At New Construction Manhattan, we’re huge fans of the High Line, but it’s great to hear that it might have a little competition on the East River. The two-mile-long East River Waterfront Esplanade that runs from the Battery Maritime Building to Montgomery Street opened on July 14 and is quickly becoming a hit. The park has features similar to the High Line, but they are in no way the same. While the High Line is a raised park, the Esplanade is located underneath FDR Drive, providing shady spots on hot summer days.
The Esplanade provides a beautiful place for people to sit and enjoy the views of the East River and neighboring Brooklyn. The developers of the Esplanade were mindful of the area’s history as a shipping hub and designed benches and barstools to look like old shipping crates. These benches are scattered along the two-mile esplanade, and the barstools are set up along wooden railings that provide a place for visitors to set books or laptops and work. There is also a “look-out” with a set of stairs offering views of Brooklyn at water level.
Arguably one of the best features of the East River Waterfront Esplanade is the vegetation. In Manhattan, it’s rare to catch a glimpse of trees or flowers, and the Esplanade offers a wide variety of both. From canopy trees to wild flowers, a stroll along the East River will have you thinking that you’re not in Manhattan anymore. The Esplanade also has a park and playground for kids to enjoy while parents relax and enjoy views of the East River. Kids aren’t the only ones playing at the Esplanade, though. There is a dog park with features such as a large concrete bone and an over-sized squirrel. The dog park also has a climbing bridge, sand pit, splash pad and doghouse.
The Esplanade certainly enhances the quality of life in the Lower East Side and provides a colorful front yard for luxury buildings along the waterfront such as Be@William condos and Deco Lofts apartments. The Esplanade is only Phase I of a three part plan to utilize New York City’s wasted waterfront. The plan is to create a 32-mile long route around the entire island of Manhattan, which will certainly beautify the waterfront and most likely bring new construction to the waterfront areas. Phases II and III of the plan are expected to be completed by 2013, and we’re looking forward to it.