REAL ESTATE

East Midtown Greenway opens, with nearly 3 acres of public open space on the waterfront

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Image courtesy of Skanska

New York City has taken a major step forward in its effort to expand the greenway network. The city’s Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and NYC Parks on Tuesday officially opened the East Midtown Greenway and the second phase of the Andrew Haswell Green Park, delivering nearly three acres of public open space, a new pedestrian walkway, a pedestrian bridge, landscaping, and a separated bike lane stretching from East 53rd Street to East 60th Street along the East River. The $197.6 million investment fills a significant gap in the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway.

Image courtesy of Skanska

“The newly unveiled East Midtown Greenway and second phase of Andrew Haswell Green Park stand as a testament to the power of community and interagency collaboration for urban development,” NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue said.

“From the innovative pedestrian walkway to the revitalized landscaping with an artistic touch at Andrew Haswell Green Park, these transformative projects continue to further the city’s efforts toward completing the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway.”

The greenway features a 20-foot-wide bikeway and a 20-foot-wide pedestrian zone with a walkway, a planting area, a pedestrian bridge on East 54th Street, and a public art installation created by artist Stacy Levy called “Diatom Lace.”

Andrew Haswell Green Park, which represents roughly $42.6 million of the total investment, includes renovations to the East 60th Street ramp, a new lawn, landscaping, lighting, and an amphitheater with seating, according to Patch.

Designed by Stantec and constructed by Skanska in collaboration with the city, the project expands the East River Esplanade by 1.1 miles. The design phase of the project began in 2017, and work broke ground in 2019.

Both projects are the result of extensive community outreach to members of Manhattan Community Boards 6 and 8 as well as local elected officials.

Image courtesy of NYCEDC

The opening of the East Midtown Greenway builds upon a larger initiative by the Adams administration to expand the city’s greenway network by 40 miles and bring the total length of greenway corridors to 60 miles. The corridor completes a gap in the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway, a continuous 32.5-mile loop around the borough that will connect a network of green spaces with more than 1,000 acres when completed.

“In Manhattan, green space is at a premium; if we have to get creative and add to the island to deliver it, that’s what we’ll do,” Deputy Mayor of Operations Meera Joshi said. 

“A crucial component of our broader Manhattan Waterfront Greenway, which piece by piece is delivering a 32.5 mile loop around Manhattan, the Midtown East Greenway and Andrew Haswell Park will welcome more New Yorkers than ever to bike, run and walk with the sun in their faces– and further develop our city’s work-play waterfront.”

In August, Mayor Eric Adams announced that the city had received a $7.25 million federal grant to be put towards the creation of five new greenway corridors in the outer boroughs that will fill in the existing gaps and better serve historically underserved, low-income neighborhoods.

NYC will begin conducting public outreach for its first outer-borough greenway project, the 16-mile Queens Waterfront Greenway, in early 2024. The project will connect Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City to Little Bay Park in College Point.

Other projects include the Harlem River Greenway in the Bronx, a seven-mile continuous walking and biking path that will link Randall’s Island and Van Cortlandt Park. The transformative project aims to reconnect Bronx residents to the Harlem River waterfront, which has been largely inaccessible since the construction of the Major Deegan Expressway in the 1930s. The city has already begun hosting workshops and pop-up engagements for the project.

The Harlem River Greenway will connect to another future project, the South Bronx Greenway, which will span 15 miles from Randall’s Island Park to SUNY Maritime in Fort Schuyler, further expanding Bronxites’ accessibility to waterfront space.

Additional projects include the Historic Brooklyn Greenway, stretching 11 miles from Coney Island to Highland Park, the Staten Island Greenway, spanning 10 miles from the Goethals Bridge to the Verrazzano Bridge, and the Southern Queens Greenway, running seven miles from Spring Creek Park on the Jamaica Bay shoreline to Brookville Park in Springfield Gardens.

Over the next two years, NYC will begin a new implementation plan for each proposed corridor every six months. The city will conduct extensive outreach with local community members where expansions are planned.

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