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Design Firm Chosen for East River 'Blueway' Project

By Mary Johnson | March 22, 2012 9:35am

MANHATTAN — Plans to build a greenway along the East River have captured much public and political attention in recent months. But a complementary proposal for an “East River Blueway," which officials first floated two years ago, is now gaining momentum.

WXY Architecture + Urban Design has been chosen as the lead designer for the project, which would create more opportunities for direct water access along the East River between the Brooklyn Bridge and East 38th Street.

A website detailing the project has also been launched, and a public forum is set for April 9 for residents of Community Board 6, which covers the area from East 59th to East 14th street, and Lexington Avenue to the East River.

"Our goal is to really bring the East River — the edge of the East River, what it looks like and feels like and what it does — into this century," Claire Weisz, founding principal of WXY, said in a video promoting the new Blueway project. "You see a lot of hard edges, and you don’t see many places to get on and off a boat or to touch the water, and there’s so much potential to do that."

The Blueway concept was launched through a partnership between Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, the New York State Division of Coastal Resources, Community Boards 3 and 6 and the Lower East Side Ecology Center.  

The intention is to add points along the East River where people can access the water for boating or other recreational activities. Other potential amenities include a floating swimming pool and an eco-dock, Stringer said in a video promoting the project.

The website will also provide an opportunity for residents to register concerns and propose ideas for the Blueway.

"For too long, the East River has been the forgotten river," Stringer said in the video. "This project will create a comprehensive plan for recreational activities and environmental education."

The public forum for residents of Community Board 6 is scheduled to be held April 9, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Baruch College.