The de Blasio administration upped its commitment to completing the long-in-the-works Manhattan Waterfront Greenway project that is looking to provide a continuous stretch of green space along Manhattan’s waterfront.
On Thursday, the city announced that it was investing $250 million toward closing the gaps in the existing Greenway, and announced several construction timelines for various sections of the open space. This latest set of investments will primarily focus on developing the Greenway in East Harlem, Inwood, Harlem, and Midtown East.
“The full potential of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway has yet to be realized,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio, in a statement. “We’re committed to closing the gaps along the Greenway, which will strengthen neighborhoods and ensure that all New Yorkers have access to our iconic waterfront.”
In Inwood, the city will spend $41 million to create a new waterfront esplanade on Academy Street, along Sherman Creek. At the northern tip of the creek, the city is also investing funds to restore the North Cove. Once complete, this will create two acres of waterfront open space, and connect to the Harlem portion of the Greenway.
In Fort Washington Park, between West 181st Street and 186th Street, the city is planning to make safety improvements for cyclists and pedestrians, and connect the park to the open space near the foot of the George Washington Bridge.
In Harlem, the city wants to open up the space between 163rd and 145th Streets; in the first step to making that happen, the city plans to rebuild the Harlem Lane Playground between West 150th and 154th Streets. This will include the redevelopment of sports courts, community gathering areas, plantings, benches, and fitness equipment. Construction on this section is expected to wrap in 2021.
Further south, the Harlem River Greenway Link will create seven acres of open space including separate paths for both cyclists and pedestrians, spaces to display art, and create views of Randall’s Island and the Bronx. The city has committed $101 million toward this section of the Greenway, and construction is expected to begin in 2021.
In Midtown East, $100 million will go toward providing a pedestrian connection to the Andrew Haswell Green Park. The Midtown East portion of the Greenway will stretch between East 53rd and 61st Streets. Construction on this section is also expected to begin sometime next year. In addition, the city also plans to extend the United Nations Waterfront Esplanade, connecting the waterside pier at East 41st Street to the Midtown East portion of the Greenway.
Finally, between East 13th and 15th Streets, the city plans to build a bridge-like structure to connect East River Park and Captain Patrick J. Brown Walk.
The plan for the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway—a contiguous waterfront green space that wraps around the island—was first put forward by Mayor David N. Dinkins in 1993, and subsequent mayors have continued to build on the project. In all, the Greenway will create 32.5 miles of open space, of which 27.3 miles are already complete. Eventually this project will create more than 1,000 acres of green space, which is larger than Central Park.