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PR- 469-07
December 19, 2007


Design team led by acclaimed firm West 8 will plan a destination park and Great Promenade for New York City and the region

New Chair named for the Governors Island Preservation and Education Commission

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Governor Eliot Spitzer today announced the selection of internationally renowned design firms West 8 / Rogers Marvel Architects / Diller Scofidio + Renfro / Quennell Rothschild / SMWM to design Governors Island's future open space, including a new park and promenade. The team was one of five finalists chosen last January by the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation (GIPEC) for a competition to plan three new open spaces on the Island: a two mile Great Promenade along the water's edge; a new major park located on the southern half of the Island; and an improved park design within the northern Historic District.

Together, this area comprises 90 acres of parkland that will provide unique outdoor recreational activities for New Yorkers. The Great Promenade and forty-acre park will provide places to relax, play sports and explore, all with an incredible view of the Statue of Liberty. In the National Historic District, visitors can continue to enjoy acres of green space that include buildings and homes dating from 1810.

The Mayor and Governor also announced the nomination of Avi Schick as the new Chair for GIPEC. Schick is currently the Downstate Chief Executive Officer and President of the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) and Chairman of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC).

"New York is re-embracing the waterfront for the first time in more than a century," said Mayor Bloomberg. "This park on Governors Island will be at the center of this new era of waterfront recreation for New York City, and will complement the City's other great parks and recreation spaces. I am pleased that West 8's first major commission in the United States will be in the country's greatest city - New York."

"Governors Island provides us with a unique opportunity to develop extraordinary parkland that will benefit the City, its residents and visitors," said Governor Spitzer. "The selection of the design team allows us to begin restoring this historic national treasure and add the Island to the extensive state and city park system. I congratulate the design team and look forward to working with the City of New York and our partners on the future plans for the park and promenade."

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, whose district includes Governors Island, said: "The design of a new park and promenade is an important step toward creating an extraordinary recreational resource on Governors Island for the people of lower Manhattan and all New Yorkers. This will help us realize our goal of creating more open space in an otherwise crowded city."

Congressman Jerrold Nadler, whose Congressional district includes Governors Island, said: "I fought for many years to have the island's historic sites protected as National Monuments and have the island returned to its rightful owner, New York. Today is truly another important day in the history of this extraordinary island, and I congratulate Governor Spitzer and Mayor Bloomberg for selecting the West 8 team to lead the design of the open spaces for the public to enjoy."

Lieutenant Governor David Paterson said: "Governors Island, before being reserved for military use for 200 years, was the landing place of the Dutch settlers and the birthplace of New York. Now, thanks to the vision of Governor Eliot Spitzer and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New Yorkers can rediscover Governors Island, taking in its rich past while looking towards its bright future."

The West 8 team's competition entry highlighted the Island's unique characteristics and harbor location, and incorporated environmental sustainability. It featured new hills created from recycled materials, and free bicycles for visitors. The team imagined visitors riding free bicycles at the water's edge or climbing new hills to experience panoramic views of New York Harbor. Their ideas for the Historic District included restoring its landscapes and enlivening them with targeted improvements such as seating and new walkways which respect this island's historic character.

Dan Doctoroff, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding and Chairman of GIPEC said: "West 8's design approach and extensive experience in creating great civic spaces will help create a park for the 21st century. Their idea to recycle materials from demolished buildings is an innovative solution that will re-use building materials, keep tons of additional materials out of landfills, and create a sustainable park for New York."

Avi Schick, Downstate Chief Executive Officer and President of ESDC, Chairman of LMDC and incoming Chairman of GIPEC said: "The development of Governors Island will allow us to create a world class park and open space that will be a destination for all those living and visiting Lower Manhattan. Together with the ongoing revitalization efforts in Lower Manhattan, this will ensure that downtown is a world class neighborhood with unsurpassed parks and open space."

Leslie Koch, President of GIPEC said: "The design competition's goal was to select an outstanding team, not a scheme. We look forward to now beginning the process of working with West 8, the public, and others to design these new spaces for future generations of New Yorkers to enjoy."

Carol Ash, New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner said: "Serving as a member of the Park Design Competition Jury was both instructive and exciting as all teams provided fresh and inspiring visions for public park usage on Governor's Island. The choice of West 8 will bring to this unique location a tremendous team that will transform the south end of the Island to a state of the art public space that will be enjoyed and treasured for generations."
West 8 is an internationally acclaimed landscape architecture firm and its leader, Adriaan Geuze, is one of the foremost landscape architects and urban designers in the world. This team was one of 29 who initially responded to the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) last year. Other members of the team include Rogers Marvel Architects, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Quennell Rothschild, and SMWM. Rogers Marvel's projects include the Studio Museum in Harlem and streetscapes for the New York Stock Exchange. Diller Scofidio + Renfro is a firm which recently completed the expansion of Lincoln Center, and is working on the High Line in New York City. Quennell Rothschild will contribute their landscape expertise from projects such as the Hudson River Park Master Plan, and finally, SMWM, a design and planning firm known for their urban waterfront design work in New York City and San Francisco, will also work on the design team.

Adriaan Geuze, Principal, West 8 said: "We are proud to have been chosen to design new parkland and open space in New York. These spaces will be places where New Yorkers and others will experience a completely new set of captivating and unique recreational, cultural and educational opportunities."

To solicit public input and responses on the finalists' entries, GIPEC sponsored a design competition exhibit entitled "The Park at the Center of the World: Five Visions for Governors Island." The exhibit was held at the American Institute of Architects in Manhattan, on Governors Island, and on the web. Public input was solicited at the exhibits as well as on the web. A distinguished jury of government officials and design professionals reviewed the proposals, interviewed the teams, listened to public input, and ultimately recommended the winning team.

The Jury selecting the winning team consisted of: Carol Ash, Commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; Adrian Benepe, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation; Leslie Koch, President, Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation; Reed Kroloff, Director of the Cranbrook Academy of Art and Art Museum in Detroit; Karen Brooks Hopkins, President, Brooklyn Academy of Music; Laurie Olin, Principal, Olin Partnership; Gregg Pasquarelli, Co-Founder, SHoP Architects; Joseph Rose, Partner, The Georgetown Company.

Moving forward, GIPEC will work with the West 8 team, advocates, community leaders and groups, and the public, to design the new park and open spaces on the Island.
The Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation (GIPEC) is responsible for the planning, redevelopment and ongoing operations for 150 acres of Governors Island. The National Park Service owns and operates an additional 22 acres of the island. A partnership of New York City and New York State, GIPEC seeks to bring Governors Island back to life, making this island at the center of New York Harbor a destination with great public open space, as well as future education, not for profit and commercial facilities. For more information please visit


Stu Loeser / John Gallagher   (212) 788-2958

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