"On the Waterfront: Re-Imagining the East River Esplanade" was a panel discussion presented as part of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Access Restricted program for 2012, and recorded for broadcast in partnership with LMCC.
This discussion took place following a series of slideshow presentations by the participants outlining the history and proposals for developing a stretch of waterfront on the lower east side of Manhattan – from the Battery Maritime Building at Broad and South Street, up to Pier 42 at Montgomery Street just north of the Manhattan Bridge. The area includes a number of piers and two narrow miles along the water, mostly under the FDR Drive (Manhattan’s elevated east side expressway).
The development of the esplanade riverside property and the piers (Pier 42, 36, 35, 15, and 11), some of it already underway using city and federal funds (much of this is post-9/11 redevelopment money from LMDC and HUD), includes plants, flowers and grass lawns, family seating, pavilions, performance and concert facilities, restaurants, recreation areas, basketball courts, dog parks, bike lanes, affordable recreation for teens, farmer’s market and art.
Stakeholders in the project, including neighborhood groups, have expressed concerns and desires for the site including accessibility, displacement of people and services like parking, gentrification, green space in a dense neighborhood, and a responsibility to reflect the culture and diversity of residents. The once blighted neighborhood is now predominantly an affordable housing area with an average income of $25,000 and is largely Asian, Spanish, and Chinese.
The panel participants were:
Julieanne Herskowitz, New York City Economic Development Corporation
Jamie Chen, New York City Department of City Planning
Cathy E. Jones and Dana Getman, >SHoP Architects
Dylan House, Hester Street Collaborative
Victor J. Papa, President, Two Bridges Neighborhood Council
Cassim Shepard, editor of Urban Omnibus, The Architectural League of New York (moderator)
SHoP Architects have been awarded contracts since 2004 to design and rebuild this section of lower Manhattan. To see images and read official language about the masterplan from the Dept. of City Planning click here. The development will occur in stages, some of which are not fully funded as of this recording.