Posts tagged with "Hudson River":

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The River Project is holding its annual fundraiser—a cocktail party and evening cruise around the Statue of Liberty

The River Project has had a marine station on the Hudson River at Pier 40 (near Harrison Street) since 1986. It conducts scientific research on the fragile Hudson estuary from the pier and works to connect the spectacular waterway to the public. Its yearly boat cruise on the river will take place aboard the Hornblower Hybrid on Monday, August 7th and will include a cocktail party and evening cruise around the Statue of Liberty. The event will also honor Hudson River supporters Senator Brad Hoylman, Billion Oyster Project Director Pete Malinowski, and author Mark Kurlansky. The tickets are available at $250 and up. For tickets, please visit riverprojectnyccruise.eventbrite.com or send a check to: 535 West St. Suite 224 New York, NY 10014 For more information, email cathy[at]riverprojectnyc.org or call (917) 841 - 5720.
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Construction on Hudson River’s Pier55 park stopped by court order

In April this year, British architect Thomas Heatherwick's Pier55 project was given the go-ahead from the New York State Supreme Court. Back then, all looked good for the $130 million, 2.7 acre island of public space located off of the lower west side of Manhattan. Now, construction is to be delayed after the court has allowed opponents of the project more time for their case to be prepared. The result of an injunction issued by the New York State Appellate Division, the Hudson River scheme is likely to restart construction by September at the earliest. Notable opponents to Pier55—which is backed by Barry Diller and Diane von Furstenberg—include the City Club of New York, who penned a letter published by AN in opposition of the project, activist Tom Fox, and environmentalist Rob Buchanan. "The project would require driving about 550 piles in an area of the Hudson protected as an estuarine sanctuary,” the City Club wrote in an AN op-ed published this January. “Diller and von Furstenberg would receive a 30-year lease to operate the island as a performing arts venue and naming rights to the island in perpetuity.” “The project has also been through a rigorous and transparent environmental review process and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has already determined that an Environmental Impact Statement is not required,” said the Pier55 development team in reply. “It must also be noted that Pier55’s 2.7-acre size is within the scope of what is allowed based on a 2013 law amending the state’s Hudson River Park Act. This amendment, crafted based on input from the local community board and other stakeholders, allowed HRPT to rebuild the former pier outside its original footprint.” In April, as mentioned earlier, Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Joan Lobis ruled that The City Club's claims to be "without merit". "It would appear that a significant purpose of maintaining event spaces in the Park is to generate funds for the ongoing upkeep of the Park, which is surely a park purpose," said Lobis. In light of the recent injunction, City Club President Michael Gruen issued a statement said the move was a "valuable step in ensuring that this secretive and misguided project will not get off the ground."        
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Riverside Park South’s transformation continues with new bike paths and amenities

Stretching alongside the Hudson River from 59th to 72nd Street, Riverside Park South is getting a makeover. Here, authorities are planning to install bicycle paths, picnic benches and tables, basketball courts, bathrooms and playing fields.
The area has been subject to a recent development boom, with a full-floor penthouse on One Riverside Park having recently been sold for $20,063,525. This isn't the only case though. According to NYC Blog Estate, "the average price per square foot of a Riverside Boulevard condominium increased 10 percent year-over-year to $1,552 in the fourth quarter of 2011, compared to a 4 percent gain to $1,417 in Manhattan as a whole."
Sales in the vicinity are also outpacing that of Manhattan, rising 23 percent between 2010 and 2011 compared to Manhattan's measly 6 percent inflation. One source for the growth in the area's property market could be the development is likely to be the project going on at Riverside Park South.
Development to the park, when finalized, will no doubt see further property be sold along the riverfront, with quality public space within the vicinity acting as small catalyst to real estate prices. New York landscape architecture practice, Thomas Balsley Associates are fronting the development which has so far been 15-years in the making.
The firm started design work in 1998, however, construction on the 25-acre site only began in 2001. Their scheme is unique in comparison to other waterfront parks in New York City due to the fact that it connects directly onto the Manhattan gird.
Restored gantries, once used to load railcars onto barges and old piers, will celebrate the area's industrial past as the project looks to re-establish the waters edge on West Manhattan as a bustling communal area. Articulation of both passive and active spaces meanwhile act as a threshold between the bank of the Hudson and the busy freeway.
This juxtaposition of environments is amplified further by a 40-foot grade change from the street that is sloped into a descent toward the river via walkways, ramps, overlooking terraces overlooks and stairways.
On 73rd Street, a newly installed stairway takes pedestrians southward toward open green spaces, intended for sport and leisure, and a pier that houses a cafe. Extending 750 feet out, the pier becomes the parks most identifiable feature, able to offer views up and down the Hudson.
All in all, the space is tied together through the arrangement of circulatory devices such as esplanades, marshland, boardwalks and planting. These pedestrian-friendly havens, neatly nestled away from the chaos of Manhattan, make for a ideal space to relax and escape the adjacent city.
Comprising six "phases", the development is two thirds of the way through the scheme. The fourth phase was completed in 2008 by which time the project had amassed a cost of $43.7 million. Phase five is due to begin construction in June this year and further costs are estimated at $49.6 million for the final two phases with the project being completed by late 2018.
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An artist’s floating garden on the Hudson River will create new public and performance space

