After decades of planning, a 5.65-acre park with a beach is coming to Hudson River Park’s Gansevoort Peninsula—a site that until recently was a Department of Sanitation facility.
Back in January, Hudson River Park Trust (HRPT) announced that James Corner Field Operations (JCFO)—known for their work at the High Line and Domino Park—would be in charge of the design, and since March, the neighboring community has provided input throughout the process. On Wednesday, the preliminary concept was unveiled at a public meeting in the Meatpacking District.
The park, located from Gansevoort Street to Little West 12th Street—along what used to be 13th Avenue—will have a sandy beach area with kayak access and a seating area; a salt marsh, habitat enhancements; a large sports field; and on its western side, picnic tables and lounge chairs.
According to Lisa Tziona Switkin with landscape architecture firm JCFO, the designers and HRPT drew inspiration from “the idea of having habitat and linking back into the larger estuary.”
“It’s the place where you can actually have a stronger relationship with the river, the water; a sanctuary for wildlife,” Switkin told Curbed.
“We wanted it not only to feel like it was connected to the particular neighborhood—some of the geometry and the way that pieces of the peninsula were conceived, were also based on that history and legacy and trying not to completely erase it,” she added. “Show a new future valued for the river and estuary, and water use.”
The design is a dramatic departure from the warehouses and saloons that once lined the 13th Avenue thoroughfare. The parkland will also include Day’s End, a public art installation that’s a monument to the site’s history created by David Hammonds and commissioned by the Whitney Museum.
Though the design has yet to be finalized, HRPT expects construction to take one and a half years, starting in late 2020 with completion expected by the middle of 2022.
“It’s one of the only opportunities in Hudson River Park where you can actually get down to the river,” says Madelyn Wils, president and CEO of HRPT.
Wils says the park is part of a larger effort to build more public spaces along the river to serve the ever-changing population in the neighboring community. From 2000 to 2014, the youth population near Hudson River Park grew 66 percent, according to Wils.
“If you want people to live in the city you have to provide these kinds of amenities—that’s the thing that we hear most from families: That if it weren’t for the park, they would move out of the city, because they wouldn’t have a place for their kids to play,” says Wils. “It’s a large driver to keep people in Manhattan.”
At the moment, there are nearly a billion dollars worth of projects in the works at Hudson River Park, Wils said, including Pier 57 (which will house office space for Google), and several other efforts including at Pier 26, Pier 55, and Pier 97.