On June 28, 2018, New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) President and CEO James Patchett and NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver announced the opening of Hunter’s Point South Waterfront Park Phase II.
In an excellent example of the 3Re Strategy at work, the park repurposes, renews and reconnects 11 acres of abandoned industrial land in Long Island City, opposite Manhattan.
Anticipating the flooding patterns and rising water levels of the East River, Hunter’s Point South Waterfront Park leverages its spectacular views to create a recreational and cultural destination, along with restored wildlife habitat.
There’s a heritage aspect, as well: Extending Phase I, the site’s paths unfurl into a promenade at the Park’s southern terminus, leading to the Overlook, a 30-foot-high platform whose steel-clad formwork recalls the site’s industrial legacy.
“It’s a new kind of park,” said lead landscape architect Tom Balsley of SWA/BALSLEY, who began his work on Queens’ East River waterfront 25 years ago with Gantry Plaza State Park. “Hunter’s Point South is at once resilient infrastructure and contemplative retreat, with the power to touch so many people.”
The park is a design collaboration between SWA/BALSLEY and WEISS/MANFREDI, with ARUP as the prime consultant and infrastructure designer. Spearheaded by the New York City Economic Development Corporation, on behalf of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, it presents a new model of urban ecology and a prototype for innovative sustainable design. The park is adjacent to the City’s largest affordable housing development since the 1970s.
“For us, it has been a dream to be a part of a design team that created a waterfront park like no other,” said lead designers Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi, founders of WEISS/MANFREDI. “Hunter’s Point South is equally a place of discovery, ecological resilience, and extraordinary drama with the Overlook that hovers above the water to frame the city’s magical skyline.”
The designers also sculpted an industrial peninsula to feel like an “island,” surrounded by salt marsh. There, a land art installation, Luminescence by artist Nobuho Nagasawa, depicts the phases of the moon with glowing six-foot discs.
Additional pathways lead through sculpted grasslands and a shaded picnic promontory embedded with wooden “rafts.” Three fitness terraces offer views down the river to the bridges.
“Reforming disused areas of our densely populated city is part of our social responsibility as designers,” said ARUP Principal Tom Kennedy. “The new Hunter’s Point development provides the perfect opportunity to allow people to explore and enjoy the city’s waterfront.”
Images courtesy of Albert Vecerka/Esto, courtesy WEISS/MANFREDI.