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Projects & Proposals > Brooklyn > Greenpoint-Williamsburg Printer Friendly Version
Greenpoint-Williamsburg - Approved!
Waterfront Access - The Greenpoint-Williamsburg Waterfront Access Plan
Overview | Planning Framework | Upland Areas | Waterfront Access
Waterfront Development
| EIS | Timeline
Waterfront Access:
• The Greenpoint-Williamsburg Waterfront Access Plan

A Waterfront Access Plan (WAP) tailors the public access requirements of waterfront zoning to the specific conditions of a particular waterfront. A WAP can specify the locations of particular access elements, such as supplemental access areas, modifying or reducing public access requirements, but it cannot increase the total public access requirement on a given parcel.

The Department is proposing a WAP, which becomes part of the zoning text, in order to establish a coordinated framework for public access to the Greenpoint-Williamsburg waterfront in advance of development. The Greenpoint-Williamsburg WAP takes advantage of this opportunity to enlarge existing waterfront park spaces and to mandate connections to the neighborhood at important locations. In addition, proposed zoning text changes would allow the Greenpoint-Williamsburg WAP to combine public access requirements on parcels spanning multiple blocks, allowing several smaller spaces to be combined into a single, larger and more useful public access area, which is not possible under existing waterfront zoning regulations.

Together with existing waterfront parks and proposed new parkland, the Greenpoint-Williamsburg WAP would provide a mechanism for coordinated, site-by-site development of an interconnected public open space network. The elements of this open space network include:


PDF Document View a full size graphic.



Existing and proposed waterfront parks, including Newtown Barge Park, the former WNYC transmitter site at the end of Greenpoint Avenue, the planned state park on the Williamsburg waterfront between N. 7th and N. 9th Streets, and the planned street-end park at Manhattan Avenue. The open space plan also takes into account Grand Ferry Park, located outside the waterfront area proposed for rezoning.           Image of Grand Ferry Park - Brooklyn
Grand Ferry Park, Brooklyn

Mapped parkland including the proposed Olympic site. As part of the Greenpoint-Williamsburg rezoning, the waterfront blocks between N. 9th Street and the northern edge of Bushwick Inlet would be mapped as parkland. Together with the state park, the proposed mapped park would accommodate venues for Olympic events such as beach volleyball and archery, as identified within NYC2012's Olympic bid. (The city is actively opposing a proposed power plant at the southern edge of Bushwick Inlet.)

A continuous shore public walkway. The WAP envisions a continuous shore public walkway running from the end of Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint to the end of N. 3rd Street in Williamsburg. Subject to design standards, this path would generally trace the water’s edge, linking the larger open spaces along the East River. Within the standard, 40-foot-wide shore public walkway, various types of pedestrian paths can be built, buffered by planted areas. These spaces can include places for people to get down to the water’s edge.           Image of St. George - Staten Island
St. George, Staten Island
Public access to piers. Public access would be required on all piers, in accordance with the requirements of waterfront zoning.          
Image of Riverside South Park, Manhattan
Riverside South Park, Manhattan

Supplemental access areas. Where sites generate supplemental access requirements, the WAP applies them strategically to enlarge other waterfront open spaces. Supplemental access is mapped adjacent to parks (e.g., the former WNYC transmitter site), alongside shore public walkways, and at other locations where they provide important connections. For example, Newtown Barge Park could be enlarged by adding an adjacent two-acre city-owned parcel, extending the park to the water as far south as Dupont Street. Where supplemental access requirements widen the shore public walkway, features could include tot lots, landscaped sitting areas, or access points to the water.          
Image of Toronto Waterfront
Toronto Waterfront

Image of Hudson River Park, Manhattan

Hudson River Park, Manhattan

Upland connections.Public streets provide access to the shore public walkway at certain locations. In locations where access is not available via public street, the WAP requires upland connections to provide publicly accessible walkways connecting to upland streets. For instance, an upland connection is mandated at Green Street, creating an important east-west connection between a commercial corridor and a pier that would not be required without the WAP.

Visual corridors. Visual corridors, which require unobstructed views to the water, can be located within mapped streets or on private property. The WAP proposes visual corridors both in conjunction with upland connections (e.g., at Green Street), and at locations where upland connections cannot be mandated (e.g., at Oak Street), in order to extend views from the street grid to the water at every possible location.


Together, this combination of parks and publicly accessible open spaces would create an open space network comprising up to 49 acres on the Greenpoint-Williamsburg waterfront.

The Greenpoint-Williamsburg WAP identifies specific locations for required public access areas on private development parcels; establishes requirements for widened shore public walkways, parks, and plazas; allows flexibility for different shore treatments and quality landscape design, and establishes parameters for consistency of design along this waterfront. In a collaborative effort between the Department and the Community Board 1 Rezoning Task Force, the Task Force selected design elements for lighting, benches, and railings in waterfront public access areas. These selections are embodied in the WAP’s design guidelines.

Next >> Waterfront Development - Goals and Constraints

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