Peninsula plan sports big fi eld, rocky ‘beach’
BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
The Hudson River Park Trust and
its hired landscape architects presented
an updated design for the
planned park on Gansevoort Peninsula
last week, and it contains a regulation,
high-school-size soccer fi eld. But there
are still community concerns about the
treatment of the planned “beach” on
the peninsula’s southern edge.
Gansevoort — just across the highway
from the Meatpacking District in
the Village’s northwest corner — is the
last remnant of landfi ll along the Lower
West Side’s shoreline that once extended
out to a 13th Ave., before the rest of
it was cut back for larger ships.
The new design, by James Corner
Field Operations, includes the larger
fi eld — which was a request by local
youth leagues at previous meetings
and presentations — as well as a dog
run. But there is no storage for kayaks
and other small boats. Also, the longpromised
sandy beach is actually elevated,
with the area by the water fi lled
with a riprap of large boulders, which
waterfront park and boating activists
say makes it inaccessible to the river.
Access to the water is something that
Community Board 2 favors.
“This design is not friendly to getting
into the water,” said Dan Miller, the
board’s fi rst vice chairperson and also
of the Hudson
River Park Advisory
s h a r p - e d g e d
stones,” he said
of the riprap
area. “They are
But the idea is
to give people a
chance to access
the water — not
to swim, but to
put your feet in.
The riprap is
like anytime you
walk on jetty,”
he said of the potentially
A view of the park design on Gansevoort, with David
Hammons’s “Day’s End” sculpture added at right.
“I’m guessing the
trust doesn’t want the liability of people
swimming. But on a nice sunny day,
wouldn’t it be nice to put your feet in
Miller even speculated that the
Whitney and artist David Hammons
back the riprap, as opposed to a sandy
beach sloping down to the water, because
Hammons wants to recreate exactly
COURTESY JAMES CORNER FIELD OPERATIONS
the look of the former Pier 52 for
his “Day’s End” sculpture.
C.B. 2 is recommending that some
sort of bubble be added over the sports
fi eld in the winter to allow year-round
sports. The fi eld will be covered with
artifi cial turf, not grass, which Miller
said will drain better than grass.
Local youth soccer leagues are calling
not for an “air bubble,” but a clear
plastic dome to cover the fi eld. For
baseball, Miller said, Greenwich Village
Little League wants the backstop
switched to Gansevoort’s western side,
since home runs hit onto the highway
would be rarer than balls fouled back
over the backstop. The leagues are also
recommending retractable netting be
installed, so as not to spoil the park’s
aesthetics when there are not games.
C.B. 2 members on the Parks and
Waterfront Committee were generally
favorable to the latest design. The full
board will vote on Thurs., Sept. 19.
A Trust spokesperson assured that
the community likes the plan.
“We’ve worked hard to provide the
largest fi eld possible while also fulfi
lling other community hopes for
Gansevoort, such as a lawn and pine
grove for passive recreation, a beach,
habitat restoration and dog run,” he
said. “We’re pleased the plans were so
well received at the July and September
Community Board 2 meetings and
we’re looking forward to starting construction
on Gansevoort next year.”
As for suspicions that the design of
Gansevoort’s southern side is intended
to keep people out of the water or honor
Hammons’s artistic vision, the spokesperson,
well...threw water on them.
“None of that is even remotely a
correct interpretation of any aspect of
our design or design intent,” he said.
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10 September 19, 2019 TVG Schneps Media