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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 currently engaged in developing the next Comprehensive Waterfront Plan; published every ten years, the plan serves as a guide for the development of our City’s waterfront over the next decade.
What do you want NYC’s Waterfront to look like in 2030? Tell us!
We want to hear your ideas for the future of NYC’s Waterfront- join us at one of our upcoming events, and help shape our Waterfront!
To launch the next Comprehensive Waterfront Plan process, our NYC520 events were not limited to 5/20, but were the week of 5/17 - 5/25! Hundreds of people experienced diverse waterfronts across all 5 boroughs, from kayaking off the sandy beaches on the South Shore of Staten Island, to experiencing a cutting-edge waterfront recycling facility in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. On Governors Island, we reimagined public access on the island, and how it could be complemented by maritime infrastructure and increased boat traffic. On Randall’s Island we saw how a progressively designed ‘living shoreline’ can be used to increase coastal resiliency with green infrastructure, while promoting biodiversity, and helping us to move away from more conventional shoreline designs. We were also lucky enough to experience the North Shore of Staten Island on kayaks, as well as on foot, exploring the vibrant history and present of the maritime industry, while also stopping to appreciate some newer additions to the community, such as a ‘maker-space’. It was also an incredible way to better understand and experience the diversity of waterfront activities that exist side-by-side in NYC. Hunts Point Riverside Park, and Concrete Plant Park, are also great examples of how waterfront public spaces, and even human powered boating activities can be incorporated in neighborhoods which also have active industrial waterfronts. In Red Hook, Brooklyn, we gained great insights on the challenges and opportunities for increasing coastal resiliency in this truly mixed-use waterfront community. 520 is also celebrated by the horseshoe crab community, as it typically marks their annual mating and migration season, seeing these creatures cluster on the beach at low tide, and learning about the threats they face, it is a great reminder of the incredible biodiversity we have in NYC, but also the importance of protecting both infrastructure and sensitive ecosystems in the context of climate change.
In 2018, we highlighted some incredible improvements in waterfront connectivity, such as the Randalls Island Connector, an at-grade pedestrian and bike friendly bridge that connects Port Morris in the Bronx, to Randalls Island! For more island-hopping fun, there was also a tour from Long Island City, Queens, Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island, which explored waterfront public access and other shoreline conditions along the way. We also went from Williamsburg to Greenpoint, utilizing the NYC Ferry to highlight new waterfront developments. We also had our first Amphibious Gowanus tour, where participants explored the community on canoes, as well as on foot. We also explored various ways of increasing coastal resiliency, from highlighting zoning tools in Broad Channel, Queens, to marsh restorations in Harding Park, the Bronx. On the North Shore of Staten Island, there was plenty to discuss, from proposed mass transit improvements, to maritime industry, and the beautiful gardens of Snug Harbor.
We started our annual celebration of NYC’s 520 miles of shoreline in 2017, to highlight the incredible diversity of the waterfront, and engage with others who are interested in learning, exploring, and thinking about how to make it even better. From the Bronx River, to Conference House Park on the South Shore of Staten Island, we met with dozens of people across all 5 boroughs, to discuss a wide variety of waterfront conditions.