It is always exciting to watch a design on paper become a reality. CAS Group’s President Jennifer Lindbom, AICP, recently visited the Gansevoort Peninsula project that is currently under construction on Manhattan’s Hudson River. She also spoke with Christopher Carr, P.E., who led the coastal engineering effort on behalf of CAS Group to get his insights into this historical project.
It’s hard to believe, but Manhattan will have its first public beach in the very near future. Remarkable for a city known for skyscrapers and miles of concrete streets and avenues. As part of the transformation and build-out of the Hudson River Park, the Gansevoort Peninsula, a 5.5-acre site, will be transformed into a green oasis for New Yorkers by 2023.
The area will include sports facilities, green spaces, and a resilient rocky beach that will provide river access to kayakers. The grand plans also include boardwalks, a large sports field, dog run, adult fitness area, restrooms, and concessions. The northern end will include pedestrian promenades and a salt marsh. Likely the only area that might appear familiar to those that know the property is the FDNY Marine Company 1 which will keep its home at Pier 53.
Salt Marsh and Landscape Design
A unique feature for the Manhattan side of the Hudson River will be a salt marsh. The area will be landscaped with native grasses and plantings and will provide a valuable habitat. Visitors to the park will be educated about the environmental benefits of intertidal ecosystems. This ecosystem is unique in its ability to have thriving life in extreme conditions and wave-swept rocky shores. Plants and animals are able to thrive due to the availability of light, nutrients, and oxygen.
"To be able to create such a unique environment in Manhattan is a major achievement for the project team. Not just for its unique place in history, but the technical abilities required to make this vision a reality."
CAS Group’s Mark on the Project
CAS Group served as the Coastal Engineer for numerical modeling and support for design of revetments, artificial beaches, living shorelines, and kayak facilities as part of a multi-disciplinary consultant team to the Hudson River Park Trust.
Christopher Carr, P.E., lead the effort on behalf of CAS Group, stated, "To be able to create such a unique environment in Manhattan is a major achievement for the project team. Not just for its unique place in history, but the technical abilities required to make this vision a reality."
Part of what makes Manhattan special is the ability for art, culture, recreation, and nature to coexist. The Whitney Museum of American Art, in collaboration with Hudson River Park, developed a permanent public art project by artist David Hammons. The installation is located on the southern edge of Gansevoort Peninsula which happens to be conveniently located across from the museum.
Day’s End derives its inspiration and name from Gordon Matta-Clark’s 1975 artwork once located in the same location and is being donated to Hudson River Park by the Whitney.
An Interesting Tidbit
Residents and tourists alike know of the mix of numerical and named avenues of Manhattan. But few know that Manhattan had a Thirteenth Avenue that ran from Bloomfield Street on what is now the Gansevoort Peninsula north to 23 Street. As is common today, needing an expanded place for longer ships to dock, the area was excavated to make more room. Currently, a one-block stretch of Thirteenth Avenue remains on the Gansevoort Peninsula. It is being incorporated into the design for the Gansevoort Peninsula.
Part of our passion for the work that we do comes from being a part of the vision that becomes a reality. For this project in particular, the impact on New Yorkers and the total transformation of a site that was once the remnants of a historic landfill leftover from a reclamation project to extend Manhattan in the 1830s is truly remarkable.
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