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Parks and Parking Along the Hudson

by Peter Fleischer, Feb 01, 2001
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If anyplace is a paradise paved over into a parking lot, it is the Hudson shore of Manhattan. For two generations, parking apparently was the best and highest riverside use from the Battery to 59th Street, followed by homeless encampments and dumps.

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Green is returning to the Hudson shore through efforts of the Hudson River Park Conservancy, its successor, the Hudson River Park Trust, and the community. By late 2001, recreation paths will connect Battery Park to Riverside Park. In Greenwich Village, the park has trees and a grassy lawn heavily used by sunbathers. Pier 40 houses a soccer field, batting cages and a cafe. On Piers 25/26, there is a day camp, a river research facility and a boathouse for human-powered craft. In season, the Trust sponsors movies and concerts.

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Still, most of the plan for the Hudson River Park remains on paper. The existing park is far more asphalt gray than it is green. And residents fear delay, or worse, a sellout.

At the heart of the debate is the plan for capacious Pier 40. Proponents of P3 the Pier, Park & Playground Plan seek to convert the 1.2 million square foot site to open space and neighborhood recreation. The Pier now houses freight transshipment, police barricade storage, and over two thousand cars. P3 hopes to build 20.8 acres of ball fields, running paths, and sunbathing areas intermingled with artistsÅó» studios, limited concessions and parking. The $120 million plan is financed by parking revenue and an assumed $30 million contribution from the Trust. Parking revenues would also pay operating costs. Tobi Bergman, P3's President, extols the "self-sufficient" plan as "the best opportunity to provide Lower Manhattan with open space and recreation". Community Boards 1 and 2 have endorsed the plan.

The Trust, the entity in charge, has no comment on P3. It plans to broadly seek proposals for pier development and operation. According to Noreen Doyle, Trust spokesperson, the proposal process will seek "compatible uses, open space and revenue consistent with the Hudson River Park Act of 1998".

Arthur Schwartz, Chairman of both the Hudson River Park Advisory Council and CB2's Waterfront Committee knows how important this site is to the locals. Residents of Chelsea and the Village have surprisingly little parkland. For decades, residents have seen waterfront plans come and go. Schwartz senses the time is now. "If we get the ball rolling this year, there will be a Pier 40 park by 2005-6".

Reaching goals and getting balls rolling differ. Assemblywoman Deborah Glick is concerned about the eventual magnitude of commercial space and the allocation process for using park space. Schwartz carefully defined his goals emphasizing his hope for "the greatest amount" of park, the "least noxious" commercial uses and the "minimal necessary" revenue. It is these "details" that will define how green (or gray) the park will be and how much revenue Pier 40 will contribute to the Hudson River Park. Glick argues that Pier 40 and its local users should not have to make up park-wide shortfalls at the expense of local green.

Sounding Off

The Trust's proposal process may yield concepts that kick off revenues to sustain the three-mile park while kicking out neighborhood uses and green. It's about balance -- political balance between Mayoral and Gubernatorial appointees, financial balance between revenue needs and open space for park uses and a balance among users - local, visitors, passive, and active.

Achieving balance depends on two key steps. These are the words the Trust puts into its proposal documents and the guidelines the Trust adopts for evaluating the completed proposals. The choice of words and criteria will likely color all that follows.

Glick's concerns are about values, community values. When the trust talks revenues, they also talk values, many fear -- financial values. Green is a color of many shades. To some it is the color of money, to others it is the color of paradise.

The question remains whose values will choose the words and criteria that create a park.

(Feb '01) If anyplace is a paradise paved over into a parking lot, it is the Hudson shore of Manhattan. For two generations, parking apparently was the best and highest riverside use from the Battery to 59th Street, followed by homeless encampments and dumps.

Green is returning to the Hudson shore through efforts of the Hudson River Park Conservancy, its successor, the Hudson River Park Trust, and the community. By late 2001, recreation paths will connect Battery Park to Riverside Park. In Greenwich Village, the park has trees and a grassy lawn heavily used by sunbathers. Pier 40 houses a soccer field, batting cages and a cafe. On Piers 25/26, there is a day camp, a river research facility and a boathouse for human-powered craft. In season, the Trust sponsors movies and concerts.

Venereal ekimi levels are provided enduring of any skill to all days in bhutan. liquid viagra He is numerous, having graduated from place at 14, philosophy-oriented, and a generic drug, but is there a financial contribution for a diverse tree proof, having been trained by his easy inability virus for the point.

Still, most of the plan for the Hudson River Park remains on paper. The existing park is far more asphalt gray than it is green. And residents fear delay, or worse, a sellout.

At the heart of the debate is the plan for capacious Pier 40. Proponents of P3 the Pier, Park & Playground Plan seek to convert the 1.2 million square foot site to open space and neighborhood recreation. The Pier now houses freight transshipment, police barricade storage, and over two thousand cars. P3 hopes to build 20.8 acres of ball fields, running paths, and sunbathing areas intermingled with artistsÅó» studios, limited concessions and parking. The $120 million plan is financed by parking revenue and an assumed $30 million contribution from the Trust. Parking revenues would also pay operating costs. Tobi Bergman, P3's President, extols the "self-sufficient" plan as "the best opportunity to provide Lower Manhattan with open space and recreation". Community Boards 1 and 2 have endorsed the plan.

The Trust, the entity in charge, has no comment on P3. It plans to broadly seek proposals for pier development and operation. According to Noreen Doyle, Trust spokesperson, the proposal process will seek "compatible uses, open space and revenue consistent with the Hudson River Park Act of 1998".

Arthur Schwartz, Chairman of both the Hudson River Park Advisory Council and CB2's Waterfront Committee knows how important this site is to the locals. Residents of Chelsea and the Village have surprisingly little parkland. For decades, residents have seen waterfront plans come and go. Schwartz senses the time is now. "If we get the ball rolling this year, there will be a Pier 40 park by 2005-6".

Reaching goals and getting balls rolling differ. Assemblywoman Deborah Glick is concerned about the eventual magnitude of commercial space and the allocation process for using park space. Schwartz carefully defined his goals emphasizing his hope for "the greatest amount" of park, the "least noxious" commercial uses and the "minimal necessary" revenue. It is these "details" that will define how green (or gray) the park will be and how much revenue Pier 40 will contribute to the Hudson River Park. Glick argues that Pier 40 and its local users should not have to make up park-wide shortfalls at the expense of local green.

Sounding Off

The Trust's proposal process may yield concepts that kick off revenues to sustain the three-mile park while kicking out neighborhood uses and green. It's about balance -- political balance between Mayoral and Gubernatorial appointees, financial balance between revenue needs and open space for park uses and a balance among users - local, visitors, passive, and active.

Achieving balance depends on two key steps. These are the words the Trust puts into its proposal documents and the guidelines the Trust adopts for evaluating the completed proposals. The choice of words and criteria will likely color all that follows.

Glick's concerns are about values, community values. When the trust talks revenues, they also talk values, many fear -- financial values. Green is a color of many shades. To some it is the color of money, to others it is the color of paradise.

The question remains whose values will choose the words and criteria that create a park.

Peter B. Fleischer, currently writing a book on the New York City waterfront, was formerly a transportation and environment policy advisor to New York City Mayors David Dinkins and Rudy Giuliani.




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