Today, the de Blasio Administration released a progress update for the City’s vision to close the 32.5-mile loop of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway.The Manhattan Waterfront Greenway brochure outlines more than $250 million of investments in key areas in Inwood, Harlem, East Harlem, and East Midtown, with a vision for the remaining gaps and upgrade areas. These projects will add approximately 15 acres of quality open space that integrates the Greenway into neighborhoods that have historically been disconnected from the waterfront. In addition, the de Blasio Administration has already invested over $400 million in repairing the existing Greenway.
Completing the Greenway will connect open spaces at the water’s edge that total more than 1,000 acres—an area larger than Central Park. These investments will make bike lanes safer for cyclists and pedestrians, and will ensure that residents in historically underserved neighborhoods can access the water, and strengthen our resilience in the face of rising sea levels and storm surges. Dedicated space for pedestrians and cyclists will continue to fulfill the goals of Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative to reduce traffic-related fatalities.
“The full potential of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway has yet to be realized,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We’re committed to closing the gaps along the Greenway, which will strengthen neighborhoods and ensure that all New Yorkers have access to our iconic waterfront “
“Improving waterfront access is a critical part of our work to strengthen neighborhoods and improve the quality of life for New Yorkers,” said NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett. “Our progress on this important initiative will provide a seamless connection to world-class open spaces on the waterfront and will help make our city more accessible and equitable. We thank Mayor de Blasio and Deputy Mayor Glen for their commitment to the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway, and we look forward to working with NYC Parks and NYC DOT to bring this vision to fruition.”
“We are delighted to be part of the effort to complete the inimitable Manhattan Waterfront Greenway, a plan that will help connect New Yorkers and visitors to our beautiful waterfront,” said NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “As we make that 32-mile-long waterfront safer for cyclists and easier for pedestrians and joggers, we will help meet the City’s goals for sustainability and Vision Zero. Again, we thank Mayor de Blasio and Deputy Mayor Glen for their leadership — and we look forward to working with our sister agencies to complete this bold vision.”
“New Yorkers have long voiced their desire for more access to and seamless connectivity along the Manhattan Greenway Waterfront, and with Mayor de Blasio’s commitment, we are ever-closer to realizing that dream,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver. “With each added acre we will work closely with the community to realize new places for them exercise, play, and relax.”
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“I’m thrilled to see the expansion of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway project to Inwood and upgrades to Fort Washington Park. Northern Manhattan has many of the most beautiful parks and open spaces in the City, and with the new additions to Inwood, more residents will be able to enjoy outdoor recreational activities….”
“I’m thrilled to see the expansion of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway project to Inwood and upgrades to Fort Washington Park. Northern Manhattan has many of the most beautiful parks and open spaces in the City, and with the new additions to Inwood, more residents will be able to enjoy outdoor recreational activities. Thank you Mayor de Blasio, NYCEDC, NYC Parks, and NYC DOT for prioritizing Northern Manhattan in the next phase of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway project,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez.
“Manhattan is a true wonder of the world and networking a thousand acres of green space will create waterfront access unique to New York City,” said City Council Economic Development Committee Chair and Council Member Paul A. Vallone.
“Open space is a precious commodity on the East Side and all across Manhattan. That is why I’m so pleased to see the city putting in the investment to complete the Greenway,” said State Senator Liz Krueger. Finding new ways for Manhattanites to enjoy fresh air and expansive views, and connect with our waterfront, is vital to the quality of life of our neighborhoods. I thank Mayor de Blasio and his team for taking this big step toward making our riverfront park a reality.”
“New Yorkers deserve better park spaces. Creating and revitalizing the East Midtown Greenway is a step in the right direction,” said Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright. It will create an environment along the waters of Manhattan where communities can come together to enjoy the views and breezy air.”
“Representing a district with a severe scarcity of open space, Manhattan Community Board Six has for years advocated for greater public access to our district’s waterfront, including safe, connected bike and pedestrian walkways,” said Molly Hollister, Chair, Manhattan Community Board Six. Our 2007 197a plan calls for completing our district’s portion of the esplanade and even proposes the creation of a Special Public Access District to help develop open space improvements for our waterfront. We share the City’s goal of a continuous waterfront esplanade around Manhattan, and we look forward to working with our partner agencies and community stakeholders to make this goal a reality.”
