Architecture Cruise Spotlights Post-Sandy Planning on the High Seas

By Mathew Katz on March 21, 2013 9:52am 

CHELSEA — New York's waterfront is under pressure — and a local cruise company wants you to see it firsthand.

Classic Harbor Line has once again teamed up with the American Institute of Architects for their Around Manhattan Boat tours, which highlight the island's unique architecture.

But after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, the tour will focus on more than just beautiful buildings by looking at the competing demands on the city's waterfront only months after much of it flooded during the superstorm.

"Pressure Along The Edge: The Future of NYC's Waterfront," is a nautical speaker series featuring experts on the city's coastlines, charting the impact of rising sea levels on real estate, infrastructure, and business along the water post-Sandy.

"It's always been one of the major themes of our tour — how City Planning is attempting to address rising sea levels, how to allow development but mitigate against storm surge, and how to also encourage more ecologically driven planning," said Arthur Platt, an architect and guide on the boat tours.

The cruises run on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, as well as Friday mornings throughout the spring and summer, offering both the regular architecture tour and the Sandy-focused Featured Guide series on a 1920s-style luxury yacht.

At nearly three hours, the tour covers roughly 32 miles and launches from Pier 62 at Chelsea Piers.

The series will include talks and tours by Catherine Seavitt, landscape architect and associate professor at CUNY, and Kate Ascher, author of "The Works: Anatomy of a City."

The tours will also highlight examples of ecologically driven design that are already in place, such as Brooklyn Bridge Park and Swindler's Cove, along with more sustainable ways to protect the city's ports and seaside industry.

"Even though that industry and port activity is removed from what most tourists see, New York is the third-largest container port in America," Platt said.

"We'll talk about that — how shipping and the wealth in the area has to address both the changing climate and the economy."

Tickets for the cruise are available online for $76 and include complimentary beer, wine, champagne and light snacks.

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