Having apparently failed to learn from the Ground Zero mess that the best way to divide New Yorkers is to offer a suite of different schematic designs for a massive urban planning project, city planners have released four grand visions for the coming revamp of Governors Island. Bought from the U.S. government for $1 in 2003, the island now sits mostly unused, save for occasional tourist junkets. What could the future hold? Curbed surveys the four designs (click through on links for large schematics):
1) Minimum Build Island. Concept: Demolish buildings on southern island to maximize open, public space. North end of island might have a food court or something. (Per the Post: "One planner called it a 'worst-case scenario' because it would cost $217 million to build and generate little revenue." The horror.) Pros: Pretty green grass. Cons: Kinda wimpy, non?
2) Iconic Island. Concept: Crazy architecture and frenzied landscape design turn Governors Island into an upscale architectural gawker's paradise. Boutique hotels, conference centers round out the mix. Pros: Plenty of works for starchitects. Cons: Plenty of work for starchitects.
3) Innovation Island. Concept: Education/research/business hub, not unlike the Presidio in San Francisco. Pros: Highest intensity of use, but lowest number of daily tourists. Cons: Could it survive the coming crash of the Web 2.0 boom?
4) Destination Island. Concept: Shoreline amphitheatre! Theme hotels! Amusement park! Seek to draw the maximum number of tourists with a Disneyland-styled universe that would make Mitterand jealous. Pros: Nutty schematic (above right) demands at least an hour of your focused attention. Cons: Inevitable Six Flags sponsorship.
Handicapping the field, we'd have to give Iconic Island and Destination Island the edge. While we'd like to see Iconic Island get build just for the sheer "what the fuck?"-ness of its concept, no doubt the kids will get theirs and Burger King can, at last, enjoy a glorious renaissance. Timeline: plan chosen by the end of next year, with construction to start in 2007. God, the future is going to just rule.
· Governors Island Plans from Public Information Session [govisland.com]
· Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation [govisland.com]
· 'Fantasy' Island [NYPost]