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City closing in on the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway

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Want to bike or walk Manhattan in its entirety in one fell swoop? It may become a reality some day soon if officials have their druthers.

What the United Nations Esplanade may look like upon completion of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway. (NYCEDC)

By Nikki M. Mascali, Metro

New York City is one of the most walkable cities in the world, but there’s been a decades-long dream that has yet to come to fruition: the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway, which would be a 32.5-mile continuous loop around the island.

A rendering of what the Esplanade Gardens-Harlem River Speedway from East 145th Street to East 163rd Street may look like when the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway is done. (NYCEDC)
“It’s a compelling vision that would expand park space along the forgotten edge of our city,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a report shared exclusively with Metro. “Imagine if you could go all the way around Manhattan on foot or on a bike and experience the island in its entirety.”

New Yorkers may not have to imagine but see for themselves in a few short years as the report from his administration, the NYC Economic Development Corporation and Departments of Transportation and Parks gave recommendations for completing the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway, which would link more than 1,000 acres of open space from Inwood to Battery Park via a $250 million investment.


Closing the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway gaps

To complete the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway, they city needs to “close the loop” as the greenway, which ends at East 61st Street, is currently 84 percent complete at 27.3 miles. The last gap to open was Riverside Park’s Riverwalk in 2010.

There are five areas with true gaps:
  • Inwood: Sherman Creek to Inwood Hill Park
  • Harlem River Greenway: East 125th Street to East 132nd Street
  • East Midtown Greenway: East 53rd Street to East 61st Street
  • Esplanade Gardens-Harlem River Speedway: East 145th Street to East 163rd Street
  • United Nations Esplanade: East 41st Street to East 53rd Street

Construction on some of these areas could get underway as soon as 2019, officials said. Enhancements range from separate biking and pedestrian paths to playgrounds and gathering, sports and fitness areas.


Upgrading the existing Manhattan Waterfront Greenway

Two existing portions of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway need “significant” upgrades, officials said. They include the East River Pinch Point from East 13th Street to East 15th Street and Fort Washington Park from West 181st Street to West 186th Street.

DOT’s Pinch Point proposal includes a bridge over the current narrow passage with ramps to nearby parks. Fort Washington Park’s revamp would create direct waterfront access from the George Washington Bridge to the greenway via a path over the Hudson River.

Upon completion, the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway will be a 32.5-mile loop around Manhattan, from Inwood to Battery Park. Seen here is a rendering for the Harlem River Geenway Link, which runs from East 125th Street–East 132nd Street (NYCEDC)

“Improving access to our city’s waterfront is a critical part of our work to strengthen neighborhoods and improve New Yorkers’ quality of life,” NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett said. “Our progress for our city’s vision will provide great public spaces for people to walk, jog or ride, and we're excited to help make this a more accessible and equitable city."

A rendering of the East Midtown Greenway portion of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway, which stretches from East 53rd Street to East 61st Street. (NYCEDC)


Visit nycedc.com to learn more.

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