East River Esplanade

Manhattan's Pier 17 Makeover is Full Speed Ahead…Sort Of

Ever since Hurricane Sandy carved up Manhattan's East River Esplanade, South Street Seaport has looked much less like the bustling town center it was constructed to be when it opened in 1983. The New Market Building that housed the Fulton Fish market suffered irreparable devastation. Plans for necessary renovation commenced immediately after the 2012 superstorm.

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A Much Needed Makeover for the East River Waterfront

In spite of Seth Pinsky, the NYC EDC’s president, announcing his departure, development of the East River Waterfront Esplanade continues without hitch. Architects have re-submitted updated schematics of a final plan for the project to Community Board 3 for review, and a completion date has been set for Spring 2015. The community board has until late August to make any recommendations for change, but the current incarnation of the final design plan is available online for public consumption (“PKG #4”).

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Makeover Contest Sparks Interest in the Redevelopment of the Esplanade

Right now, the East River Esplanade is 60 blocks of potholed concrete between the FDR Drive and the East River, but imagine this space with gondolas, kayaking areas, and boardwalks that stretch out into water. These ideas were brought about by CIVITAS, a New York City action group that sponsored a contest to redesign the detiorating Upper East Side passageway. Drawing in 90 entries from 25 different countries, the designs encompass numerous futuristic plans to transform the pathway.

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Examining Some Exciting Ideas For the East River Esplanade

“Reimagining the Waterfront.” That was the title of Civitas’ design competition to redesign Manhattan’s East River Esplanade, and the three winners of their contest did just that. Three young architects responded to the challenge by conceiving inland canals on Manhattan’s cross-streets, below-water ecosystems, and interlocking webs of boardwalks along the waterfront that would completely transform the lives of residents of East Harlem and Upper East Side apartments forever. Sound farfetched? These futuristic ideas might be hard to imagine, but they could be done. And given that we have a Mayor who loves innovations that raise property values of Manhattan condos and attract tourists, it’s certainly not outside the realm of possibility that these renderings will one day become a reality.

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