Downtown, yesterday was groundbreaking day for a new portion of the East River Waterfront that's ready for its makeover. What that means for us: hot renderings from those genius architects at SHoP of a distant future in which a now totally inaccessible waterfront transforms into a home for yachts, happy children, and bikinis.
The first phase of the project centers on the two-mile stretch from the Battery Maritime Building near the tip of Manhattan to Pier 35 at the edge of the Lower East Side and is focused on improving the existing esplanade. But they're also planning on building a tripped-out new Pier 15 at Maiden Lane (to replace the Pier 15 demolished earlier this decade), and renovating Pier 35 into "an innovative habitat restoration park," which, per the renderings, looks pretty damn awesome. Oh, and there will be waterfront steps at select locations, "to provide visitors the opportunity to get closer to the water’s edge." Good times.
Here's a more detailed rundown from the press materials:
The first phase of the project will improve the existing esplanade from the Battery Maritime Building to Pier 35 to safely accommodate both pedestrians and cyclists. It will feature new plantings, seating and lighting, a dedicated bikeway and visitor-friendly designs.
The esplanade between the Battery Maritime Building and Old Slip will be extended out over the water, allowing for safe passage along a widened sidewalk and bikeway. Pier 15 at Maiden Lane, which was demolished in 2001, will be reconstructed as a two-level pier reminiscent of the two-level piers that used to line the East River in the late 19th century. It will feature maritime uses on the lower level with boat docking facilities on three sides and a maritime educational component. The upper level will feature lawns and seating for passive recreation. Pier 35 at Rutgers Slip will be renovated and open to the public to provide much-needed landscaped space along the waterfront. Pier 35 will also an innovative habitat restoration park, funded by a grant from the New York State Department of State Division of Coastal Resources, which will recreate the native plants and wildlife of the East River. Waterfront steps will be created at Wall Street, Pike Slip, and Rutgers Slip to provide visitors the opportunity to get closer to the water’s edge...
The second phase of the plan calls for the construction of the Battery Maritime Plaza, conversion of Pier 42 at Montgomery Street to public use as an urban beach and boat launch, and completion of the widening of the esplanade from Peck Slip to Pike Slip. When complete, the East River Esplanade will be a critical link in the continuation of the Manhattan Greenway.
We're hoping to chat SHoP up about all this shortly, so if you've got any questions, drop 'em in the comments.