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Thread: Turning Lower Manhattan Into Parkland

  1. #61
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp
    Battery Bosque completed. Slide show at bottom of page.

    http://www.thebattery.org/rebuilding/completed.html#

    Wow I like It... I have to go and check it out!

    Anyway is funny how on the slide show they decided to show the before photos, like trees without green in the winter time I asume, as comparison to the now photos...

  2. #62
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    ^ The Battery Bosque is really beautiful and well worth a visit -- the plantings have filled in quite a bit since July and should be spectacular next year.

  3. #63

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    Quote Originally Posted by krulltime
    Wow I like It... I have to go and check it out!

    Anyway is funny how on the slide show they decided to show the before photos, like trees without green in the winter time I asume, as comparison to the now photos...
    The trees seem identical. As you correctly point out, they are simply comparing winter shots with summer shots. The big changes seem to be that they have replaced the cobblestones with some green shrubs, and they have put in some nicer benches. It's an improvement, but not as much as the slide show would have you believe. In any event, I always liked old Battery Park. My objection to it was less the plantings and more the fact that the paths seem to lead in no particular direction.

  4. #64
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    I like what they've done, but it still seems unfinished to me. Are they leaving the pathways like they are? I assumed they were still going to lay pavers or cobblestones of some sort. I've seen the fountain going, but not the last time I went - there were guys selling watches and sunglasses on it instead.

  5. #65

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    The paths are complete.

    No trees were cut down or moved in the renovation; redundant paved areas were landscaped, and the news paths were curved which spatially gives the impression of greater depth. The space will improve as the plantings fill in.

    The Battery Park before the three latest renovations was simply - a dump, rivaled only by the former City Hall Park. There was so much asphalt because as the planted areas deteriorated, it was cheaper to just pave it over than do maintenance (there was no Friends of...or Conservancy). As tourism to Liberty and Ellis islands increased, the park became an embarrassment to the city.

  6. #66
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    Call me patrician and elitist, but the dozens of merchants hawking every knockoff item that can be found on Canal Street are more of an embarassment than redundant paved areas.

  7. #67
    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
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    The new little park at the end of Wall Street has bench supports that change color:


  8. #68

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    thats really cute. i like the small touches like that

  9. #69
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Although the spraycan marking on the MARBLE FOOTSTONES is a little much.

    They could have just chalked it up. Lazy bastiges! Ruining things that could have just been lifted up and replaced!

  10. #70

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    I agree, I liked it at first until I seen the paint.

  11. #71
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    6 Lower Manhattan Public Spaces to Bloom With Post-9/11 Funds

    By GLENN COLLINS
    NY Times
    Feb. 9, 2006

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/09/ny...09rebuild.html

    Governors are often given to enthusiasm and grand thoughts, but yesterday afternoon heaps of enthusiasm and really grand thoughts were required to envision the glorious future of the no-name, rubble-strewn lot that is bounded by Canal, Varick and Laight Streets in Lower Manhattan.

    "I see a park with a lot of green," Gov. George E. Pataki said as he gazed at the wire-fenced wasteland before him. "There will be trees." He envisioned a fountain. And flower beds. "No more chicken-wire fences."

    Mr. Pataki stopped at the park on the eve of an announcement expected today by the 16-member board of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation to authorize the spending of $19.5 million to enhance six parks and public spaces in Lower Manhattan, including the triangular Canal Street plot with its frozen weeds.

    The renovations will be managed and monitored by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. The money will be dispensed from the nearly depleted $2.8 billion in Lower Manhattan redevelopment grants from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

    So far, the development corporation has spent $30 million on other parks and open spaces in Lower Manhattan, with an additional $70 million earmarked for the Hudson River Park, and $150 million for improvements at the East River waterfront.

    Officials have faced criticism in recent months for either being slow to use post-9/11 reconstruction money, or not using it to rebuild the area immediately around ground zero. But the aid came with a wide mandate — to reinvigorate Lower Manhattan — and the use of the some of the money for downtown parks has been relatively uncontroversial.

    The park visit, during one of the governor's inspection tours of Lower Manhattan, was led by Mr. Pataki's habitual guide, John P. Cahill, who oversees downtown redevelopment as the governor's chief of staff.

    During the trip, Governor Pataki examined the pace of progress at many sites, including the nascent Goldman Sachs building and the Fulton Street Transit Center. And Kenneth J. Ringler Jr., executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, briefed the governor during a walk past complex construction at ground zero that Mr. Ringler termed "a giant 3-D chess game."

