East River Bridge, NYC.
‘ The glories strung like beads on my smallest sights and hearing on the walk in the street ,and the passage over the river ; The current rushing so swiftly, and swimming with me far away; The others that are to follow me, the ties between me and them; The certainty of others-the life, love, sight, hearing of others.…cross from shore to shore… Stand up ,tall masts of Manhattan! stand up, beautiful hills of Brooklyn!
By Walt Whitman ‘ Crossing Brooklyn Ferry’ Brooklyn 1848
Our city must, and will grow in the direction of its surrounding waters .Traditional port-related uses of the waters of the New York City harbor have become partially obsolete, permitting ideas for urban living to take almost complete precedence. We must assess the scope of this transformation, and how to ensure this trend to be a meaningful one.
Architects are central to the debate and play a vital role in proposing visions and solutions worth considering . Efforts must be made to sustain and promote public confidence in not considering a priori the waters surrounding Manhattan ,Brooklyn a dangerous and hostile reality. We cannot continue to build our city in defiance of nature.
Vibrant architectural projects, resulting from an extended domain of ideas, both rational and imaginative, are to be researched and put into practice. Hypotheses for alternative use of all riverfronts, including the quality of their spaces, programming and land use are to become real proposals and tentative explanations of such phenomenon.
The Brooklyn Bridge Park ,facing the waters of the East River successfully offers, in its current public gathering , sun light, fresh air, tranquility, silence and a sense of well being for all visitors.
Such elements are worth enhancing because they increase the quality of urban life both in a physical and psychological sense, affecting the individual spectator, and large groups of people.
East River Walkway
The East River Walkway Bridge project follows the broad expansion and re-qualification of both the Brooklyn waterfront and the Downtown Manhattan promenade that has continued in this decade.
The park proposal, being a landscaped pedestrian bridge spanning the East River, creates an artificial new common ground for all people. The site is one of the most spectacular urban scenarios Lower Manhattan has to offer.
The two opposing shorelines on this narrow strait of the East River contain, the Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 1 and the South Street Sea Port, Pier15, Pier 17 esplanade. They mirror each other and are separated by water, at a close, almost physical contact with the Brooklyn Bridge
The proposed East River Walkway Bridge transforms both existing shores into a new and distinctive, multi layered urban park, adding on either sides of the river appropriate landfills, landscaped grounds , viewing terraces , ramps ,sitting areas , bicycle’s paths.
The elevation of both riverfronts grounds to the height of the proposed bridge unifies the new park into a single landscaped urban corridor, for the pleasure of all pedestrians , allowing the river boats traffic to continue, undisturbed . It adds, in scale and program a tridimensional reconfiguration of the existing Brooklyn Bridge Park activities and natural amenities.
The passage conceptually connects and adds ‘surface’ to both Manhattan and Brooklyn urban grids, emphasizing their unique street life and human affability. The resulting sensorial experience is an act of joyful urban discovery ,a welcome alternative to the spatial confinement offered by the claustrophobic verticality of the many surrounding metropolitan buildings .
The experience of both shores is provocative, intense and liberating. One has the opportunity to admire in full view the horizon, the changing city lights of the open NYC bay, Lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn waterfront their history and urban presence. Through this spectacle of practiced leisure one feels admiration for the city and emotionally a strong sense of collective achievement.
The value granted to the ownership and privacy of all interiors in our city is balanced by a similar, If not greater, appreciation for all outdoor spaces . Public grounds are urban treasures to any city, and inevitably offer physical and social contact. They ensure the sense of belonging to the inhabitants of the larger community thereby promoting social cohesion and identity. They become visible distinctive landmarks and icons to the image of the city.
The pedestrian bridge measures approximately 1,550’-0” in length. It displays a relatively low, un-intrusive profile, unwilling to compete in visibility or construction with the nearby landmark Brooklyn Bridge. Contrary to many bridge structures it appears understated not grand and self referencing formal expression. It’s primary purpose is the suspension of a landscaped 60’-0” wide wooden deck surface to be walked on and enjoyed. The required structural sequence is comprised of a modular, repeated series of spans, measuring 140’-0”in length. A secondary wave like steel structure stretches parallel to the piers, adding strength and stability.
A vast number of soil containers are placed in the resulting cavities of the bridge construction and geometry, allowing harvesting for the plants and trees. Such natural vegetation is to be monitored by an integrated water irrigation system . An understanding of the aquatic surrounding environment and sustainable design and construction techniques will be considered and utilized wherever possible
The continuous outdoor wooden deck, available for pedestrians and cyclists, unfolds over the bridge with a sub-level weather protected passage that makes the crossing of the river possible all year round offering protection from low temperatures, wind, rain and snow. All river traffic, patrol coast guard boats, ferries ,and private boats will be able to continue their daily activities navigating through 45’0”high arcades .The bridge can be opened upon demand at its center thus providing a greater 75’-0” high passage for tug boats or other similar commercial ships.
Night-time viewing of the space of the river is mysterious ; a spatial void of vast unexplored dimensions offering itself as a natural stage of all sorts of urban activities and water events.
Upon demand ,two staged and highly visual waterfalls originate from the full length of the bridge’s upper edges after pumping the water directly from the river .
It is a unique spectacle for all, one that celebrates both Manhattan ,Brooklyn glamour and cultural life with light and sound.
Architect : Giuliano Fiorenzoli
Production and analysis of representation: Adin Rimland