Manhattan Is Getting a Beach — But You Won’t Want to Swim There

Feb 6, 2019

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Every summer, New Yorkers flee the city’s oppressive heat and head to the Hamptons, Coney Island or the Rockaways. But in three years, the isle of Manhattan will have a beach of its very own.

The Hudson River Park Trust has announced that it intends to turn the disused strip of the Gansevoort Peninsula at the southern end of the High Line into a 5.5-acre public park complete with a beach. Manhattan once had a well-used 13th Avenue, but today only a one-block stretch of it remains on the Gansevoort Peninsula. The Trust intends to preserve that last existing block for public use.

According to a statement released by the Trust, the section of park on the Gansevoort Peninsula will be “the largest single green space in the four-mile-long Hudson River Park and last remaining public-park pier (or peninsula) to be designed and constructed in the 550-acre park” when it opens in 2022 as part of a $990 million investment toward the completion of the park.

Fittingly, the Trust has hired James Corner Field Operations — the firm behind the High Line and Domino Park in Williamsburg — to revamp the site. The rocky shoreline will give people direct access to the Hudson River and provide a barrier against flooding and storm surge.

Photo by Max Guliani. Courtesy of Hudson River Park Trust.

“Along Hudson River Park’s four miles, we’ve been able to showcase some of the best landscape architects in the field,” Madelyn Wils, president and CEO of the Hudson River Park Trust, said in the statement. “I’m pleased that the exceptional design firm, James Corner Field Operations, will join the ranks of the talented teams that have helped make Hudson River Park one of the great waterfront parks in the country.”

The plan fits with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s OneNYC plan and Climate Resiliency Design Guidelines, which were announced in 2017 to address the effects of climate change and storms such as Hurricane Sandy.

And what, exactly, can visitors expect? There will be plenty of recreation space, in addition to a public art installation created by David Hammonds and commissioned by the nearby Whitney Museum. If this portion of the waterfront is anything like Domino Park, it’ll be a popular spot for both locals and visitors, with areas to lounge, play and picnic.

We don’t recommend wading into the water, though. The Citizens’ Water Quality Testing Program routinely finds unacceptably high levels of fecal matter in samples taken along the Hudson River.

Maybe just stick to sunbathing instead.

Featured photo by Shutterstock.

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