River Terrace, North End Avenue and Murray and Warren Streets. Under an earlier master plan, this block was to have been bisected by a street. The buildings around it were to have had their own courtyards. But the street was eliminated in a new plan by the architect Ralph Lerner, who replaced the street on the blueprints with a park that he referred to informally, after its shape, as Teardrop.

    "When 9/11 came along, it took on a different connotation for many," said James F. Gill, the chairman of the Battery Park City Authority, which decided to formalize the name.

    With the red-brick apartment towers serving as a mountainous environment, the park was envisioned as a kind of glen.

    "This is a piece of the Hudson Valley in Battery Park City," said Mr. Gill, standing by a 27-foot-high, 168-foot-long wall of randomly coursed slabs of Hamilton bluestone from Albany County. Through 10 spouts hidden in the crevices, water started to flow as he spoke, moistening the surface. In winter, this rock wall will be encrusted with sculptural ice forms.

    The layout, Mr. Van Valkenburgh said, was influenced by the "microclimatic asymmetry" of the site. Simply put, the north end gets more sunlight, suggesting lawns, while the south end is more in shadow, suggesting play areas.

    When it was learned before construction began that one building bordering the park would cast too long a shadow, its planned height was reduced six inches, ultimately yielding a gain of 30 precious minutes more sun on the north lawn. Climate was not the only factor measured on a micro scale. "We changed the design of the soil to drain faster in one place or hold more moisture in another," Mr. Van Valkenburgh said.

    There are 65,910 trees, shrubs, perennials, ground covers, vines and bulbs, including viburnums, which are now vibrant with red berries. "We wanted to invite the birds in," Mr. Carey said.

    The designers wanted to communicate that the space between the apartment towers was open to everyone. One subtle gesture was the use of asphalt paving blocks and benches with circular armrests, known as the World's Fair model, common to many parks.

    Some things just happened serendipitously, like reflected sunlight in the park from the hundreds of windows around it.

    And though Teardrop Park is supposed to evoke the Catskills, Mr. Gill's mind was not on Greene County as he walked along the rock wall, but on County Clare in Ireland.

    "It reminds me of the Cliffs of Moher," he said of the escarpment before him. "This looks like it will be here to the end of the world."

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  6. #36
    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Manhattan - South Village


    I've seen them working a lot lately on this reborn park......

    From Downtown Express:

    Trees and plantings were put in at the new Canal Street Park at the west end of Canal St. next to the West Side Highway this week. The park is expected to open in late spring of 2005. State D.O.T is funding the park, which will include granite sidewalks, interior ornamental fences, cobblestone street tree planting strips, green lawns and a combination of evergreen and flowering plants. The area where Canal Park is being constructed is one of the oldest city squares in Manhattan, with the city’s title to the land granted in 1686. Although a park formerly existed in the triangle in 1870, it was removed in 1921, when the site was loaned to the NY/NJ Bridge and Tunnel Authority. The loan was for four years, in order to construct the Holland Tunnel, with the condition of restoring and returning Canal Street Park upon completion.

  7. #37


    Many Community Board 2 members like the new plan to expand and redesign Duarte Square on Canal St. The statue of Juan Pablo Duarte, a founder of the Dominican Republic, will remain in the center of the square and trees will be added. Trinity Real Estate, which is paying for the renovation, will demolish the building in the background and build a 22-story office building.

    Duarte statue to remain center of his namesake square

    By Albert Amateau

    The new design for Duarte Sq., the brick triangle on the north side Canal St. at Sixth Ave., which calls for keeping the statue of Juan Pablo Duarte in the middle of the triangle near its present position, won a vote of approval this week from the Community Board 2 parks committee.

    The new design, by Stephen Whitehouse of Saratoga Associates, was seen as a welcome change from the plan submitted more than two years ago as part of a complex land-swap between Trinity Real Estate, which owns the property on the west side of the square, and the Department of Parks and Recreation.

    The old design called for moving the statue of Duarte, a founder of the Dominican Republic, to the southern apex of the triangle at Canal St. and away from a central open area where Dominican-Americans hold an annual commemoration. The previous design had angled paths with plantings between them.

    The new design would add some green to what is now a barren brick triangle, provide an open paved area around the statue, and a fountain with jets at-grade “so that when they’re turned off you can’t see them,” Whitehouse said. More trees are planned for the north end of the triangle at Grand St. and on the south to soften Canal St. traffic’s impact on the park.

    “You’ve addressed all the concerns we had and I congratulate you,” Tobi Bergman, a parks committee member, told Whitehouse and Robert Redmond, who will oversee the project for the Parks Department. Nevertheless, committee members at the Jan. 6 meeting hedged their approval by calling for more seating to be included in the new plan and for an adequate irrigation system to make sure the trees survive.

    The Empire State Building is within the view corridor from Duarte Sq. to the north and the new Freedom Tower planned for the World Trade Center site will be within the view corridor to the south, Whitehouse noted.

