An old abandoned industrial site, located along the shores of New York’s East River in Long Island City, now sports new play and recreation spaces, picnic areas, and a promenade walk with viewing platform, forming a thriving community and newly revitalised public space.
The new waterfront park was developed in Hunter’s Point South alongside the opening of the site’s new infrastructure and roads. The development signifies the project’s second phase, which followed the launch of a larger park adjacent to the site in 2013. The project is a collaboration between SWA/Balsley and Weiss/Manfredi.
The design combines unique components of New York by interlacing a combination of infrastructure, landscape, architecture and art, and is located next to the area’s largest affordable housing development. The location is significant as it allows for an underused area to feature some key public green and communal spaces.
Utilising 11 acres of abandoned industrial land, the area has been transformed into an open public domain that includes a central green, playgrounds, fitness equipment, a dog run, a bikeway, a waterside promenade, picnic spaces, a basketball court, an outlook platform and a large pavilion, which holds comfort stations, concessions and a café plaza. The project has acted as a neo model for urban ecology and sustainable design, by predicting future flooding and rising water levels to create a sturdy, durable and flexible space.
The industrial peninsula was moulded to create an island setting where visitors can traverse a bridge to a land art installation created by Nobuho Nagasawa. The “luminescence” installation depicts moon cycles with a selection of glowing discs and acts as a significant landmark for the space. The site’s path then splits to create a promenade that leads to an overlook, which offers spectacular views of Manhattan and the waterline below. The paths then lead to beautiful green picnic spaces.
“It is a great honour to work on a project like this for the people of New York and specifically for the Hunter’s Point neighbourhood,” said Arup Principal Tom Kennedy. “Reforming disused areas of our densely populated city is an incredibly important part of our social responsibility as designers in New York and the new Hunter’s Point development provided the perfect opportunity to allow people to explore and enjoy the city’s waterfront.”
“For us it has been a dream to be a part of a design team that is creating a waterfront park like no other,” added 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.”