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Manhattan -- the urban center of New York -- is known for Wall Street, Times Square, and Central Park. And while may soon be known for its beach, as well, it won’t be known for swimming.

In 2019, the Hudson River Park Trust announced plans to transform part of Manhattan’s Gansevoort Peninsula into a 5.5-acre public park -- which will be the largest greenspace in the Hudson River Park. Plans called for it to even have direct waterfront access for the public.

The Hudson River Park Trust has now announced (PDF) that construction on the $70 million project is scheduled to begin this spring. The park is expected to open in two years.

Aerial rendering of the upcoming beach at Gansevoort Peninsula.
Claire Holmes (Risa Heller Communications)

A Welcome Oasis

Located between Gansevoort Street and Little West 12th Street in Hudson River Park, Gansevoort Peninsula had formerly been used by the New York City Department of Sanitation for truck parking. The city removed that facility in 2018, providing the space for the park.

The new park area will feature a large sports field, a salt marsh, a dog run, and an area with picnic tables and lounge chairs. A sandy beach will offer direct waterfront access to the Hudson River, while a rocky shoreline will act as a barrier to protect against flooding and storms.

The Hudson River Park Trust points out that the beach will offer kayak access to the Hudson River, but not swimming. That probably doesn’t come as a surprise, because “the Citizens Water Quality Testing Program routinely finds ‘unacceptable’ levels of fecal bacteria in the water off the West Side,” a New York Post article reported when the plan was first announced.

“Gansevoort Peninsula will be a spectacular public space for all New Yorkers, whether they’re enjoying Manhattan’s first public beach, playing on the ballfields, or looking out in the salt marsh,” said Madelyn Wils, president and CEO of the Hudson River Park Trust. “As Hudson River Park moves closer to completion, we are excited to be in position to start construction.”

More Than Outdoor Activities

Interestingly, on the southern end of the peninsula, Hudson River Park Trust is working with the neighboring Whitney Museum of American Art to install a permanent public art project, as well. Day’s End by David Hammons will be one of the country’s largest public art projects, according to the Whitney Museum of American Art. Hammon’s Day’s End was inspired by Gordon Matta-Clark’s 1975 artwork of the same name.

“Matta-Clark cut five openings into the Pier 52 shed that formerly occupied the site,” Whitney Museum of American Art explains. “Hammons’s artwork will be an open structure that precisely follows the outlines, dimensions, and location of the original shed -- and like Matta-Clark’s work, it will offer an extraordinary place to experience the waterfront. Affixed to the shore on the south edge of Gansevoort Peninsula, the structure will extend over the water, employing the thinnest possible support system.”

More information about the Gansevoort Peninsula can be found here.

The Whitney Museum of American Art is now open again. Information about exhibits, hours, and safety guidelines can be found here.

If you’re heading to New York City but want to avoid the crowds, our own Richard Nahem has you covered.

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