Press Releases

For Immediate Release
May 17, 2022

Rebecca Weintraub, Joe Marvilli - (212) 720-3471

DCP Announces Walking Tours and Band Performance to Celebrate 520 Miles of Waterfront

Centered around May 20, these free events will connect New Yorkers with their shared shoreline

Bronx River Forest - the location of a walking tour on 5/20. Photo by Bronx River Alliance
Bronx River Forest - the location of a walking tour on 5/20. Photo by Bronx River Alliance

NEW YORK – Department of City Planning (DCP) Director Dan Garodnick today announced a series of free events for May to celebrate New York City’s 520 miles of waterfront and the NYC Comprehensive Waterfront Plan released late last year, including nature walks along the Bronx River and a brass band performance near the South Street Seaport. These activities, several of them scheduled for Friday, May 20, will help New Yorkers connect with the past, present, and future of the city's shoreline.

“New York City’s 520 miles of waterfront is a source of enjoyment, employment, commuting, conservation, and more. It is truly one of the quintessential aspects that make New York, New York. There’s no better time to commemorate our shoreline, and the Comprehensive Waterfront Plan we put together to keep it going strong, than the spring days of May when we truly see it at its best. We hope you’ll join us at one of these many great events to appreciate all our waterfront has to offer,” said DCP Director Dan Garodnick.

“New York Harbor is cleaner and healthier today than it has been since the Civil War so there is no better time to celebrate our 520 miles of shoreline,” said Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Rohit T. Aggarwala.

“The waterbodies that surround the five boroughs are an intrinsic part of the fabric of our city, and with this week’s walking tours and performances, there's no better time to explore our 520 miles of shoreline,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue. “From navigating the fish ladder in the Bronx, to exploring the oyster reef in Soundview Park, there's so much to see and do this week at one of our partner events with the Department of City Planning, and I encourage all New Yorkers to come out and celebrate our iconic shorelines!”

“NYCEDC is focused on protecting and increasing access to our shorelines,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Andrew Kimball. “We are proud to have NYC Ferry partner with DCP and others to bring the public closer to our waterfront neighborhoods and celebrate 520 miles of waterfront.”

DCP’s celebration of the city’s 520-mile-long shoreline, which is longer than those of Miami, Boston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco combined, began in 2017. This year, for the first time, we’ve extended our celebration to the full month of May to note the release of the latest edition of the Comprehensive Waterfront Plan. It will culminate on the calendar’s fifth month and 20th day – 5/20 – to highlight our waterfront’s incredible diversity and engage with those who are interested in learning, exploring, and thinking about how to make it even better.

After going remote for 2020 and 2021, this year marks a return to in-person events with two self-guided tours you can go on all month long and several tours and showcases taking place exclusively on May 20.

DCP has coordinated these events with our sister agencies and community partners, including DEP, NYC Parks, New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), which runs NYC Ferry, Billion Oyster Project, the Bronx River Alliance, Culture Push, and Works on Water.

Photos and renderings of the locations for these events are available here.

The two self-guided tours for May are:

  • NYC 520 Waterfront Journey with NYC Ferry – This experience will lead you on up to 10 unique adventures along NYC Ferry routes. Take in the great views from the Ferry, visit waterfront neighborhoods, learn about our waterfront’s history, and more. Each photo posted from any of the 10 adventures provides a chance to win great prizes provided by NYC Ferry. The more adventures you visit, the more chances to win. One winner will get Skyline Drive-In tickets, and another will get lessons from Manhattan Kayak. Both winners will also receive two 30-day Ferry passes. Check out @NYCFerry or @NYCWaterfront on Instagram to learn more.
  • Newtown Creek Nature Walk – This Greenpoint, Brooklyn event takes New Yorkers along Newtown Creek and Whale Creek between Brooklyn and Queens. Richly planted with native trees, shrubs, and other flora, the walk traverses a previously inaccessible industrial shoreline now remade for public use as a waterfront promenade. Learn more with DEP’s educational brochure or take a virtual tour with artist George Trakas.

The events set for May 20 are:

