New York City: A City of Water

New York City has 520 miles of waterfront—that’s longer than Miami, Boston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco combined! The Department of City Planning is engaged in a range of initiatives and programs to improve the waterfront and its resiliency. This includes the Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, the Waterfront Revitalization Program, Resilient Neighborhoods, and Flood Resiliency Zoning.

5/20 Waterfront Walks

To celebrate the waterfront, the Department of City Planning has partnered with other agencies and organizations to host a series of free, public waterfront walks across all five boroughs, all happening on Sunday, May 20th (5/20). The goal of 5/20 is to highlight the diversity of NYC’s 520 mile waterfront, while engaging with community members to discuss its history and plans for the future. While each walk has its own lens of exploration, the overall themes of the event is how each of these waterfront spaces contribute to creating a more active, accessible, and resilient waterfront.

If you have any questions please contact us at nyc520@planning.nyc.gov.

2018 Waterfront Walks

Parks, esplanades, kayak launches, and other publicly-accessible spaces on the waterfront provide opportunities for recreation, sight-seeing, events and other activities that allow visitors and residents alike to experience New York City as a waterfront city. New public and private investments, as well as effective waterfront zoning regulations, have succeeded in making a significant amount of the waterfront available for public use. As part of celebrating New York City’s waterfront on 5/20, the Department of City Planning has created this interactive map to identify and provide information about the city’s inventory of publicly-accessible waterfront spaces.

Broad Channel: Zoning for Resiliency
Sunday May 20th 1:00 pm
Meeting location: West 12th Road and Cross Bay Boulevard

Join the Department of City Planning, the Housing Recovery Office, and the Department of Parks and Recreation as we discuss rebuilding from Hurricane Sandy and how building design, zoning, and green infrastructure plays a role in building resiliency to future storms and climate change.


Amphibious Gowanus
Sunday May 20th 10:00 am
Meeting location: Gowanus Dredgers Boathouse at 165 2nd Street (Sponge Park)

Come explore the industrial past and the sustainable and resilient future of the Gowanus Canal with the Department of City Planning, SCAPE Landscape Architecture, and the Gowanus Canal Conservancy and the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club. Start with a free guided tour of the canal on canoes hosted by the Dredgers with focus on shoreline ecology, then continue on foot to learn about integrative approaches to enhancing waterfront access, managing flood risks, and addressing water quality.


Randall’s Island/ Port Morris
Sunday May 20th 11:00 am
Meeting Location: Base of 103rd Street Footbridge, Randall's Island

Join the Department of City Planning, the Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Randall’s Island Park Alliance as we explore the waterfront and shoreline of Randall's Island. Learn about the history of the Island and its incredible transformation over the past century. Walk through gardens, salt marshes, and other natural habitats to discuss climate resiliency and the changing uses of our waterfront. The tour will end at the Randall's Island Connector to the Bronx, which links the waterfront neighborhood of Port Morris to the Island. 


Long Island City/Roosevelt Island
Sunday May 20th 12:45pm
Meeting Location: Hallett's Cove Ferry Dock

As a part of the annual May 20th (5/20) celebration of NYC's 520 miles of waterfront, the APA NY Metro Chapter Waterfront Committee, and the Department of City Planning is hosting a 3 hour walking tour from the Hallett's Cove peninsula to the tip of Roosevelt Island.

Walking approximately 3 miles, the route will explore and educate participants on a variety of NYC shoreline conditions. From one of the original privately owned public waterfront access areas along the Costco parking lot to the brand new waterfront infrastructure of the NYC Ferry. Also visited and to be discussed along the way will be City Parks kayak launches, the Socrates Sculpture Garden, the new Cornell Tech Campus, and the tour will finish at the FDR Four Freedoms State Park on the southern tip of Roosevelt Island. View the route and key stops.


Harding Park
Sunday May 20th 1:00 pm
Meeting Location:  Gildersleeve Avenue and Harding Park Avenue

Explore the convergence of the East River, Bronx River, and Westchester Creek at Harding Park with the Department of City Planning, the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Natural Areas Conservancy. Learn about ongoing strategies to restore the marshlands of Soundview and Pugsley Creek Park, and how this will increase climate resilience.


Staten Island North Shore
Sunday May 20th 12:00 pm
Meeting location: St. George Ferry Terminal (in front of the SUBWAY sandwich shop)

Join the Department of City Planning for a two-mile walk from the St. George ferry terminal to Snug Harbor, the borough’s cultural hub. This trek will cover the span of the North Shore’s historic maritime industrial history, its rise as a transit and government hub, the current waterfront developments in construction, and planning efforts for an improved mass transit network, which include proposals for a Bus Rapid Transit line and North Shore pedestrian greenway. Participants have the option of enjoying the rest of the afternoon at Snug Harbor’s museums, galleries or gardens and/or walking/catching an MTA bus back to the ferry terminal on their own.


Brooklyn Bridge Park
Sunday May 20th 11:00 am
Meeting Location: Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy Environmental Education Center

Join the Department of City Planning and the Waterfront Alliance on a tour of the Waterfront Edge Design Guidelines (WEDG) Certified Brooklyn Bridge Park. On this two hour tour, we’ll explore the resilience, ecology, and access features of the park as we walk from Empire Stores down to Pier 6. Key stops along the way include tidal marshes at Pier 1, beaches and kayak launches for visitors to get in and on the river, and native, resilient plants providing diverse habitat for urban fauna. We’ll also discover the invisible underpinnings of resilient design – things we can’t see – like repurposed materials from city wide projects, a stormwater management system, and under-water habitat.


Williamsburg/Greenpoint Waterfront
Sunday May 20th 1:00 pm
Meeting Location: South Williamsburg Ferry

Join the Department of City Planning, Department of Parks and Recreation, Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park, Domino Park, and Neighbors Allied for Good Growth as we explore the ever-shifting necklace of transforming parcels, from industry to an array of public spaces that makes up the Williamsburg-Greenpoint waterfront. This walk will introduce the range of waterfront parks and promenades generated through the 2005 rezoning and development of the Domino sugar factory site. Public spaces to be discussed will include: Schaefer's Landing, Domino Park, Transmitter Park, North 5th Street Park and Pier, and Bushwick Inlet Park.

Previous Years

PDF Document 2017 5/20 Waterfront Walks