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.