The Greenpoint-Williamsburg Waterfront Access
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
a full size graphic.
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.
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.)
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.
access to piers. Public access would be required
on all piers, in accordance with the requirements
of waterfront zoning.
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.
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.
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
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.