The Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) hosted a Public Scoping Meeting about its North/West Battery Park City Resiliency Project on November 16 at Stuyvesant High School (345 Chambers Street, near the corner of North End Avenue), from 5pm to 8pm.
The meeting was the fifth in a series of public sessions about the North/West Battery Park City Resiliency Project, which seeks to create a flood-risk management system beginning at a point near First Place and the Esplanade (in the neighborhood’s southern section), then proceeding along the Hudson River waterfront to the north side of Stuyvesant High School, before stretching into Tribeca, where it will terminate at a highpoint on Greenwich Street, north of Chambers Street.
For organizational purposes, the North/West Resiliency Project is divided into seven “reaches”—discrete stretches of waterfront and adjacent upland acreage. From an initial range of three broad sets of options, the BPCA has provisionally settled on a design that will leave Rockefeller Park largely intact, while (among other impacts) bringing significant change to River Terrace, the stretch of the esplanade behind Stuyvesant High School and North Cove Marina.
Reach One falls entirely outside of Battery Park City, enveloping part of Tribeca, along with the Borough of Manhattan Community College and the Hudson River Park, where the flood barrier system will be comprised of a combination of passive and deployable structures that “tie‐back” to higher ground at Greenwich Street. The final path of this alignment remains undecided—with routes along either North Moore Street or Chambers Street still under consideration.
Reach Two encompasses the north stretch of the esplanade behind Stuyvesant High School. In this section, a passive flood protection structure will be concealed within a terraced garden landscape, with a new platform built 12 feet higher than the current elevation and extending further into the adjacent water than the current configuration.
Reach Three (above) aims to protect Rockefeller Park and its waterfront esplanade, where the flood barrier will be comprised of a passive structure aligned furthest from the waterfront, and close to River Terrace. This approach calls for a passive structure with deployable systems at park entrances and pedestrian crossings, as well as wave attenuation measures within the existing park. Under this plan, the existing lawn in Rockefeller Park would remain mostly undisturbed and waterfront views would be preserved, although it will require some tree clearing and replacement along River Terrace.
Belvedere Plaza is encircled by Reach Four, between Vesey Street and the uptown side of North Cove Marina. In this area, a newly elevated platform with flood defense components integrated into the design will split the esplanade and adjacent plaza into two different levels. The playground and the surrounding area will be elevated, while the existing lily pond is demolished and replaced. (This plan also envisions temporarily relocating the ferry terminal roughly one block northward, but eventually bringing it back to the current location, near the foot of Vesey Street.)
Reach Five (below) envisions ways to harden North Cove Marina against catastrophic flooding, with protection provided by a passive structure integrated into terraced plantings inland from the waterfront. This will require both passive structure and deployable structures for access between upper and lower levels.
In Reach Six, upgrades to the southern stretch of the waterfront esplanade, between Liberty Street and Third Place, consist of a passive structure following the existing masonry privacy wall at the inland edge of the planting area of the Esplanade, furthest from the water’s edge. This approach calls for deployable structures at each intersection.
And Reach Seven covers South Cove, where a passive structure along the privacy walls adjacent to the residential buildings and courtyards will offer protections, along with deployable structures, for pedestrian access to buildings and intersections.
Tonight’s meeting is the first step in the legally required environmental review process for the North/West Resiliency Project. During the meeting (and through a broader public comment period to December 31), the BPCA will collect verbal and written comments from the public that will contribute to the evaluation of what the forthcoming Environmental Impact Statement should include.