Existing Harlem Waterfront Greenway Gaps:
Inwood (Sherman Creek to Inwood Hill Park)
The City is currently investing $41 million in Inwood to build out a new waterfront esplanade at Academy Street along the Sherman Creek and creating approximately two acres of new waterfront open space connecting to the Harlem River Greenway to the south. At the northern tip of the Sherman Creek area, the City will invest $9 million to restore the North Cove. For both projects, a conceptual design will begin in 2019 and construction will commence in 2021.
Harlem River Greenway Link (E. 125th St.–E. 132nd St.)
The Harlem River Greenway Link will develop seven acres of new open space, featuring separate paths for pedestrians and cyclists, lawns, native plantings, integrated art, and unique places for pedestrians to enjoy the waterfront views of Randall’s Island and the Bronx. The new Harlem River Greenway Link will strengthen the shoreline by making vast improvements and repairs to the bulkhead along the Harlem River. The completion of this gap and East Midtown Greenway will connect five miles of continuous waterfront greenway from E. 53rd St. to E. 145th St. The City has allocated $101 million to advance construction, which is expected to begin in 2021 once the site is no longer needed for construction staging for adjacent roadway improvement.
Esplanade Gardens-Harlem River Speedway (E. 145th St.–E. 163rd St.)
Residents in this area are cut off from direct waterfront access due to the Harlem River Drive, subway railyards, and private property. Integrating the Greenway in this area is an opportunity to enhance the overall parks and open space network. The first opportunity to integrate the Greenway with existing open spaces is through the reconstruction of Harlem Lane Playground from W. 150th St. to W. 154th St. with over $5 million as part of the NYC Park’s Community Parks Initiative. The project is expected to be completed in 2021, and will include the reconstruction of the sports courts, community gathering spaces, plantings, paths, benches, and adult fitness equipment.
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As part of improving safety for cyclists and pedestrians, a waterfront alignment that connects Fort Washington Park to the open space near the footing of the George Washington Bridge would create a direct waterfront connection with expansive views of the Hudson River and New Jersey Palisades.
“We applaud the Mayor’s vision for a Manhattan Waterfront Greenway which strengthens the City’s coastline by emphasizing both access and resiliency,” said Roland Lewis, President and CEO, Waterfront Alliance. The completion of the green necklace around the island of Manhattan demonstrates that with smart design, we can increase connections to the waters that surround us and strengthen our shorelines in the face of the rising tide. These investments will allow New Yorkers to enjoy many recreational, educational and transportation opportunities along our urban coastline previously unavailable. A vibrant, accessible waterfront also includes protecting against floods and rising sea levels for future generations. Bravo.”
“With this significant investment, it feels like the dream of a continuous Manhattan Waterfront Greenway is finally going to be realized,” said Ken Podziba, President and CEO of Bike New York. “As bicycling continues to grow in popularity, this long-awaited Greenway will help the City meet the need for safe, protected routes for cyclists, whether they’re riding for transportation, fitness, or recreation. On behalf of Bike New York, I’d like to commend the de Blasio administration for this vision and for taking action. This will undoubtedly improve the quality of life here in New York, for residents and visitors alike.”
“Completing the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway is a win-win for parks and transportation,” said Lynn Kelly, Executive Director of New Yorkers for Parks. “It will add much needed open space to what has historically been a park-poor area, and allow for the safe enjoyment of the waterfront by cyclists, pedestrians and parks alike.”
“The City’s commitment to create one unified Manhattan Waterfront Greenway is a big win for all New Yorkers,” said Emily Nobel Maxwell, New York City Program Director for The Nature Conservancy. “Parks, open space, and waterfront access are critical infrastructure that enhance public health and wellbeing and build community resilience. We applaud the City and all the local community leaders who are bringing this vital project to life. We look forward to seeing the Greenway connect New Yorkers to their waterfront, to healthy living and recreation, to local nature, and to each other.”
“Uptown Paddling is excited about EDC’s plans for our northern Manhattan Waterfront Greenway which will greatly boost our mission of helping uptown kids experience the fun of paddling and learn about their biggest neighbor, the waterfront,” said Laird Kelly, Uptown Paddling Inc.
“We applaud the City’s efforts to complete the greenway around Manhattan,” said Robert Burke, Executive Director of Hudson River Community Sailing. For too long New Yorkers have been cut off from the shores of their island, and the seas that lie beyond.
Since its inception in 1993 under Mayor David Dinkins, each administration has contributed to advancing the completion of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway. The last major section of the Greenway to open was a 10-block Riverwalk built in Riverside Park on the West Side between W. 81st St. and W. 91st St., completing a contiguous 11-mile Hudson River Greenway from the Battery to the George Washington Bridge.
Photo credit: Men and women from Harlem Rowing Club 1900 via source.