    As part of the land-use changes two years ago, a service road on the west side of the square, formerly the southern end of Sullivan St., was de-mapped and added to the Trinity Real Estate property across the street. It allows Trinity to replace its current three-to-eight-story buildings on the block with a 22-story building.

    Trinity owns the de-mapped street but gives the Parks Department an easement and jurisdiction over the expanded area up to Trinity’s property line. The change, which went into effect at the end of 2002, expands the park area by 40 percent and adds 38 percent to Trinity’s zoning lot.

    In return, Trinity will pay for the park project and also for the park maintenance. Redmond said the maintenance would be more than $30,000 a year.

    Committee members were anxious about Trinity’s commitment to fund the maintenance. Adrienne Bernard, a lawyer for Trinity who attended the meeting, said the arrangement with the Parks Department would probably involve putting money in a trust controlled by Parks. “It would be for the life of the building, 80, 90, 100 years,” she estimated. We’ll do it anyway that Parks wants,” she said.

    Richard Barrett, a member of the Canal West Coalition, noted that the plan had no trees in the area where the remnant of Sullivan St. used to be. “You can still see the ghost of the street,” he said.

    The former street, however, has a sewer line beneath the surface and trees cannot be planted over it, Redmond said. It was designed to look like a park path, a broad park path,” added Whitehouse.

    Other committee members suggested that the design should have considered Duarte’s relationship with the proposed Laight St. Park, a triangle on the other side of Canal St. Sidewalks around the Laight St. triangle, formerly used as a parking lot by police and Port Authority employees, have been built but the park has not yet been designed, Redmond said.

    Bergman also regretted that an extremely tall light pole — about as tall as the eight-story Trinity building on the west side of the square, could not remain in the new Duarte Sq.

    Committee members said they were pleased that the design did not make it look like the park was a part of the Trinity property. Trinity agreed two years ago that tenants on the ground floor of its future building fronting the park would not be permitted to put a sidewalk café on the park.

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    Duarte Square is the red-brick paved area. Nice views both north and south.

  8. #38
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    Sep 2003
    Manhattan - UWS




    June 1, 2005 -- Two miles of underutilized waterfront from Battery Park at the tip of Manhattan to the East River Park along the FDR are going to be transformed into the city's most dramatic esplanade, Mayor Bloomberg announced yesterday.

    With $150 million in funding now guaranteed by the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. — part of $819 million in downtown aid money revealed last month — Bloomberg got to trumpet the next step in Manhattan's 32-mile greenway.

    "It will succeed where the more impractical suggestions for the East River waterfront over the last 40 years have come to naught," the mayor promised.

    "This is going to become the place on the Lower East Side to hold picnics, birthday parties and other outdoor gatherings."

    The ambitious proposal requires moving the Battery Park vehicle underpass about 350 feet north, just beyond Broad Street, to create a one-acre plaza in front of the landmark Battery Maritime Building.

    New piers, a widened bike path, shopping arcades and a marina are also planned, pending state and federal approvals, for completion in the next three to five years.

    City Councilwoman Margarita Lopez, a Democrat who represents the Lower East Side, said the plan will make this "the most awesome area ever seen in Manhattan."

    Copyright 2005 NYP Holdings, Inc.

  9. #39


    Mirrors to Take BPC Park Out of Darkness

    By Barry Owens

    The future home of Teardrop Park South, which will sit in building shadows almost year-round and seemed destined to be the darkest of Battery Park City’s urban valleys, might have offered gloomy planting prospects. But tomorrow, there will be sun.

    “No hocus pocus about it,” said landscape designer Michael Van Valkenburgh, explaining the trick. “Only mirrors.”

    Van Valkenburgh was the lead designer for Teardrop Park North and the man behind the plan to extend the park south across Murray Street, into the courtyard of a horseshoe-shaped building slated for construction next year. Once complete, the building will completely shield the park from the sun for much of the year.

    “Not exactly a people magnet,” Van Valkenburgh said of the space. But he hopes that a trio of mirrors installed atop a nearby building will reflect enough sunlight for trees and other living things to thrive there.

    “This is an idea that very oddly has yet to come to New York,” he said of the mirrors. “There are a number of places in the city that could benefit from the devices.”

    The disc-shaped mirrors, called heliostats, are eight feet in diameter and mounted on top of the 24-story Verdesian building, which is under construction at Murray Street and North End Avenue. The computer-programmed and motorized mirrors, custom-manufactured by Bomin Solar, a German company, track the sun’s movement and reflect its rays like spotlights to the ground below. The heliostats were installed last month.

    “Sunlight is escaping many of our neighborhoods,” said Tim Carey, president of the Battery Park City Authority. “This is a technology whose time has come for New York City.”

    The Authority paid $355,000 for the heliostats. Their use is in keeping with Battery Park City’s “green” goals, Carey said, likening the neighborhood to “an urban renewable energy lab.”

    To help brighten the park he designed, Van Valkenburgh tapped architect and “daylight consultant” David Norris, who used similar technology to bring sunlight into buildings in Boston and Washington, D.C.

