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Thursday, December 20, 2007

A plan for Governors Island begins to take shape

governors-island.jpg
Rendering: West 8, Rogers Marvel Architects, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Quennell Rothschild and SMWM

"Governors Island will be at the center of this new era of waterfront recreation for New York City"
MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG

urban designMayor Michael Bloomberg and Governor Elliot Spitzer announced the selection of Dutch firm West 8 to lead the effort in the redevelopment of Governors Island into what may become one of the largest and most exciting public spaces in the nation. West 8 heads a team comprised of renowned architectural firms; Rogers Marvel Architects, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Quennell Rothschild and SMWM. The Mayors office described the project; "Together, this area comprises 90 acres of parkland that will provide unique outdoor recreational activities for New Yorkers. The Great Promenade and forty-acre park will provide places to relax, play sports and explore, all with an incredible view of the Statue of Liberty. The plan will create a 40 acre green space with a new plantings and rolling hills recycled from the demolition of existing structures formerly used by the military on the island.

In the island's National Historic District, old forts, homes and green space, dating back to 1810 would be preserved and integrated into the public park. City officials cited this as being the first step in the commercial redevelopment of the island and have set aside almost half of the island, hoping to attract development by academic and cultural institutions. The project is estimated at a cost of about $400 million and is projected to be completed in 2012. Roughly about the same time as the World Trade Center memorial site is to be completed, and just about a half mile away in the harbor. They are studying the feasibility of a gondola/tramway type of transportation system to connect lower Manhattan with the new park. Exciting stuff which promises to give residents of the Financial District, Tribeca, South Street Seaport and indeed all of New York City, an amazing new backyard.

related links:
Park plan is chosen for Governors Island (New York Times)
A landscape's isolation is turned into a virtue (New York Times)
Mayor's Office press release (NYC.gov)
West 8 Urban Planning & Landscape Architecture