    The five other parks that will benefit from the funds are the Collect Pond Park, at Leonard Street between Centre and Lafayette Streets; Sara D. Roosevelt Park at Hester Street between Chrystie and Forsyth Streets; James Madison Plaza, bordered by St. James Place, Madison and Pearl Streets; the Allen and Pike Street malls; and Washington Market Park, bordered by Chambers, Greenwich and West Streets.

    Planned improvements are as varied as the parks' locations. The triangular lot that is James Madison Plaza is to become a garden-like sitting area for office workers and local residents. Sara D. Roosevelt Park, a derelict spot, is to house a modern playground.

    The Collect Pond Park will be expanded to receive benches, drinking fountains and other amenities. Washington Market Park is to have a new year-round, vandal-resistant public restroom. And the Pike and Allen Street malls — 15 center plots along Allen and Pike Streets — will be reconstructed with plantings, benches and trees.

    Since the terrorist attack, the development corporation has contributed to the refurbishment of 16 parks and other public spaces. At the Canal Street park site, Mr. Cahill told the governor that one planned name was Renaissance Park.

    "Well," Mr. Pataki said, surveying the devastated expanse under a steely sky, "it looks as though it should not have that name right now."

    Copyright 2006The New York Times Company

  12. #72
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NY Times
    $19.5 million to enhance six parks and public spaces in Lower Manhattan ... (including) the Collect Pond Park, at Leonard Street between Centre and Lafayette Streets ...
    This derelict little square that sits across from the Criminal Courts Building the Family Courts Building and the Housing Courts Building is long overdue for renovation. It is an insult to those NYers who are compelled to use the courts that this "park" is what greets them. Currently the benches are old, splintered and falling apart. The pavement is sinkingand cracked, the trees are in urgent need of trimming and attention, plantings are surrounded by packed earth as hard as concrete. It's an embarassment.

  13. #73
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Another project that is long overdue ...

    Park memorial for Black Hand officer to get a hand

    The Villager
    February 8 -14 2006
    http://www.thevillager.com/villager_...lforblack.html



    Villager photos by Elisabeth Robert
    Lieutenant Petrosino Park at Kenmare St., above, and its namesake,
    Lieutenant Joseph Petrosino, below.



    Lieutenant Petrosino Square, a small, 7,000-square-foot triangle at Kenmare and Lafayette Sts., named for a legendary police officer, is slated for a $2 million renovation by the Parks Department. The currently little-used park, which has shifted and settled and taken on the look of an ancient ruin, is in serious need of an upgrade. Plans are to expand the park to the east, taking one of three lanes of a section of Lafayette St. that is only used by traffic making right turns from Spring St.

    Said Carli Smith, a Parks spokesperson, “Although we are still in the preliminary planning for this renovation, we plan to work with the Department of Transportation to take a portion of Lafayette St. to expand the park. The main portion of traffic is on the other side of the park; therefore taking a lane of traffic will have no effect on the traffic flow on Lafayette St.”

    As for when ground breaking on the project will occur, Smith said Parks won’t have a firm date until all the funding is secured.

    The park’s namesake, Lieutenant Joseph Petrosino, was an immigrant from Salerno who became the New York Police Department’s first Italian-American detective. He was a member of the “Italian Squad,” an undercover unit of Italian-American officers who battled the Black Hand organized crime syndicate, deporting 500 of its members. He founded the Bomb Squad, today located in Greenwich Village’s Sixth Precinct, to counter the Black Hand’s use of explosives for extortion. Petrosino was killed in 1909 in Italy while gathering intelligence about the Black Hand. His funeral in New York City was attended by 200,000 people.

  14. #74

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    Landscape Architecture
    February, 2007

    Abstract Realism

    At Teardrop Park in Battery Park City, all the park’s a playground

    By Susan Hines



    Teardrop Park is on River Terrace between Warren and Murray streets in lower Manhattan—just two blocks from Ground Zero. Although the appellation seems poignantly appropriate now, this natural playground in Battery Park City was actually named and already in the bidding phase when the Twin Towers collapsed.

    Within just weeks of September 11, Michael Van Valkenburgh, FASLA, remembers meeting with his clients, the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA), in their temporary offices. Visiting Ground Zero, he recalls “piles of twisted steel six stories high, smoke from the still-burning fires, and the smell.” The park’s design was finalized, but in the weeks following 9/11 the entire country, not to mention the citizens of New York City, was engulfed in uncertainty.

