Bloomberg Opens First Section of New East River Waterfront Esplanade


(c) 2011 New York City Mayor's Office

During a public ceremony in July, New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and other elected officials opened the first section of the new East River Waterfront Esplanade just south of the South Street Seaport in Lower Manhattan.

The project’s first phase – from Wall Street to Maiden Lane – is part of a larger $165 million project to revitalize a two-mile stretch of city-owned land along the water’s edge from the tip of Lower Manhattan to East River Park north of the Manhattan Bridge.

Upon completion of the larger project in 2013, the two-mile esplanade will provide an adjorning pedestrian walkway and a bicycle pathway along the East River from Battery Park to East River Park.

When fully completed, the two-mile esplanade will extend the green space around Manhattan’s waterfront that includes Riverside Park, Hudson River Park on the West Side, Battery Park at Lower Manhattan’s tip, and East River Park on the East Side.

The new esplanade, which is open to the public from 6 a.m. to midnight, is donned with plantings and trees comprised of native coastal species. The entire structure is unified by a purple girder underneath the FDR Drive that will be illuminated at night and visible over the esplanade and across the river.

Placed seating elements evocative of the area’s maritime past will let visitors of today enjoy the water view. Visitors can step up on elevated bar stool seating to sit next to the railing, which can also double as a tabletop, and look out over the water toward Brooklyn. Chaise lounges, game tables, planter walls and waterside benches are also stationed.

Other amenities provide a unique perspective such as the “Look-Out,” a series of stadium-like steps leading to the water for unobstructed views at the foot of Wall Street. Canine visitors can spend time at a new state-of-the-art dog park featuring a climbing bridge, sand pit, splash pad and dog house.

Joining the esplanade is the City’s new East River Ferry Service, also unveiled in June. The service will provide year-round ferry transportation between East 34th Street and Pier 11 in Manhattan, Long Island City in Queens, and Greenpoint, North Williamsburg, South Williamsburg and DUMBO in Brooklyn.
The esplanade is part of the Waterfront Vision and Enhancement Strategy, a sustainable blueprint plan for the city’s waterfront and waterways.

In a media release, Bloomberg explained that the esplanade was one of the goals in the waterfront plan to give residents, visitors and office workers in Lower Manhattan access to the city’s more than 500 miles of waterfront.

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