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Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects’ Pier 42 plan in New York set to move ahead

Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects’ plan for Pier 42, the missing connection in the ring of parks that encircle lower Manhattan, is set to move ahead, with the first phase is scheduled for completion in 2016, the New York-based firm said on Thursday.

The eight-acre, $92 million project, located between Montgomery and Jackson Streets on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, will fill the gap between the East River Promenade and East River Park. The firm’s plan, which received approval from a Community Board 3 sub-committee in early December and conceptual approval from the Public Design Commission of the City of New York in early January, is now before all of Community Board 3 for final authorisation.

The design and construction of Pier 42 intends to increase public access to the waterfront, provide safe continuity of the bikeway, and create an inviting and active water’s edge that employs a variety of state-of-the art resiliency strategies. The approved plan will provide spacious lawns, a playground, waterfront marshes, an educational estuarine park, a green space for riverfront lounging, and a potential docking station for kayaks and small boats.

The enormous shed on the site will be removed save for two structural bays which will be transformed into an open air pavilion under which will be a concession building and shaded plaza.

“We believe Pier 42 is a poster-child for responsible waterfront design that reinstates natural protective measures which benefit the neighbourhood and future park users,” said Principal-in-Charge Signe Nielsen.

Responding to the devastation of Hurricane Sandy and the city’s ongoing dedication to resilient design, all aspects of the project are designed to be flood-resistant and environmentally restorative. The design goal is to provide protection from future floods to institutions, critical utilities, and housing along one of the city’s densest and most vulnerable corridors.

A continuous berm (or ledge) will be constructed along the Franklin D. Roosevelt East River Drive to mitigate its noise and to protect the inland from flooding. The entire bulkhead will be dismantled to form marshes and wetlands, and the pier will be selectively cut away to create protected oyster habitat. All site stormwater will be captured in bioswales and cleansed before its discharge into the East River, eventually restoring the ecosystem between the Brooklyn Bridge and East 38th Street, ensuring the return of native waterfowl and marine life.

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