    Although bidding was delayed for several months, the decision to continue with the building of the park was immediate. “It was so affirming for New York City,” Van Valkenburgh says. “I know [former BPCA president and CEO] Tim Carey felt it was a way of saying the Authority believed in downtown.”

    Teardrop is tiny, just under two acres of space tucked between four residential high-rise buildings. Small children and their parents crowd the site, which is jam-packed with varied experiences, all taking their cue from the landscape of the Hudson River Valley without seeming out of place in an urban setting. Relax on the lawn, really a miniature greensward, or explore a small wetland; climb a rocky outcropping or stroll along the smooth paths. Take in the view from the top of a little hill, while your children accumulate grass stains rolling to the bottom. Watch your children zoom down the slide and play with sand and water. All of this is available in Teardrop, and it is very well taken care of by the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy (BPCPC).

    While it is a playground for small children, it is beautiful enough for adults to enjoy with or without the distraction of a child. Curvilinear paths run around the teardrop-shaped lawn and take visitors through a vaultlike opening in the wall to the sandbox and slide area. Throughout the site, granite sculptures by Ann Hamilton create tension and interest, and their jagged granite edges keep the place from looking too bucolic even around the small lawn.

    Structuring the space is the magical north-facing bluestone wall: Alive with water and moss in the summer and shimmering with ice in the winter, it divides the so-called active and passive spaces of the park and stands as a monument to the intersection between art and craft, nature and engineering that is the design theme here.

    How often is so much money—in this case $17 million—and so much time—five years—expended on a small space intended mainly for young children? How often does one small city park allow visitors to get away from the city and run the gamut of landscape experiences, from the pastoral rolling lawn to the sublime beauty of a massive wall of ice and stone?

    The idea behind Teardrop and its rugged but child-enticing terrain came from the top down. Carey, the former president and CEO of the BPCA, grew up in the Hudson River Valley and owns property in the Catskill Mountains. “My vision was that those four buildings would be like hills and you would get the experience of walking through a glen in the Catskills and feel closeness to nature,” Carey says. “I wanted to provide children with an opportunity to come to a place that leads them to another place.”

    When Carey arrived on the job in 1999, the BPCA had committed to creating permanent playing fields in Battery Park City. The rezoning effort that entailed opened up the opportunity for Teardrop, which was built on land originally designated for four residential towers with small private courtyards. To convince developers and city authorities that a park was feasible, architect and urban designer Ralph Lerner created a conceptual plan that replaced a road with a public park. Because the shape reminded him of a teardrop, Lerner called it Teardrop Park on the plan.

    James F. Gill, BPCA’s long-time chairman, notes that property owners had to be convinced that giving up some of their property would ultimately benefit them. In this case, the BPCA’s history of creating highly successful urban green spaces demonstrated that these amenities are actually economically advantageous. The developers understood that in exchange for a little real estate they would get something in return.

    No RFP was issued. Instead, “Several designers were asked to offer designs,” Gill explains. Why? “Because the size of the park was so small and the unique concept [of a Catskills mountain experience] was already in place.

    “Ultimately, it was Michael Van Valkenburgh who offered us the rolling hills, stone outcroppings, and willowy marsh that is now Teardrop Park,” Gill says.

    The very generous budget was an important factor in getting the park built and reflects BPCA’s own success as a public-benefit corporation devoted to managing the 90 acres under its control. “Our bonds have a triple-A rating,” Gill notes.

    Van Valkenburgh admits that of all the work his firm has undertaken in recent years, he took a particular interest in Teardrop. He had just relocated to New York himself. “When you go to a new place you always experience a heightened awareness,” he says. “And when you move to New York, the first project you take on at the end of relocation is very dear.”

    Given the constraints of the site—flat, sandy, and mostly shady—the challenge of building a Catskills-inspired playground for tots was fairly daunting. “This park is on bare landfill—sand pumped in from the river in the 1960s—there was nothing here,” says Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA) principal Matthew Urbanski. “We needed a strategy that allowed for some sense of exploration or unfolding in this very small space. Otherwise people would just come in, see everything, and leave.”

    At first, the firm played with fairly simplistic ideas such as bringing in a large rock outcropping and dropping it down on the site. However, as they visited quarries looking for materials, Urbanski says, “We realized we needed to evoke nature, not mock nature.” The firm quickly abandoned its initial concept of creating a “revealed bedrock” look. Instead, it embraced an idea Urbanski describes as “building nature from quarried pieces.”