    Norris, of Tribeca-based Carpenter Norris Consulting, said in an interview that he first focused on harnessing existing light at ground level. The park can be made brighter, he said, by incorporating reflective materials, such as a shiny, red brick, into the park’s design.

    He is also working with the architects of the building that will be constructed next to the park to “punch holes in the building to create solar portals.” But portals and brilliant bricks would not be enough to sustain a green park space if it lacked sunlight year-round.

    “That’s where the heliostats came in,” he said. “Really, they’re nothing more than big Boy Scout signal mirrors, the kind you sort of line up and shine into Bobby’s eyes.”

    The mirrors, though, will reflect enough of the sun’s rays to keep the park in sunlight year-round, he said, and in some ways will be more effective than broad daylight since the rays can be directed to different spots at different times of the day or season, as needed. The light will shine in large pools or in well-defined spotlights, but will not be concentrated enough to blind or burn, he said. “It’s nothing more than once-reflected sunlight, somewhere on the order of 70 to 80 percent of the power,” he said.

    Though plans for the new park have not been drafted and the park’s construction will not begin until next year, the project’s designers and the Authority were eager to have the mirrors up now.

    “We want to put them in play, to discover what they can and can’t do,” Norris said.

    Van Valkenburgh said he hopes to put the light in play in the treetops, on grass and rocks, and perhaps a fountain—now that he has been promised that sunlight will dapple the water.

    Fully assembled, but with their reflective surfaces wrapped in clear plastic, the heliostats were installed on May 31. Engineers from Bomin Solar will return in August to cut away their wrappings and program the devices to follow the sun.

    “People are always amazed and very happy when they see how they work,” said Michael Kroeffges, with Bomin Solar.

    “Could we unwrap just one?” Norris asked. “And can they be rotated by hand?”

    They answers were “yes,” so the pair planned an afternoon of mirror tilting and shadow chasing in the construction zone that will one day be a park

  10. #40


    Ancient Egyptian technology still practical, I love it!

  11. #41

  12. #42


    The New York Times
    Here Comes the Sun, Redirected
    Published: June 2, 2005

    Vincent Laforet/The New York Times

    In New York City, a place where the sun vanishes for long stretches behind tall buildings, and sunny apartments command a premium, sunlight is taken very seriously. So seriously that the Battery Park City Authority is preparing to import sunlight into a foreboding spot in Lower Manhattan.

    Three heliostats - instruments that use mirrors to track the sun across the sky - will redirect sunbeams onto what is currently a vacant lot in Lower Manhattan, but will next year become Teardrop Park South. Battery Park City hopes that if it provides a bit of light, people will want to linger there.

    "This is going to change the relationship between New Yorkers and the sun in ways that haven't been tried before," said Davidson Norris, president of Carpenter Norris Consulting and the heliostat plan's designer.

    The park sits in the shadow of three skyscrapers. "The sun is up there," said Michael van Valkenburgh, the project's landscape architect. "It just can't find its way to where we want it."

    Teardrop Park's heliostats, which are about eight feet across, were installed Tuesday on the roof of a new 23-story building overlooking the park. When they are running this fall, they will be guided by computer to track the movement of the sun, capture the light and then send it down to the park, where circles of light will be created. Each heliostat can be directed to bathe a particular park bench or tree in a beam of light.

    But the devices, which cost $355,000 apiece, can't do everything. "It's not one of those things that one can justify that it will bring so much light into the park that everything will just be bloom - it's not something that will make daylight sharper," said Mr. Norris.

    What they will do, however, is add to the value of apartments in Battery Park City, said James Gill, chairman of the Battery Park City Authority, which is footing the heliostat bill. Said Mr. Gill: "There's a lot to be said for light."

  13. #43


    Construction fence is down. The gates are locked, but it looks like Canal Park is ready to open.

    The triangle was extended to block thru-traffic on Washington St.
    Last edited by ZippyTheChimp; June 15th, 2005 at 11:07 AM.

  14. #44
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown

    Default liberty plaza progress??

    Anyone know what's up with Liberty Plaza? Previous posts stated that construction on renovation would begin Spring '04 -- I was there yesterday and nothing is happening. Bleak and sad...
    BTW - Canal park is looking great. The photos capture it well. With the construction fence down you can really get a sense of what a great & inviting oasis this will be.
    Of course, along with Tribeca section of Hudson River Park this will only further increase property values in that area. (hmmmmmmmmmmm)
    The entire area n. of Canal and w. of 6th ave. is buzzing with activity.
    The full block plan previously shown at Vandam / Hudson -- is the the El Diario building site?
    Wonder what might happen to the gas station at SE corner of West / Canal...
    (sorry about so many questions in one post -- )

  15. #45


    The thread is here, but it's as inactive as the site. This was a simple but popular area before 09/11. The renovation would be a great improvement in the area, especially in summer. This is just another example of the inactivity at the WTC site, inexcusable in this case, since Brookfield has a financial responsibility to maintain the plaza.

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