September 2017
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Major Step Forward on East Side Waterfront Park

east river waterfront park rendering new york urban design

MAS is pleased to announce that New York City Council Land Use Committee voted this morning to approve a proposed plan for the former Con Ed Site on the East River between 38th and 41st streets on the East River. The plan provides an easement that would enable the realignment of the FDR Drive and the construction of a deck over the highway which will facilitate the creation of a waterfront park on the East Side of Midtown Manhattan that MAS has been advocating for.

We congratulate all those involved — particularly local Council Member Dan Garodnick and Speaker Christine Quinn and the developer East River Realty Company — for their hard work in reaching this agreement. We’d also like to thank Manhattan Community Board Six for their many years of tireless work on the project.

If you’d like to contact Council Member Garodnick click here or you can e-mail Speaker Quinn here.

East River Realty has also pledged $10 million toward the construction of this deck and guaranteed full public access along the routes of 39th and 40th streets. The agreement comes as part of negotiations over the company’s proposed $4 billion project — to be located on nine acres between 35th and 41st streets east of First Avenue. “We have today taken a major step towards the creation of a dynamic new park in a neighborhood with the least open space per-capita in Manhattan,” said MAS President Kent Barwick. “At the same time, the overall project has been improved for the neighborhood and the city.”

The developer and the City Council agreed on several changes to the project itself, including the creation of a non-profit conservancy to oversee the open space on the site of the project and significant height reductions on several of the buildings in the project that will lessen its impact on the surrounding neighborhood.

The MAS specifically thanks City Council Member Garodnick, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and East River Realty Company for their hard work in reaching agreement on this project. The MAS also thanks Manhattan Community Board Six and the elected officials and organizations that have participated in the campaign for an East Side Waterfront park so far, including US Representative Carolyn Maloney, State Senators Thomas Duane and Liz Krueger, NY State Assembly members Jonathan Bing, Brian Kavanagh and Micah Kellner, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and New York City Council Members Jessica Lappin and Rosie Mendez, the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, Transportation Alternatives and the East Midtown Coalition for Sensible Development.

The proposed plan for the East Side Waterfront Park was created through an MAS design charrette featuring six leading landscape architects and ultimately focused on three main principles:

  • create a curvilinear deck over the FDR Drive that elevates people, not cars, and comes down to the water
  • create a ferry landing on a floating pylon that will activate the water’s edge and create a destination at 40th Street.
  • and, create a topographical landscape element around the Midtown Tunnel ventilator shaft that will enable the 42nd Street exit ramp to be relocated.