Press Releases

For Immediate Release
October 31, 2018

Rachaele Raynoff, Joe Marvilli – (212) 720-3471

Department of City Planning’s new digital map marks all public recreation space along NYC waterfront

New tool celebrates 25th anniversary of zoning rules mandating public access to NYC shoreline when a property is redeveloped

October 31, 2018 – As we celebrate 25 years of waterfront zoning for public access this month, Department of City Planning Director Marisa Lago launched DCP’s Waterfront Access Map to help New Yorkers find and enjoy more than 200 waterfront parks and open spaces that dot our 520 miles of shorelines.

“Among New York City’s countless hidden treasures are dozens of open spaces, both publicly and privately owned, that offer public access to our spectacular shoreline. These spaces are for walking, running, biking, launching a kayak and catching the sunset. As we build an even more beautiful, inclusive and sustainable city, we want to be sure that all New Yorkers have a user-friendly digital map that makes it easier for them to find and enjoy all our parks and open spaces,” DCP Director Lago said.

“Over the past 25 years, we have come a long way in transforming the rough edges of our shorelines into picturesque destinations for recreation and relaxation and having this useful tool to guide visitors will enhance the user experience,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver. “The City remains committed to continuing to expand waterfront access in order to further connect communities and people to and through our expansive shoreline.”

“When you’re a New Yorker, you might see the water from your school, your office, your apartment, your park or your subway ride. But before now, you didn’t have a place to go to find out what parts of our city’s waterfront are accessible to you,” said Lynn Kelly, Executive Director of New Yorkers for Parks. “New York City’s Department of City Planning has done something incredibly exciting here: they’ve made the waterfront that much more accessible to New Yorkers. You only have to visit a website to discover waterfront spaces in all five boroughs.”

"As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of waterfront zoning, we marvel at the growth of opportunities for recreation at and on the water. New zoning has reclaimed the waterfront for people-oriented uses and has encouraged greenways, parks, docks and landings, as well as stewardship of the natural environment," said Roland Lewis, President and CEO of the Waterfront Alliance. "Many people may not be aware of opportunities for waterfront recreation around the five boroughs. With DCP's comprehensive and user-friendly waterfront access online tool, New Yorkers can explore the diversity of waterfront experiences, whether hopping into a kayak, going fishing or joining a waterfront walking tour to take in the views. The online map reminds us how much progress we have made to engage with the water that surrounds us and inspires us to ensure these opportunities are available to every neighborhood in our city."

"New York's waterways are the biggest public space in the nation's greatest city," said Robert Pirani, the Director of the NY-NJ Harbor & Estuary Program at the Hudson River Foundation. "The Department of City Planning's new Waterfront Access Map now makes it easy to see where and how the public can connect to these shared waters."

Zoning that requires public access when waterfront property is redeveloped was proposed by DCP and adopted by the New York City Council in October 1993. These spaces supplement our more traditional parks and open spaces. They are located in all five boroughs, stretching from Soundview, to Inwood, to Charleston, Gowanus and Howard Beach.

Since 1993, the zoning rules have resulted in the creation of 27 public spaces across 25 acres (the size of 21 football fields) in the five boroughs. Much of this property is former industrial land that had been closed to the public for decades, cleaned up and now used for residential and recreational space.

The map also includes links and information on the 180 waterfront parks run by NYC Parks, as well as information on publicly accessible waterfront spaces throughout the City managed by other City, State, or Federal agencies and organizations.

  • The map offers information about access points, also some amenities and other site features available at each location; along with public transit and biking directions.
  • It helps a visitor locate boating and in-water recreation opportunities.


In addition to the 27 sites created by zoning, another 21 sites – covering 5.4 million square feet -- have been approved and will be constructed in the coming years.

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.