On The (East River) Waterfront: New Waterfront Park Opens in FiDi

East River Waterfront view in New York CityAnyone who has ever lived in Manhattan and entertained guests who do not live in Manhattan has been there. You’re on Wall Street, showing your family where the Dutch once built their defenses that gave the street its name. Tourists crowd in, snapping photos of one another and begging you to do the same. You haven’t had caffeine yet today and your head is thumping like a drum. You need to grab some fresh air and recoup because you’ve promised to take your family to a nice place on the Upper East Side for dinner, but you’re out of luck because you’ve got no access to the water unless you walk to the Battery, which is clogged with the same types of tourists who’ve driven you to near-madness in the first place.

Now, we bring you news of freedom: the East River Waterfront opened its first leg on Monday -- that's a rendering above -- and it's exactly what those suffering Financial District fatigue needed. The East River Waterfront as presently constituted is fairly modest: a two-block greenspace running between Maiden Lane and Wall Street, featuring 4,000-foot dog run, benches with a view of the Brooklyn Bridge and Downtown Brooklyn, and steps leading down to the banks of the East River. As impressive as the East River Waterfront is now, though, it's only the first step in opening the neglected East River waterfront -- and that's good news indeed for those living in or hoping to buy Financial District condominiums.

The East Side of Lower Manhattan has long been criticized for a lack of access to the waterfront, but with the opening of the park, residents of the Financial District can now spend their free time taking in the sea breeze, dogwalking, and admiring the fine views. For residents at luxury condominiums like 75 Wall Street, Be@William, and Deco Lofts, for example, the new park is a bonus amenity free of charge, one opening up available recreation space dramatically. Green space in Manhattan is, as any NYC resident already knows, is at a premium, which means that access to it is always a positive. But a park in this location and of this quality is a true treasure. Though any downtown luxury condo is desirable, the addition of such valuable green space maximizes the area’s potential and makes anyone condo-hunting in Manhattan think twice about where to look.

The East River Waterfront will eventually run beyond the Manhattan Bridge, so Lower East Side residents can get in on the fun, too. The next completed project will be the two-story Pier 15.