Blueprint to Reconnect More New Yorkers and Visitors to the Water as Part of Ongoing Effort to Reclaim New York City’s Standing as a Premier Waterfront City
Includes 130 Funded Projects to Be Completed over the Next Three Years and “Vision 2020” Framework to Chart a Sustainable Course for the Waterfront over the Next Decade and Beyond
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn today unveiled a sustainable blueprint for New York City’s waterfront and waterways. To reconnect New Yorkers and visitors to the water and reclaim New York City’s standing as a premier waterfront city, the Waterfront Vision and Enhancement Strategy will transform the City’s waterfront with new parks, new industrial activities and new housing, and it will capitalize on the City’s waterways to promote water-borne transportation, recreation, maritime activity and natural habitats. The plan has two components: a three-year action agenda comprised of 130 funded projects, including the development of more than 50 acres of new waterfront parks, creation of 14 new waterfront esplanades and introduction of new commuter ferry service; and the Vision 2020: New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, a framework for the City’s 520 miles of shoreline for the next decade and beyond. The 130 action agenda projects are expected to create 13,000 construction jobs and at least 3,400 permanent maritime and industrial jobs. It is the first citywide plan for the waterfront in nearly two decades and the first ever comprehensive plan for the waterways themselves. The Mayor and Speaker were joined for the announcement at Brooklyn Bridge Park by Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel, City Planning Commissioner Amanda M. Burden, New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth Pinsky, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez, Council Member Michael Nelson, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Region 2 Natural Resources Supervisor Steve Zahn, and Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance President Roland Lewis.
“New York City has more miles of waterfront than Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, and Portland combined – but for decades, too many neighborhoods have been blocked off from it,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “We have made huge strides in re-connecting communities to the waterfront, and now we launching an ambitious plan that ties those projects together into what will be one of the most sweeping transformations of any urban waterfront in the world. We will build new parks, esplanades and housing, reactivate job-creating industrial activity, introduce ferry service, clean the water, and make it easier to paddle and sail around the five boroughs. Our waterfront and waterways – what we are calling New York City’s sixth borough – are invaluable assets, and when our work is complete, New York City will again be known as one of the world’s premier waterfront cities.”
“The greatness of New York City grew directly from our connection to our water,” said Council Speaker Quinn. “But at some point in our history, we both literally and figuratively turned our back on the waterfront. Now we’ve made a decision to more fully embrace the waterfront, in a way that’s both thoughtful and strategic. That’s why in 2008 the Council passed legislation requiring that the Mayor create a waterfront plan every ten years. And the great thing about this plan is that it doesn’t just include recreation and open space, but also focuses on transportation and sustainability, as well as ideas to help preserve and grow the 13,000 maritime jobs in the five boroughs.”
Accompanied by maps, charts and illustrations, the 190-page waterfront plan – led by the Department of City Planning – presents specific strategies for improvements for each of the City’s 22 Reaches – a nautical term for a stretch of waterfront – covering 520 miles of shoreline that borders rivers, the Atlantic Ocean, inlets and bays, as well as active port areas, residential neighborhoods, wetlands and public open space. It was developed after a year-long public process that engaged New Yorkers throughout the five boroughs and yielded recommendations for every stretch of New York City’s waterfront, as well as for the waterways themselves. It builds on the City’s recent success opening up to the public miles of shoreline that had been inaccessible for decades, and supporting expansion of the maritime industry.
As required by City Council legislation, the waterfront plan was submitted to the City Council, Public Advocate, Borough Presidents and 59 Community Boards. The full plan and more information can be found at www.nyc.gov/waves, where progress on waterfront initiatives will be tracked on an ongoing basis in keeping with the City’s mandate for transparency and accountability. The Plan was prepared in partnership with State and Federal agencies, including the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Army Corps of Engineers. Much of the planning work was made possible with a grant from the New York Department of State through the Environmental Protection Fund.
Rachaele Raynoff/Jovana Rizzo (DCP) (212) 720-3471
Stu Loeser/Andrew Brent (Mayor) (212) 788-2958
Jamie McShane/Nicole Kolinsky (Council) (212) 788-7116
David Lombino/Julie Wood (NYCEDC) (212) 312-3523