It’s been a long time coming, but New York City has been steadily reclaiming its waterfront from an inaccessible, industrialized afterthought to a showplace of outdoor charm. This fall, think about getting outside and wandering around the newest additions, as well as enjoying some venerable emerald-green jewels.
1. Hunter’s Point South Waterfront Park
In 2013 the first phase of this park, located on the Queens side of the East River in the Long Island City neighborhood of Hunter’s Point, began to transform the 30-acre stretch of land. The design—coauthored by the firms Weiss/Manfredi and SWA/ Balsley, with Arup consulting on infrastructure—was a major upgrade from what used to be a rail exchange, adding landscaping and ballfields.
Then came phase two, which opened in early July. The finishing touches recall the site’s preindustrial history, returning one and a half acres to the original wetland state of the space. “For us, the dramatic topography and the irregular water’s edge create a park like no other, with the surprising proximity of recreation and retreat,” says architect Michael Manfredi.
A series of walkways leads up to a 30-foot-high cantilevered promenade offering million-dollar views. “Our personal favorite thing to do in the park is to be able to stand on the cantilevered overlook and watch the sun slowly dip down over the Manhattan skyline,” says architect Marion Weiss. “It’s magical.” You’ll also find a kayak launch, promontory green, and exercise terraces. Best of all: It’s sustainable and relatively hurricane-resistant. (Phase one was in construction during Hurricane Sandy.)
Following the riverfront down to Brooklyn, you’ll find another newcomer, which opened this summer: six-acre waterfront Domino Park, designed by architecture firm James Corner Field Operations (the creative force behind the High Line in Chelsea), on the site of the erstwhile Domino Sugar Refinery. There are playgrounds, a dog run, a taco stand called Tacocina by restaurateur Danny Meyer, bocce and volleyball courts, and salvaged industrial elements from the factory.
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