For artists living in a city that thousands of creatives call home, finding space to showcase your art is a never-ending struggle. Added to the pressure of paying rent and putting food on the table, it can feel like an impossible undertaking. But visual artist Mary Mattingly has discovered a unique (and legal) way to create her own space: calling the Hudson River its home, "Swale" will be a community garden erected on a barge. Its soil will contain an assortment of vegetable and fruit trees; all of the plants on board will be edible. Mattingly also envisions a mobile greenhouse where the public can harvest and cultivate their own crops. Expected to run in the summer, the 80 x 30 foot structure will travel to different piers in the five boroughs. Mattingly is aware that the project is a risky endeavor. Since "Swale" is a vessel open to the public, it will be regulated by the US Coast Guard. On top of the community garden will be a 12 x 12 foot pavilion built by Sally Bozzuto of Biome Arts. The triangular prism will be an open meeting place for performance artists, activists, and visitors. Digital sensors embedded in plant beds will capture temperature rates, soil moisture and pH content to give visitors an idea of the inner workings of the nautical garden.
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Letter to the Editor> Pier55 responds to City Club of New York criticism

[Editor’s Note: This letter is in response to an op-ed from the City Club of New York. Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email editor@archpaper.com] There is a pressing need for new public open space and programming along the Lower Manhattan waterfront. When Hudson River Park’s Pier 54 closed in 2011, New York City lost vital parkland that had served both local community and citywide residents. The problem was that there was never enough public funding to support a new pier at that site. Pier55 will revitalize that waterfront space with nearly three acres of new public parkland, a unique design and new arts, educational and community programming. A public-private partnership between the Diller - von Furstenberg family and the Hudson River Park Trust will ensure Pier55 will remain sustainable for generations to come. As former City Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe has written, this use of a public-private partnership follows a long tradition that has supported other public parks across New York City, such as the High Line and Brooklyn Bridge Park, as well as public arts spaces like Central Park’s Naumberg Bandshell and the Queens Theatre in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. That is all part of why Pier55 has received an overwhelmingly positive response from local families and park advocates who are excited about the future of the Hudson River Park. The project has also been through a rigorous and transparent environmental review process and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has already determined that an Environmental Impact Statement is not required. Unfortunately, the City Club of New York disagrees. Instead of engaging the community — as the Hudson River Park Trust and Pier55, Inc. have done over the past year — the City Club continues to make false claims about Pier55 and its public process. The fact is that Pier55 underwent a comprehensive Environmental Assessment which found that the park would have no significantly adverse impact on fish and other aquatic wildlife. The Environmental Assessment remains publicly posted on the HRPT website to this day, and it was distributed publicly for a two-month comment period that went well beyond what is required by state law. Additionally, it has already been stated that pile driving for Pier55 will not occur between November and April, when wildlife like winter flounder and striped bass are found in higher densities in the area. The City Club has provided no actual evidence refuting the Environmental Assessment or proving why any further environmental review would be required. Pier55 will provide a diverse array of programming, but it should be noted that boating activities are already found at numerous other piers along Hudson River Park. Contrary to opposition claims, as determined by the United States Coastguard, Pier55 will not obstruct navigation in the Hudson River because that particular area has never been used for boating activities. Pier55’s commitment to public programming is also based on a commitment to public access. The park will remain open to the public all year round and the vast majority of events at Pier55 will be offered for free or at low cost. It must also be noted that Pier55’s 2.7-acre size is within the scope of what is allowed based on a 2013 law amending the state’s Hudson River Park