Brainstorming a New Vision for Midtown’s East River Waterfront

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The Municipal Art Society of New York, City Council member Dan Garodnick, and Manhattan’s Community Board 6 ran an intensive day-long workshop last Wednesday to develop a new vision for Midtown’s inaccessible East River waterfront. On Sunday, MAS unveiled some of the results. From the MAS press release:

"By realigning and lowering the 42nd Street exit ramp off FDR Drive, the architects hit upon the concept of elevating the people, not the traffic," said Frank E. Sanchis, III, MAS senior vice president. "They proposed a grand urban terrace above the FDR overlooking the river from 38th Street to 42nd Street. They also proposed a ‘forested hill’ surrounding a existing ventilation shaft at 42nd Street and proposed creating a glowing six-story ‘pylon’ which would anchor a ferry terminal, restaurant and vertical public space, and provide a means to descend to the river."

The charrette was organized because Manhattan has a rare opportunity to open up public access to Midtown’s East River waterfront, create a new park and complete a greenway connecting the Battery to Harlem. The state is planning to rebuild the midtown section of FDR Drive, the former Con Ed power plant site is being redeveloped, and the city is planning to facilitate the expansion of the United Nations campus and create an adjacent waterfront esplanade. The charrette explored how the projects could be planned together and result in an open waterfront from 34th Street to 63rd Street.

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