  • Celebrating the Waterfront Performance – Head down to Pier 16/17 at 5:20 pm and enjoy a performance by Demolition Brass Band of songs related to each theme of our Comprehensive Waterfront Plan: climate resiliency and adaptation, public access, economic opportunity, water quality/natural resources, ferries, and governance.
  • Take a Walk on the Re-Wild Side! Part 1: Tour Soundview Oyster Reef – Explore this recently-installed oyster reef at the mouth of the Bronx River in Soundview Park, part of efforts by NYC Parks, Billion Oyster Project, and other partners to expand oyster reef habitats citywide.
  • Take a Walk on the Re-Wild Side! Part 2: Tour the Bronx River Garden 180th Street Fish Ladder – Join NYC Parks on this tour of the Fish Ladder, constructed in 2015, that contributes to regional conservation and restoration of threatened river herring by providing a passageway for migratory fish up over the 182nd Street Dam on the Bronx River.
  • Take a Walk on the Re-Wild Side! Part 3: Tour the Bronx River Forest – Bronx River Alliance will host this walk in Bronx River Forest, one of the last remaining stands of old growth forest left in New York City. Home to hundreds of native species, it serves as an oasis for wildlife and a refuge and healing space for the community.
  • Gowanus Neighborhood Plan Walking Tour – Join DCP and NYC Parks to learn about this recently-approved plan to bring to fruition a decades-long vision for a more equitable, resilient and sustainable Gowanus that will complement the clean-up of the Gowanus Canal, create permanently affordable housing and diverse job opportunities, and support new schools, parks and other infrastructure.

“I am excited to see the return of in-person events throughout the city celebrating and highlighting our incredible waterfronts throughout the five boroughs,” said Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson. “Our waterfronts provide stunning views of our city and safe recreational opportunities for our residents and families to enjoy. I want to thank the Department of City Planning for their continued work on this important initiative.”

“With more than 500 miles of shoreline, much of which is here in Queens, our city has a duty to ensure our waterfronts are healthy, resilient, and benefit all New Yorkers,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “I encourage all Queens residents to take part in one or more of these events and to become familiar with the Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, which details what we need to do to preserve, protect, and expand access to our waterfronts.”

“As a city of many islands, with over 520 miles of waterfront, it is crucial that we invest into the improvement of our waterfront infrastructure. From Coney Island to Jamaica Bay, to Pelham Bay and Arthur Kill, waterfront resilience across all five boroughs must be strengthened to ensure our City is protected against disasters, while also focusing on the upkeep and preservation of beaches, parks, and boardwalks to celebrate the beauty of our great City. As Chair of the Committee on Resiliency and Waterfronts, I applaud the Comprehensive Waterfront Plan as a key investment into the future of New York City,” said Council Member Ari Kagan, Chair of the Committee on Resiliency and Waterfronts.

"The 33rd District is proud to be home to eight miles of Brooklyn's beautiful waterfront. We're committed to doing everything we can to celebrate and preserve our shoreline,” said Council Member Lincoln Restler. “One of the best ways to experience the power of transforming previously inaccessible spaces into public waterfront access is to visit the beautiful Newtown Creek Nature Walk and I appreciate the Department of City Planning highlighting this special site!”

"Most streets in New York City end at the water's edge, yet a majority of New Yorkers don't identify as living in a coastal city," explains Billion Oyster Project Executive Director Pete Malinowski. "At Billion Oyster Project, we are excited about the Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, and countless local efforts that are reconnecting the people of our City to their Harbor."

"The Bronx River Alliance is proud to be a part of this wonderful celebration of NYC's 520 miles of waterfront," says Maggie Scott Greenfield, Bronx River Alliance Executive Director. "The Bronx River is an example of how communities and government working together can reclaim abandoned lots and brownfield sites to create community access and more resilient shorelines."

“The Comprehensive Waterfront Plan is a wonderful document to dream with, build with, and plan on. Clear-eyed and generous, it offers a realistic but still beautiful vision for what our coastline can be. Culture Push artists from every borough, spanning the gorgeous variety of NYC residents, have been inspired by the CWP to advocate for and celebrate their complex, unpredictable, and irresistible shoreline,” said Clarinda Mac Low, Executive Director of Culture Push.

“The CWP is more than a framework, and it’s about much more than the waterfront: it’s a set of ideas about show life should and can be in New York City, for all New Yorkers. The waterways and waterfront are its focus because life in New York starts and ends with the water. We wouldn’t be here without the waterways: the city’s future, just as the past, is united with them,” said Nancy Nowacek, Co-Founder, Works on Water.

To stay in the loop about these events for 520, as well as other opportunities to learn about and help plan for New York City’s shoreline, follow @NYCWaterfront on Instagram, and @NYCPlanning on Twitter and Instagram.

Department of City Planning
The Department of City Planning (DCP) plans for the strategic growth and development of the City through ground-up planning with communities, the development of land use policies and zoning regulations applicable citywide, and its contribution to the preparation of the City’s 10-year Capital Strategy. DCP promotes housing production and affordability, fosters economic development and coordinated investments in infrastructure and services, and supports resilient, sustainable communities across the five boroughs for a more equitable New York City.

In addition, DCP supports the City Planning Commission in its annual review of approximately 450 land use applications for a variety of discretionary approvals. The Department also assists both government agencies and the public by advising on strategic and capital planning and providing policy analysis, technical assistance and data relating to housing, transportation, community facilities, demography, zoning, urban design, waterfront areas and public open space.