Reclaiming the waterfront along the East River

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Location: East River, New York City, USA
Type: Urban Design
Status: Finished
Team members: Rasmus Frisk, Jeanette Frisk


Today the city is disconnected with its waterfront by a monstrously intrusive road. We what to change that by connecting the city and its inhabitants to the waterfront. We can do this by making clear physical and visual connections between the city and the water.
As we see it, there are two ways of doing that; either we conduct a major road diet that would allow people to get safer access to the waterfront, or we simply cover it up and put a lid on it.

Creating a new tunnel on the ground level, a whole new stretch of buildings on each side, as well as developing a new people’s park on the top, we can cap the mass and mess of functional traffic under our Lid. Suddenly it is possible to make a good waterfront connection by putting people first, whilst also creating a new mixed use waterfront space with commercial activities at the ground floor and residential on top. This creates many new entries to the park, the city and the waterfront, which will result in natural surveillance and public safety 24 / 7 / 365 and, of course, a truly vibrant waterfront.

The new continuous waterfront promenade is then placed on stilts above the water which provides a varied edge with several areas of physical access to the water. This connects new city destinations and diverse spacial experiences with water related activities. To mention some of these; there are the all year around Ski hill, a Skater area, a houseboat area, a River Aquarium and Fish market, Urban Sea farming, a new Urban beach with a flip function for ice skating in the winter, a river tree forest on the water, a Floating stage for performance art and concerts, a Harbour bath, a Water gym and a Water laboratory.


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