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MAS Releases “New York’s Next Great Waterfront Park”, A Report on the Future of East Midtown’s Waterfront

waterfront park east river new york urban design

On December 13, 2011, MAS released the report New York’s Next Great Waterfront Park to help guide the transformation of the former Con Ed pier along the East Midtown Waterfront into a thriving public space. New York’s Next Great Waterfront Park was prepared in conjunction with MAS Planning Committee member and noted New York landscape architect Barbara Wilks and her firm W Architecture and Landscape Architecture.

The report offers a set of community driven design principles for the East Midtown Waterfront, exploring how to maximize the site’s adjacency to the East River, what kind of physical infrastructure and community involvement are needed to ensure the success of the park, and how to both leverage and respect the local ecosystem. The recommendations grew out of a charrette, or design workshop, convened by MAS in July 2011. The purpose of the all-day session was to bring attention to the East Side’s pressing need for publicly accessible open space and to articulate a community-driven vision for a new waterfront park. For more information on the July 2011 charrette, you can read The New York Times event recap here.

Said Vin Cipolla, president of the Municipal Art Society: “The charrette yielded an even greater degree of creativity and collaboration than we had hoped for. If the resulting design principles are used to guide this project, the waterfront park on the former Con Ed Pier will be an exceptionally vibrant and versatile resource for all New Yorkers.”

The charrette brought together over 50 architects, designers, urban planners, local officials, members of Manhattan Community Board 6 (CB6), representatives from city agencies and civic advocates. Among the participants were Councilman Dan Garodnick; State Senator Liz Krueger; representatives from Congresswomen Carolyn Maloney’s office; CB6; the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYC EDC); The New York City Department of Parks & Recreation (NYC DPR); The United Nations Development Corporation, School Construction Authority, NYU Medical Center, Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, Transportation Alternatives, and landscape architects George Bloomer, Jim Mituzas and George Vellonakis from the NYC DPR; Mary Margaret Jones, Senior Principal, Hargreaves Associates; Christopher Marcinkoski, Director, PORT Architecture + Urbanism; and Dong-Ping Wong, Director, Family Architects.

MAS will be submitting New York’s Next Great Waterfront Park to the NYC EDC and AECOM, who was selected by NYC EDC to conduct a feasibility study of the East River Waterfront from 38th to 60th Streets and to complete the initial rehabilitation work on the former Con Ed Pier. MAS looks forward to working with NYC EDC, AECOM and the local community as work begins on this critical portion of new open space on the East River Waterfront.