abandoned industrial landscape transformed into new waterfront park in NYC

abandoned industrial landscape transformed into new waterfront park in NYC

new york has welcomed a waterfront park at hunter’s point south, a mixed-use development in long island city. the opening of the park, along with the completion of the site’s infrastructure and roadways, marks the realization of the project’s second phase. the milestone follows the completion of the larger park to the north, which first welcomed the public in 2013. the project was a collaboration between landscape architecture firm SWA/balsley and weiss/manfredi, with arup serving as prime consultant and infrastructure designer, as well as lead designer for the broader development project.

hunter's point south park
view of overlook, wetlands, and pedestrian paths
image © albert vecerka/esto, courtesy weiss/manfredi (also main image)



the design weaves together infrastructure, landscape, architecture, and art, and is located adjacent to new york city’s largest affordable housing development since the 1970s. the park transforms 11 acres of abandoned industrial land opposite manhattan into a welcoming public space. conceived as a new model of urban ecology and a prototype for innovative sustainable design, the scheme anticipates the inevitable flooding patterns and rising water levels of the east river with a resistant and flexible design.

hunter's point south park
aerial of the ‘peninsula’, with luminescence by nobuho nagasawa
image © SWA bill tatham, courtesy SWA/balsley



an ‘industrial peninsula’ has been sculpted to offer an island-like setting, where visitors cross a narrow bridge to discover a land art installation by artist nobuho nagasawa. titled ‘luminescence’, the work depicts the phases of the moon with glowing six-foot discs. to the south, the site’s paths unfurl into a promenade that leads to the ‘overlook’. this 30-foot-high cantilevered platform offers views of the manhattan skyline, while remaining intimately connected to the tidal marsh and trails below.

hunter's point south park
pathways lead through sculpted grasslands and a shaded picnic promontory
image © SWA bill tatham, courtesy SWA/balsley



pathways lead through sculpted grasslands and a shaded picnic promontory embedded with wooden ‘rafts’ for relaxing. beyond, three fitness terraces and a kayak launch connect the community to the water’s edge. ‘it’s a new kind of park,’ explains lead landscape architect tom balsley of SWA/balsley. ‘hunter’s point south is at once resilient infrastructure and contemplative retreat — a dynamic, living platform with extraordinary power to touch the daily lives of so many people.’

hunter's point south park
an aerial view of the waterfront part at hunter’s point south
image © SWA bill tatham, courtesy SWA/balsley



‘it is a great honor to work on a project like this for the people of new york and specifically for the hunter’s point neighborhood,’ adds 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.’

hunter's point south park
to the north, the first phase of the project involved the completion of a multi-use green oval
image © albert vecerka/esto, courtesy weiss/manfredi



‘for us, it has been a dream to be a part of a design team that is creating a waterfront park like no other,’ says 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.’

hunter's point south park
an aerial view of the development’s first phase
image © albert vecerka/esto, courtesy weiss/manfredi

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