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Hudson River Park to get new 5.5-acre parkland with public beach

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The new park will be designed by James Corner Field Operations

Photo by Max Guliani, Courtesy of Hudson River Park Trust

Manhattan doesn’t have many publicly-accessible beaches along its 32 miles of shoreline—there are some inlets along the Harlem River, but they’re not exactly suitable for splashing and wading—but that could soon change. The Hudson River Park Trust announced that it has selected landscape architecture firm James Corner Field Operations to revamp the Gansevoort Peninsula, a piece of land that’s the only remaining section of 13th Avenue, into a 5.5-acre public park, complete with its own beach (albeit one that will not likely be open to swimmers).

Last year, HRPT issued a request for qualifications as part of the process of picking a designer for the undeveloped patch of land. JCFO, which is known for its work on the High Line and Domino Park, among other urban green spaces, was ultimately the winner; its design will include “passive and active recreation areas,” according to a release, along with the beach on the southern side of the peninsula. Though it won’t be a swimming beach, the waterfront area will allow for environmental awareness programming with the park’s Estuary Lab.

The newly designed parkland will also incorporate Day’s End, a public art installation commissioned by the Whitney Museum and created by David Hammonds. The project, which was announced in 2017, will feature a stainless steel “ghost monument” that evokes the shape of sheds that once stood on the piers lining the Hudson River.

“Along Hudson River Park’s four miles, we’ve been able to showcase some of the best landscape architects in the field,” Madelyn Wils, president and CEO of HRPT, said in a statement. “I’m pleased that the exceptional design firm James Corner Field Operations will join the ranks of the talented teams that have helped make Hudson River Park one of the great waterfront parks in the country.”

HRPT is working with the landscape architecture firm Olin and starchitect Rafal Viñoly on a new section of parkland at Pier 26 in Tribeca; at Pier 55, meanwhile, Thomas Heatherwick and Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects are collaborating on the floating park that’s under construction.

The project was approved at an HRPT board meeting this afternoon; the public will get a chance to weigh in at a series of public meetings and workshops to be held in the near futue. Construction won’t kick off until 2020, with the whole thing due to be finished by 2022.