    In response, Van Valkenburgh himself drew the wall that began to define the space and the aesthetic of Teardrop, and through the drawing of the wall, “the tension between built and natural began to emerge,” Urbanski says. It is exactly that tension that keeps the park from seeming like counterfeit countryside.

    The wall, which blocked the view from one end of the park to the other, commenced the process of dividing the small space to make it more complex. It also serves as a retaining wall for the rocky outcropping and slide combination that lies on the south-facing side. Many of these aspects of the design were worked out in models rather than through drawing and, in fact, the modeling process continued through the writing of the construction documents.

    The firm was confident that the public would respond positively to the aesthetic. “New Yorkers know naturalism as public landscape,” Urbanski notes. “If this was a prissy formal garden park they might think it was private.” However, New York is home both to Central Park, where Olmsted first promoted the concept of created naturalism, and to Gramercy Park, a fenced and gated vestige of the nineteenth century and the last private park in the city.

    The firm wanted to actively signal to the public that Teardrop was open to everyone, not just the residents of the residential high-rise apartment buildings that line its edges. Thus, throughout the site, MVVA reached out to New Yorkers in a variety of specific ways, speaking to their collective unconsciousness of what public parks should look like by choosing paving and furnishings, such as the World’s Fair park benches, that identified the space as public.

    One space the firm insisted on, despite initial skepticism from the überorganic BPCPC, was the inclusion of lawn in the space. “We wanted grass because New Yorkers love grass, and without a lawn it wouldn’t seem like a park to them,” Urbanski explains. “We did an elaborate solar analysis to determine where the sun would hit for at least three and a half hours on the equinox. The solar angle study determined where the lawn would be and then we tilted the grade up to the south to get even more sun.” Because the developers were vested in the project they were able to convince the owners and the architect of the Solaire condominium to shave six inches off the rooftop, allowing just a tad more sun in.

    Teardrop Park did not spring fully formed from the offices of MVVA. The firm assembled a sizable team that included natural playground expert Robin Moore, Affiliate ASLA; geotechnical engineers from Mueser Rutledge; quarryman Bruce O’Brien; master stonemason Hayden Hillsgrove; and artists Ann Hamilton and Michael Mercil.

    “When the client said ‘this needs to be a place for play’ we interpreted that in the broadest way,” says MVVA principal Laura Solano. And they called on Moore for advice on how to integrate play throughout the site. “It didn’t take much to convince Michael and everybody else that the whole landscape should be a playground,” Moore says. He advocated successfully for rocky yet climbable terrain, a steeper slide than is generally installed in playgrounds, and a small boggy wetland filled with rotting logs at the lowest point in the park. Aside from the slide, the play elements are basic—sand, water, rocks, and plants.

    “Robin Moore drove my parks people and lawyers crazy at the time—they liked all those flat, boring places,” Carey says. “But Robin was able to create a magnificent place for kids. When you get down to their height the landscape is even more exciting.” Teardrop is climbable, adventure packed, and potentially risky.

    “There are no regulations for playgrounds,” Solano points out. “But there are consumer product safety guides for equipment.” By studying playground equipment guides they learned about recommended allowances for head clearance, the dangers of entrapment, fall height requirements, and the minimum and maximum spaces for gaps.

    “Because we were dealing with natural materials and natural forms, we had to make sure those rules were applied in the field,” Solano says. To solve this problem the firm made templates from foam core that showed angles and distances and gave them in kits to contractors for use during construction. By referencing the templates workers could precisely determine if distances between rocks and boulders were too large or too small and if an angle was sharp enough to produce an injury.

    So far no injuries have been reported. Signs warn people not to climb on the wall or Hamilton’s granite artwork. Climbing is encouraged in the rocky slide area; adults as well as children make use of this feature. According to a posting on the Project for Public Spaces web site, at least one elderly woman regularly practices her rock-climbing skills here.

    The shady site would not support the growth of many trees. Of the 65,910 plants in Teardrop Park—shrubs, perennials, ground covers, trees, vines, and bulbs—mature witch hazels and fast-growing sumac are among the tallest. Planted above the ice wall, the sumac creates a jungle effect in summer and a blast of color in the fall.

