NEW YORK—A waterfront park opened on Roosevelt Island on Wednesday, adding to the number of waterfront spaces in development throughout the city.
While Councilwoman Jessica Lappin announced the opening of Southpoint Park on Roosevelt Island on Tuesday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced an agreement to move forward with the construction of Brooklyn Bridge Park.
As Manhattan draws closer to its goal of completing an uninterrupted world-class waterfront, developments in Brooklyn and on Roosevelt Island are in line to catch up with the trend.
Southpoint Park lies south of the Goldwater Hospital Campus and the yet unfinished Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island. Southpoint Park features the ruins of the Renwick Smallpox Hospital, which is the only ruin in New York City listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Lappin joined members of the Roosevelt Island Development Corporation and the Trust for Public Land to mark the opening of the park. Lappin secured $4.5 million in city funds for the development of the 7.5-acre site.
“For years this space was literally fenced-off and only open one day a year. Now we have reclaimed it and given it back to the public,” stated Lappin in a press release.
Further south of the park lies the yet undeveloped Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park. The park was designed by Louis I. Kahn. Kahn died unexpectedly shortly after completing the design in 1974. The project was delayed due to financial trouble and resurrected in 2010. Once complete, the development will make Roosevelt Island’s west side a single uninterrupted waterfront path.
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced an agreement that would allow the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge Park to continue and ensure that a long-term revenue stream is in place for the park’s annual maintenance. The 85-acre, $360 million park, when completed, will stretch from Atlantic Avenue to Jay Street. To date, the city and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey have spent or committed $237 million to the project.
“Brooklyn Bridge Park is already a celebrated urban waterfront destination, and yet the park is only about one-quarter complete. This agreement means we can move forward with what we set out to do when the city took over control of these five long-vacant piers last year: transform all 85 acres into one of the world’s greatest waterfront parks,” Mayor Bloomberg stated in a press release.
The agreement was necessary for the construction to move forward. The park’s projected annual revenue draws on funds from future residential developments adjacent to the site. In 2010 the city created a board of appointees to investigate possible alternative sources of revenue. The new funding plan increases concessions and fees, while reducing the amount of planned housing.The park currently features numerous amenities, notably three playgrounds. The Pier 6 playground offers three sections: Swing Valley, The Water Lab, and Sandbox Village. Swing Valley sports a set of 10 swings, from tot-size to Tarzan rope. The Water Lab offers kids an opportunity to escape from the heat and interact with several moving water installations. The Sandbox Village is touted to be the largest sandbox in New York City. Four more playgrounds are planned for the park, when it is completed.