Bronx, New York
Size & Type of Project:
1.5 acres, Open Space - Park
Former Land Use:
Temperate Broadleaf and Mixed Forests
Restored Waterfront: Given the site's original, fully hardscaped condition, the most notable site feature is the reconstructed waterfront of intertidal and freshwater pools.
Material Reuse: The existing road, road bed, and sidewalks removed as part of the site demolition were crushed and reused on site as base material for the new hardscape, reducing the amount of material disposed of off site.
The innovative strategies undertaken for Hunts Point Landing were heavily influenced by advocacy efforts. One example of this advocacy involved the identification of the under used roadbed for conversion to a public open space and the subsequent demapping process. The project team fought to convince city agencies to accept the conversion of the roadway which required the relocation of multiple utilities. Had these utilities remained within the project site the required easements/offsets would have prevented the planting of any vegetation, other than lawn, for over 60% of the project area. This matter was further complicated by the parallel effort to obtain approval for the site runoff to be collected in the freshwater pool for treatment instead of being piped through the city system.
Strategies that were implemented due to the climate relate to site temperatures, regional conditions and weather patterns. The first strategy was to provide sufficient shade from shade trees and larger planting due to the openness of the site and the relatively harsh summers experienced in the New York City region. As a four season region, the project team sought to provide seasonal interest through planting selection. The project utilized the planting of evergreen trees for winter screening and habitat, flowering bulbs for spring interest, flowering trees and shrubs for summer shade and enjoyment and vegetation with a variety of fall colors and textures to promote use of the park year-round. As a coastal city, New York has regular storm activity which impacts the tidal wetlands. Wave attenuation boulders were included in the tidal marsh to prevent erosion caused by these storm events.
The most serendipitous material on site are the granite stones from the Willis Avenue Bridge, located three miles from the project site. The reconstruction of this bridge made available an extensive amount of historic granite that was used on site for the construction of the upland overlook and amphitheater. One of the stones was engraved to identify it as a reused local material.
The incorporation of the stainless steel mesh into the overlook railing provided a consistent, minimally obscured view out from the shoreline, while utilizing a material that will stand up to the harsh marine environment. For this reason, high grade stainless steel was also utilized for the pier railing, overlook railing, and decorative entry face for its strength, aesthetic, and resistance to salt and rust.
The ultra urban siting of Hunts Point Landing required a years-long series of approval processes, reviews and permitting. Approvals and permits were required from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, The New York State Department of Environmental Protection, the New York State Department of Transportation and the New York City Department of Transportation. Additionally, funding sources for this public project resulted in the requirement to meet Buy America provisions.
These requirements limited the project team's ability to pursue a series of SITES credits due the documentation and quantification processes requiring either cost breakdowns or the specification of proprietary materials due to limitations set forth by the public process and procurement rules.
Through the establishment of a versatile project team the major goals and objectives were able to be fully addressed throughout the design process. Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architecture served as the prime but were further assisted by a team that included marine engineers, structural engineers, ecologists, civil engineers, and graphic designers. This contingent shared a desire to establish a restored waterfront condition, public access, on-site treatment of stormwater, educational opportunities and the establishment of habitat.
The goals and objectives for this project were established during the master planning of the South Bronx Greenway. The focus of the plan is to provide links to public open space at the waterfront, which is almost fully lined by industrial uses, making the water inaccessible. Establishing connectivity for residents and local workers alike was a major consideration throughout the design process. Local workers at the distribution centers, food markets, scrap yards, and other industrial workplaces outnumber the local residents.
An additional goal was to further efforts to restore a natural shoreline and aquatic habitat to support native flora and fauna. The entire shoreline of the Hunts Point Peninsula has been altered by rip rap, sheet pile or bulkhead throughout the industrialization of the area. The conversion of the dead end roadway maximizes the use of the waterfront site by providing an active recreation destination via bicycle, walking, canoeing and kayaking. The future linkages to other greenway sites will further promote a more active lifestyle for local residents who currently have limited access to open space. Through the inclusion of the amphitheater for public gatherings, interpretive signage, wayfinding graphics, and storage space for community outreach programs, Hunts Point Landing also promotes educational uses of the site.
Several beneficial conditions have already been identified throughout the construction process. The site has been attracting the attention of local workers, residents, public service employees as well some unexpected visitors, including horseshoe crabs, clams, cats, and a number of bird species. The site is already being viewed as a respite from the adjacent bleak, industrial uses by the varied end users.
The design and layout of the fishing pier and the elevation of the Upland Overlook also provide great views out toward the East River and Long Island Sound that project beyond the site shoreline and allow for views from unique vantage points that are not achievable from other areas of the Peninsula.
Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects
Signe Nielsen, RLA, FASLA, Principal
Molly Bourne, RLA, ASLA, Senior Associate
Terrie Brightman, RLA, ASLA, Landscape Architect
Dewberry - Civil / Structural Engineering
John Miller, PE, PP, Senior Project Manager
Halcrow - Waterfront Engineering
Domenica Stasiak, PE, Structural Engineer
Kenneth Lew, Marine Engineer
HDR - Environmental Science and Engineering
John Roebig, PhD, RLA, Senior Professional Associate
Urban Engineers of New York
Oscar Bustos, PE, Resident Engineer
Galvin Brothers, Inc. - General Contractor
Brian Giordano, Superintendant
Jesse Herron, EIT, Project Manager
Russell Design - Signage and Graphics
Anthony Russell, President and Creative Director
Tricia Solsaa, Director of Environmental Graphics