Act. This amendment, crafted based on input from the local community board and other stakeholders, allowed HRPT to rebuild the former pier outside its original footprint. Aside from all that, it is odd to see the City Club argue that Pier55 — one pier among many at Hudson River Park — will block views of the river. The pier will provide park visitors with new and unique views of the Hudson River, and it will replace a fenced-off site that currently provides no public benefit. Overall, Pier55 is a public benefit that is being funded by necessity through a public-private partnership. Pier55, Inc. is not a corporation — it is a nonprofit organization. It will not reap profits from any events held at Pier55, and all programming revenue will go back into funding the park and serving the public. As New Yorkers for Parks and other supporters have noted, this public-private model will ensure that the new pier remains sustainable for generations, even in the absence of public funding. The City Club’s arguments against Pier55 may be numerous, but they are without merit and do not reflect the overwhelming community support for the project, which has only grown as more local residents hear what the new park will provide for their neighborhood. We look forward to continuing to work with all stakeholders on making Pier55 a success for the community and the city. We hope the City Club will reconsider its inaccurate claims and join us in that effort. —Pier55 Development Team
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Beach-Topped Barge Proposed For Hudson River

As New York City's +Pool—the world’s first floating swimming pool—gets closer to the water, it was high-time for another river-based project to make itself known. The latest comes in the form of City Beach NYC, a beach-topped barge that would float in the Hudson River. The idea for the vessel comes from Blayne Ross, and it was designed and engineered by Matt Berman, and Andrew Kotchen from workshop/apd, and Nathaniel Stanton of Craft Engineering. While the project is described as a beach, it doesn’t actually offer New Yorkers the chance to swim—that is, unless they dive off the barge and into the Hudson, which is not advised. This barge, though, has more than beach chairs and umbrellas. Its sandy topper lifts up 16-feet on either side to create space for a food court, two local restaurants, changing rooms, a guest services desk, and a “kids history & marine science lab.” There is also a double-height restaurant that is “the perfect place to enjoy a leisurely lunch or dinner.” The team will be launching a Kickstarter for its project on June 19 and is aiming for a 2016 opening, the same year +Pool aims to be in the water. The race is on. [h/t Curbed]
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New York City Zoning Board Burns Studio Gang’s “Solar Carve” Tower Along the High Line

Chicago’s Studio Gang Architects announced plans for their New York debut in late 2012. The proposed building, located near the High Line along 10th Avenue between 13th and 14th streets, features a serrated edge that maximizes daylight on the elevated park next door—Jeanne Gang called it “solar carving.” But the legal path to realizing that faceted glass facade had some unexpected kinks of its own. The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP) was “thrilled to report” that the building’s developer withdrew their application for a zoning variance for the building. At 213 feet tall, the tower would have been 34 percent larger than current zoning allows. After a few appearances before the Board of Standards and Appeals, the project's land use attorney told the New York Observer that the zoning request had fallen flat. The developer, William Gottlieb Real Estate, is apparently moving forward with a modified application, but for now the project remains blocked. The High Line intersects the site, which is currently an empty meatpacking plant. Gang’s design placed the tower near the Hudson River, abutting the High Line. GVSHP contested the developer’s position that sandy soils and the High Line’s proximity constituted a “hardship” worthy of a zoning variance. The 186,700-square-foot office tower was planned to open in 2015. If a revised application seeks different setbacks, the “Solar Carve” tower might meet less resistance from neighborhood groups. “We have no objections to the proposed development setting back differently than the zoning requires, as this would have no negative impact upon the surrounding neighborhood,” wrote GVSHP’s executive director, Andrew Berman. “Increasing the bulk of the proposed development, however, would have such a negative impact.”
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Quest to Save A Mysterious Hudson River Castle

