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Press Release

NYCEDC and NYC Parks Release Public Proposal to Design Two New Waterfront Parks Along Harlem River

Feb 11 2019

Builds on de Blasio Administration’s Inwood NYC Plan to Deliver $200 Million in Investments to Enrich Inwood Community and Open Waterfront Access

NEW YORK, NY—New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), in partnership with NYC Parks, today released a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking a consultant to design two new waterfront parks at Academy Street and North Cove along the Harlem River. The new parks will provide public waterfront access and recreation for the Inwood community.

The RFP can be downloaded here.

The new waterfront parks are key components of the Inwood NYC comprehensive plan and rezoning, a neighborhood plan to strengthen affordable housing and deliver over $200 million in public investments to ensure Inwood remains an affordable, attractive neighborhood for working and immigrant families.

“Thanks to extensive planning over the years with Council Member Ydanis Rodríguez and community stakeholders, we are thrilled to move forward with delivering two new waterfront parks as part of the Inwood NYC plan. It’s part of a greater effort to improve quality of life and expand opportunities for Inwood residents,” said NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett.

"Releasing this RFP is an exciting milestone toward creating new open space along the Harlem River," said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. "By formalizing this informal open space at North Cove and transforming Academy Street into a malecón, we will advance longstanding community desires through the Inwood NYC Plan."

"We will soon join the many parts of New York City that enjoy convenient waterfront access. With the preservation and expansion of North Cove, and the expanded access created at Academy Street, Inwood will be able to enjoy the beauty of this Island, while preserving the migration path of many wildlife that visit New York City, as one of their many stops," said Council Member Ydanis Rodríguez. "Parks are not a luxury item, they are a part of a quality life. For too long this portion of my district has been missing the access it deserves. The creation and enhancement of these public spaces builds on many years of planning and community advocacy for public access to the Harlem River waterfront, which, aside from a few street end parks, is mostly closed off and inaccessible. We look forward to enjoying the beautiful waterfront and expanding our children's' understanding that they are on an island, surrounded by nature and wildlife. A simple look at Sherman Creek, will show what happens when we reclaim the land and allow nature its rightful access."

“I commend the New York City Economic Development Corporation on the two waterfront parks planned in Inwood and encourage all eligible consultants to submit design ideas and proposals through the RFP process to help improve waterfront access and provide new park amenities for Inwood residents, families and visitors,” said Congressman Adriano Espaillat (NY-13).

"More open space is always welcome-- and especially welcome here, across from the Dyckman Houses," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "This is yet another building block in the Manhattan Greenway around our island."

"Friends of Sherman Creek Conservancy Inc. Is very excited for the announcement of the Harlem River Waterfront Parks Design RFP to build the new waterfront parks at the North Cove and Academy Street at Sherman Creek,” said Obed Fulcar, Founder of Friends of Sherman Creek Conservancy Inc. "We wholeheartedly support this new phase of promised funding as part of the Inwood NYC comprehensive plan and Rezoning. When we submitted in 2008 to the DOT Plaza Program a proposal for a new pedestrian walkway at Academy Street at Sherman Creek, we never thought to actually see it come true in our lifetime. We are very thankful to NYCEDC for making this dream a reality."

"Inwood, a neighborhood surrounded on three sides by spectacular waterways, has too long been cut off from enjoying these assets," said Roland Lewis, President and CEO, Waterfront Alliance. "Working with councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, the Community Board and many other civic leaders, the City of New York’s plan for two new waterfront parks in this underserved neighbored will be a great boon for its citizens and the entire city.

"The Dominican Women's Development Center (DWDC) welcomes NYCEDC efforts to develop more waterfront parks for Inwood residents, “said Rosita Romero, Executive Director, Dominican Women’s Development Center. “Having more parks along the northern part of the Harlem River will improve the quality of life of all NYC residents by providing more areas to facilitate the spiritual uplifting experiences that come from looking at the river waters; as well as opportunities to relieve stress; exercise, conduct recreational and relaxing activities; and love, care for, and protect the environment."

“We are thrilled the Inwood community will enjoy waterfront access at well-designed new parks,” said Deborah Marton, Executive Director of New York Restoration Project. “At NYRP we’re committed to increasing the health and happiness of Inwood residents by ensuring that their open spaces are safe, beautiful, and connected.”

"The North Cove is an important community resource for the preservation of wildlife, including migratory and marine life,” said James Cataldi, Community Advocate. "As the new rezoning takes place, it is vital to preserve these open spaces so that our urban community continues to enjoy the reciprocal benefits of nurturing nature in northern Manhattan.”

The City has committed $41 million toward the development of a new, two-acre waterfront park at Academy Street between 10th Avenue and the Harlem River, known as the Sherman Creek Malécon. Park amenities could include picnic and barbecue areas, lawns and shaded seating, a bike path, and opportunities for water-based activities like fishing and kayaking. The project will also include a safer connection for pedestrians and cyclists to the parks and greenway to the south.

The North Cove, located just north of the University Heights Bridge, has for years been the site of a community-driven cleanup effort and wildlife habitat. The City will invest $9 million to restore the North Cove as a natural resource and transform areas currently used for parking into public open space.

These investments represent a major step toward completing the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway, the 32-mile walking and biking path that rings Manhattan Island and connects over 1,000 acres of open space. The de Blasio Administration has made historic investments to “close the loop,” committing more than $250 million to fill gaps in the Manhattan Greenway in neighborhoods like East Harlem and Inwood.

Once a designer is selected, NYCEDC and NYC Parks will work with the community to inform the design of the new parks beginning in late 2019. Completion of the parks is anticipated by the end of 2022.

This past summer, the City Council approved the Inwood NYC neighborhood plan. The rezoning concludes more than three years of community-driven planning efforts to create and protect affordable housing and promote economic opportunities for Inwood residents.

Highlights of the Inwood NYC plan include:

  • Repurposing underutilized, transit-accessible land along and east of 10th Avenue to better serve community needs and provide a responsible framework for growth
  • Creating an estimated 1,600 affordable homes through 100 percent affordable development projects on publicly owned sites and by applying the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing Program
  • Rebuilding and renovating existing parks, including the transformation of Monsignor Kett Playground into an intergenerational park and destination
  • Investing $50 million in local school infrastructure and expanded programming in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)Creating a state-of-the-art Inwood Library with a new Pre-K for All facility, a youth STEM education center focused on robotics, and a cultural and job training center, along with 175 new, deeply affordable homes
  • Improving streets to make them safer and more attractive for pedestrians and cyclists, and upgrading sewer infrastructure

NYCEDC will host an information session on February 19, 2019, and proposals are due on March 14, 2019. Questions regarding this RFP should be directed to [email protected].

New York City Economic Development Corporation creates shared prosperity across New York City’s five boroughs by strengthening neighborhoods and creating good jobs. NYCEDC works with and for communities to provide them with the resources they need to thrive, and we invest in projects that increase sustainability, support job growth, develop talent, and spark innovation to strengthen the City’s competitive advantage. To learn more about our work and initiatives, please visit us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.