The weather may be grey and dreary today, but spring is here, which means it's time to whip out your picnic blankets and go play in the park. Public open spaces throughout the city are prepping for the sun-starved masses, and many places are undergoing complete renovations. In fact, all five boroughs have parks under some kind of construction. Some, like Washington Square Park, are finally nearing completion, while others?lookin' at you High Line?still have many months to go. To keep track of what's going on where, we've mapped out 12 under-construction parks. Did we miss any? Let us know on the tipline. Construction photos are welcome, too.Read More
Mapping the Makeovers of New York City's Parks
Everyone's favorite elevated park broke ground on its third and final section last September. This final piece wraps around the rail yards, where Hudson Yards will rise, and it will be complete by the end of 2013, with an anticipated opening of Spring 2014. When it's open, we'll see familiar design features like exposed rail tracks, natural landscaping, and peel-up benches, plus new elements like a children's play area and boxcar-turned-food stand.
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Pier 5 and the Squibb Park Bridge opened in Brooklyn Bridge Park earlier this year, and now construction crews have moved onto Piers 2, 3 and 4. In March, ground broke on the Pier 4 beach, and the uplands of Piers 3 and 4 are currently being shaped with fill which has been salvaged from the MTA's East Side Access project. On Pier 2, crews are reimagining the existing pier shed to create a pavilion-like structure. Pier 2 will host active recreation courts for basketball, handball, and bocce, as well as a full size in-line skating rink, swings, picnic tables, restrooms and a concession area. Piers 3 and 4 will be passive areas, with walkways, terraces, and landscaped gardens. All should be complete by the fall.
Prospect Park Lakeside
Twenty-six acres of Prospect Park are being restored as part of the under-construction Lakeside project. The $74 million center removed the old Wollman ice skating rink to restore the lake's natural shoreline, and a new 25,000-square-foot building is being constructed. The new building will nestle into the landscape with a swooping green roof that shades an ice rink below. It should open for skating this November.
Washington Square Park
Washington Square Park has been under construction for more than five years, but it should all come to an end this summer. The overhaul restored and repositioned the fountain, rebuilt the chess plaza, replaced sidewalks and lighting, planted new trees, created new lawns, and built new restrooms, a dog run, and play areas.
Come October, 87 acres of Governors Island will be completely reborn as a haven of green space that one archicritic called "deliciously mellow." The $300 million renovation comes from the Dutch design firm West 8. The end result will be new recreation areas, a new waterfront pathway, a relaxing hammock grove, and beautifully landscaped flower gardens.
The 1,200-foot-long High Bridge, a pedestrian link between Washington Heights and the Bronx, has been closed for more than 40 years, but the city began a highly anticipated restoration this past January. The $62 million project will bring the bridge back to life with new lights, protective barriers, and ramps for bikes and strollers. The structure was built in 1848, and it's the oldest bridge in the city. It will reopen next year.
Hudson River Park
The most recent part of Hudson River Park to undergo construction was Pier 26. A new boathouse and restaurant were supposed to open this spring, but we're not sure if that's happened yet. Construction is set to being on the rest of the pier as well, where new parkland was being built. Plans were recently approved for a makeover to Pier 57, and Pier 40 is still trying to figure out how best to save itself. Eventually, if the park's trust can get back on solid financial footing, several other piers in the Meatpacking District and Chelsea will also become part of the park.
Astoria Park Pool
The high dive at Astoria Pool has been out of commission for a long time, but it's going to see new life as a performing arts venue. The Parks Department announced the plans earlier this year, and they plan to create a a 37,000-square-foot amphitheater-style space.
The transformation of the Fresh Kills landfill into Freshkills Park began more than a decade ago, and they still have another 20 years to go before the project is complete. Sports fields and meadows have opened to the public, and the city continues to seek ideas (like renewable energy production) for other parts of the site.
East River Esplanade
As it goes with waterfront park projects, the East River Esplanade has been constructed in stages, and several more sections are set to open this summer. There will soon be pathways between the Battery Maritime Building and Wall Street, as well as between Fulton Street and Pier 15. The Maiden Lane Pavilion and a Pier 15 cafe will also open.
Last summer, after years and years of construction, McCarren Park saw the re-opening of its pool, and now the park is losing a different, albeit much less popular, body of water: "hipster lake." Said lake is the result of poor drainage, and the parks departments started a $930,000 construction project to rid the park of it forever.
Riverside Park Bathrooms
Riverside Park is getting one of the greenest buildings in all of New York City: a composting restroom. Designed by COOKFOX, the facility is built to the very strict Living Buildings Challenge, a standard that requires net-zero water usage. The new bathroom building will be powered by solar panels, and it will have composting toilets, among other ecotastic elements.
From a tipster: "Battery Park is undergoing a major renovation as 40% of the park is being revamped to include new bike/jogging lanes to unite the Hudson and East River trails, a 4-acre Battery Green is being created for passive recreation and events, an incredible carousel is nearing completion, many of the monuments will also be relocated and lit at night. The unsightly security tents for the Liberty/Ellis Island Ferries are being removed and the harbor vista restored. Over 200 additional trees will be planted as well. The final project will be Frank Gehry's $10M playground to be build across from the Carousel."