Preservationists are at work attempting to salvage what remains of a New York architectural oddity. The strange medieval-looking structure known as Bannerman's Castle is located on Pollepel Island, a small stretch of land about 60 miles north of Manhattan on the Hudson River. Scottish-American Arms mogul Francis Bannerman IV built the series of buildings in the early 20th century to act as a personal residence and home to his extensive arsenal. Since the 1920s, however, the castle has suffered from neglect and a series of devastating storms and fires that contribute to its current dilapidated state. In 1993, care of the island was handed over to the Bannerman Castle Trust.  By that point the structure had already born witness to a massive 1920s gunpowder explosion and a 1969 fire that raged for three days and gutted most of the timber interiors. Large portions of the masonry fell victim to a storms in 2009 and 2010. In late November, Putnam-based construction company Tiny Houses began efforts to stabilize some of the extant masonry. Trust president Neil Caplan is in the process of raising funds for further renovation efforts, including transforming the island's home into a visitors center. Bannerman purchased the island in 1900 after locals grew concerned with the quantity of explosive weaponry he was stockpiling in his Brooklyn Navy Yard warehouses.  He proceeded to construct seven structures on the site all bearing a stylistic resemblance to the castles of Bannerman's homeland. The estate's downward spiral began with the Scotsman's death in 1918. For inspiration, trust members are looking to similar structures that have been repurposed in ways that ensure the feasibility of their preservation, such as Saugerties Lighthouse which lies farther up the Hudson, and Boldt Castle on the St. Lawrence River. While the island has already hosted kayak trips, hiking excursions, performances, and a wedding, camping programs and concerts are in the works for the coming year.
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Opponents to LG’s Palisades Tree Topper Will Appeal Court Decision

palisades_02-550x351 Four residents of New Jersey and two public interest groups have pledged to appeal the court ruling upholding the grant of a variance to allow LG Electronics USA to build an 8-story headquarters in Englewood, NJ. If built, the HOK-designed office complex (pictured) will rise above the tree-line and forever change the view of the Palisades from the Cloisters, the Metropolitan Museum of Art's outpost in northern Manhattan, that sits along the Hudson River facing New Jersey. “We have reviewed the decision and believe that it is erroneous. We plan to appeal,” said Angelo Morresi, attorney for the public interests groups, in a statement. (Rendering: Courtesy HOK)
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Redevelopment of Manhattan’s Pier 57 Moved Forward With City Council Approval

As Spring approaches, perhaps in the spirit of rejuvenation, the New York City Council has unanimously approved plans to revitalize Manhattan's Pier 57, the historic pier located at 15th Street and the Hudson River. In 2009 architecture firm Young Woo & Associates set in motion a plan to transform the Pier into a multi-use cultural, retail, and restaurant hub, and, with the City Council's approval in hand, the developers can finally begin the long-awaited redevelopment of the pier. Pier 57 was built in 1952 by Emil Praeger. At the time of construction the engineer received great acclaim for his pioneering design—the Pier floats on three buoyant hollow concrete boxes that were flooded down the river. The new plan to restore the historic landmark conserves the original framing while renovating the 375,000 square feet of interior and rooftop space. While Young Woo & Associates would not release new renderings of the updated design, previous renderings hint at what may be in store. The plan’s most enticing design feature involves the repurposing of sixty 160-square-foot "Incuboxes," or shipping containers, which will be leased to artisans and merchants for $3,000 a month and used for retail and restaurant space. Additionally, the new plans call for adding an amphitheater and a marketplace featuring recycled airplane fuselages that will serve as food kiosks and performance spaces. A public green rooftop, “Sky Park,” will offer waterfront views of the river and New Jersey and will be used to host exhibitions and performances, as well a serve as the Tribeca Film Festivals permanent outdoor venue. Construction of the new and improved Pier 57 is expected to begin in October, with completion targeted for 2015. Hudson River Park Trust Chairperson Diana Taylor said in a statement, “I am so pleased that this project which is so vital to the Park can now go forward. This new Pier will include sorely needed open spaces for Park visitors and will result in much needed revenue to help operate and maintain the Park to the high standards we have come to expect."
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Proposed Development Threatens Historic Palisades Views