    Creating rolling topography atop a sand bed required geotechnical expertise from the engineering firm Mueser Rutledge. The company’s relationship to Battery Park City dates from the building of the original landfill. To build the landforms that make up the high-contrast landscape of Teardrop, the firm recommended using horizontal layers of geogrids. Most often used to reinforce embankment fills and earth dams or to repair slope failures and landslides, these plastic square grids extend into the growing medium.

    But the geogrids couldn’t prevent surface erosion and wouldn’t allow for the creative placement of rocks and trees. “We needed flexibility in the surface layer,” Urbanski says, so Mueser Rutledge came up with the idea of using geofibers in the surface layers mix. “The conservancy had never seen these polypropylene fibers before, so an on-site test was conducted. We built a 1:1 slope using the geofibers mixed in with the BPCPC’s regular designed soil mix. We left it all winter long and it never eroded.”

    Look closely and you can find the geofibers in Teardrop’s planting beds. What looks like a piece of plastic string pulls apart to reveal a web of woven fibers. “Essentially, geofibers mimic plant roots to stop surface erosion and give tensile strength to the earth—like millions of little plastic rebars. It was just one of the technical things that allowed this expression of nature to happen,” explains Urbanski.

    An artist in his own right, O’Brien was the mastermind behind the 300-ton bluestone wall, building it over the course of 6 months at his upstate New York quarry, numbering the stones, and then disassembling it and shipping the rock to the city to be reassembled by union masons in just 3 days. The masons reportedly said the wall was the most beautiful thing they had ever made.

    Several kinds of rock were used in the park. In addition to the dramatic stone of the tectonic wall, giant boulders of sandstone, a by-product of the quarry process that usually ends up as aggregate, were set aside. Hillsgrove and his wife, Betsy Hoffman, helped MVVA with the placement of these stones and others used for texture and climbing practice around the slide. They moved into one of the buildings and literally lived on the park’s edge for several months.

    Hamilton and Mercil’s sculptural rock installation runs “like a rift,” as Urbanski puts it, through the park. The firm had worked with Hamilton before at Allegheny Riverfront Park in Pittsburgh. Dramatic stacked sheets of the same bluestone used in the wall appear in various sections of the park, adding interest yet somehow blending in. Like so much of the art and craft harnessed here, these sculptures riff on the theme of nature while complementing the landscape composition.

    Without the full support of the BPCPC, a park such as Teardrop would never be so well maintained. For example, because the conservancy bears maintenance in mind from the very beginning, the railings chosen for use in the park can be removed for painting or repair and then popped back in place.

    And they bring landscape architects back to fix problems. “We made the stupid assumption that kids would take the path up the hill to the slide,” Urbanski says, but they don’t; “they climb up the embankment.” No high-tech product can protect soil and plants from a team of young soccer players in cleats. In response, the firm removed the plants and made the slope more climbable, installing rocks with a grainy surface that would prevent slipping.

    When it turned out that teens liked hanging around the sheltered area near the south-side tunnel opening, low rails were installed to encourage leaning and discourage climbing. Although intended for tots, everybody is welcome here.

    “We wanted it to look as if we had never been here” is a cliché often voiced by landscape architects.

    Teardrop Park is a different case. Unabashedly the work of humans—two acres of landfill, surrounded by skyscrapers, topped with a heady mix of technology and aesthetics—it works as nature without pretending that it is nature. What could easily have become a bizarre kind of Catskills Country Safari theme park is instead a highly concentrated dose of art inspired by nature. As such it is an appropriately potent antidote to the urban landscape that surrounds it.

    PROJECT CREDITS
    Client: Battery Park City Authority and Battery Park City Parks Conservancy, New York. Landscape architects: Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates Inc., New York (Michael Van Valkenburgh, FASLA, Matthew Urbanski, Laura Solano, principals). Artists: Ann Hamilton, Michael Mercil, Columbus, Ohio. Structural, civil, MEP engineers: Arup, New York. Geotechnical engineer: Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers, New York. Construction manager: Humphreys & Harding Inc., New York. Play consultant: Natural Learning Initiative, Raleigh, North Carolina. Site contractor: Metrotech, Jamaica, New York. Landscape contractor: Kelco, East Northport, New York. Engineered stone contractor: Granite Works, Waverly, New York.

    ©2006 American Society of Landscape Architects

  15. #75
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    Question

    In order to become a successful urban city, one needs parks. LOL
    Any new or renovated public parks in the L.I.C. area?

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