3 Big Public Projects Underway in NYC’s Chelsea and FiDi Area

Blueprint image of what the future Hudson Yard's Culture Shed is supposed to look like, after its completed in NYC

Constant change is the core character trait of this great city of ours, and it’s been that way ever since the Dutch ran things in the 1600s. Seriously: dive into any era in NYC’s history and you can easily find angry rants and hang-wringing pieces about the loss of x because of the construction of y, and just as many articles and speeches bursting with civic pride about the new new NEW thing that will change everyone’s lives forever.

The city’s had a terrific track record of late with big public projects, from the continuing development of Brooklyn Bridge Park and Governors Island to the dozens of new pedestrian plazas popping up everywhere and, for those of us who are fans, the Citi Bike bike-share program. Anyway, recently word came down on three projects which, if initial plans and renderings pan out, will be good news for all of us, and particularly those Glenwood residents in both the Chelsea area and the Financial District.

An image of what the NYC major public project, East River Esplanade's phase 2 will look like after its done.

Phase Two of the East River Esplanade

On the East River’s downtown waterfront, renderings for the second phase of the so-far great East River Esplanade were revealed by SHoP Architects and landscapers Ken Smith Workshop in July. It looks like more of the same (which is good), plus some cool new features (also good). This two-block stretch of the Esplanade will run between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, and will include glider swings hanging from the FDR, “fishing get-out” docks jutting over the water, an elevated area with exercise equipment, and bleacher-like seating for even better views of Brooklyn. Completion of Phase 2 is expected in the spring of 2015.

A rendering of what the East River Blueway plan for the Brooklyn Bridge Beach will look like, with sandy covered beach line, kayak and canoe launches, and more.

The Ambitious Blueway Plan

Also on the banks of the East River: the ambitious Blueway Plan took a big step toward becoming a realty when the City Council granted $8 million in public funds to the creation of, among other things, the Brooklyn Bridge Beach. Yup, where now there are only slimy rocks and the broken posts of some long-demolished pier, soon will be an actual sandy beach fit for laying out and catching some rays. Salt marsh planters and wetlands, which will help protect the neighborhood from flooding, are also being landscaped and installed. And just up the river a ways in Stuyvesant Cove a planned kayak and canoe launch will give you yet another way to enjoy the waterfront.

Rendering of what the Hudson Yard's Culture Shed movie nights will look like. With a huge projected screen off the side of the building and seating for New York City residents to sit and enjoy.

The Hudson Yard’s Culture Shed

Finally, the massive Hudson Yards project in the far West Side continues on full-steam ahead, and before you know it an all-new NYC neighborhood with thousands of apartments and more office space than the entire city of Baltimore (really!) will be move-in ready over there in the 30’s between 10th and 11th Avenues. Since I don’t plan on moving to or working in the area, most intriguing to me about all this has always been the completion of the third phase of the High Line and the potentially great Culture Shed, which will include several performance spaces as well as hosting big-time events like Fashion Week. Last week the city gave a staggering $50 million to the still-vague “arts hub”, which sparked more than a little controversy, given that Dan Doctoroff, the CEO of the Mayor’s Bloomberg LP, is also the Culture Shed’s chairman of the board. We’ll see how this plays out, but for now, the Culture Shed looks like a done deal.

Posted in NYC Events | Tagged