The Cloisters museum and gardens, the Metropolitan Museum's outpost for Medieval architecture and art in northern Manhattan, faces the tree-lined cliffs of the Palisades across the Hudson River in New Jersey. The view is picturesque, uninterrupted by the built environment—nary a single building in sight. But soon, a 143-foot-high office complex designed by HOK could rise above the treetops, a change some say will spoil the idyllic natural view. The New York Times reported that LG Electronics USA's plan to build an eight-story headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, has sparked protests from environmental groups, the Met, and Larry Rockefeller—whose grandfather donated four acres of land for the museum and park in New York and purchased 700 acres along the cliffs on the other side of the river to keep the view unmarred. According to the New Jersey Record, LG is among the largest taxpayers in the area, and therefore has some clout with local government officials in Englewood. The Record reported that LG was granted a variance to exceed a 35-foot height limit in the area, a move later challenged in court. The property was subsequently rezoned to again allow for additional height. The development was also approved last fall by the New Jersey State Department of Transportation and Department of Environmental Protection. The new 493,000-square-foot headquarters will cost an estimated $300 million, which LG said will yield jobs and bring in more than a million dollars in tax revenue. Several groups and individuals are taking action, however, to prevent the new development from blemishing their much-loved, pristine views. The Met wrote a letter to LG requesting that they “reconsider the design,” and Rockefeller has spoken with LG officials to explain the significance of the landscape. In addition, environmental groups and Englewood residents have filed two separate lawsuits against the project. Still, LG plans to begin construction on the new campus this year, with construction wrapping up in 2016. Rockefeller told the New York Times he's optimistic a resolution will be found, saying, "No one’s opposed to the building per se. I’m certainly not. It’s just the design of it being tall and so visible.”
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Tracking the Health of New York’s Rivers One Raindrop at a Time

Courtesy Riverkeeper
In May 2011, a shocking 80 percent of the 59 water samples taken from various sites in the Hudson River were determined to be unacceptable by the Riverkeeper, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving water quality on the Hudson River. What makes water “unacceptable”? Sampled sites are tested for enterococcus, a human pathogen often found in sewage that can potentially cause health problems like Meningitis and urinary tract infection. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Enterococcus count standards vary for different sites (for beaches, state governments discourage swimming if the count is over 35 colony forming units per 100ml). As for the part of Hudson River bordering New York City, an enterococcus count greater than 104 units per 100mL is considered "unacceptable." And, quite frankly, gross. This year, according to Riverkeeper's latest water quality report from May, only 12 percent of the sampling sites were unacceptable and 7 percent were diagnosed with possible risk. The enterococcus count along the East River at 23rd Street was reported to be a mere 10 units per 100ml. What has caused the seemingly huge increase in water quality around New York City? It appears this year's gains were a meteorological fluke caused by differences in weather over the two years. Frequent rainy weather during May 2011 caused stormwater to overwhelm the city's sewer system creating a condition known as Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO). The excess rainwater present during a CSO causes raw sewage to be discharged into nearby bodies of water. This year, May was relatively dry, leaving the sewer systems intact and the enterococcus levels low. In effort to avoid such leakages caused by stormwater, a new plan for gray and green infrastructure with over $5 billion in funding was implemented in April, 2012. The plan calls for green and blue roofs to capture and store stormwater, allowing it to slowly seep into the sewers rather than overwhelming them all at once. Specially-designed plant beds, rain gardens, and tree pits with engineered soil and water-loving plants also hold water, filtering it and absorbing pollutants. While New York dodged a sewage-filled bullet this year, this initiative promoting innovative rainwater management infrastructure could help achieve sustained water quality increases in years to come.