Gansevoort Peninsula – Manhattan’s first-ever public beachfront opens

Southern Edge with Upland Sandy Bluff and Day’s End | Image Credit: Barrett Doherty

Gansevoort Peninsula, a 5.5-acre green space, has recently opened as Manhattan’s first-ever public beachfront situated in Hudson River Park. A team led by Field Operations designed the project. It is an impressive feat, complete with a rocky seating ledge and a new water access point for kayakers and other small boaters. Additionally, a large sports field, boardwalks, walking promenades, a spacious seating lawn, a picnic area, an ecological salt marsh, and 20 million juvenile oysters are in the water.

Hudson Balcony | Image Credit: Barrett Doherty

The new waterfront space offers a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy. The sports field is perfect for playing games with friends, while the boardwalks and walking promenades are ideal for a leisurely stroll. The spacious seating lawn and picnic area provide a great place to relax and enjoy a meal, while the ecological salt marsh offers a unique opportunity for visitors to learn about the environment. Interestingly, the project has included 20 million juvenile oysters in the water, which will help to improve water quality and create a more resilient ecosystem. The Gansevoort Peninsula project is remarkable, providing a unique recreational space for locals and tourists alike. It is a great example of how public spaces can improve a community’s quality of life. It is primarily designed to offer a variety of activities and experiences to visitors, making it an excellent destination for families and friends. This is a place that everyone should visit at least once to experience the beauty and wonder of Manhattan’s first-ever public beachfront.

Lawn, Upland Sandy Bluff and Day’s End | Image Credit: Hudson River Park Trust

“Gansevoort Peninsula is a true green space for the 21st century, incorporating innovative design and helping to prepare the west side of Manhattan for climate change. Our administration is working to provide open space in every community and expand access to public parks in all five boroughs. The city has invested more than $70 million in this critical project that will help us reach that goal, and we hope New Yorkers enjoy all the wonderful amenities it has to offer.”

New York City Mayor Eric Adams
Site Plan | Image Credit: Field Operations

Located in Hudson River Park between Gansevoort Street and Little West 12th Street, and opposite the Whitney Museum of American Art, Gansevoort Peninsula delivers a wide array of spaces for lounging, fitness and fun. The resilient southern edge provides direct access to the Hudson River for non-motorized boats and offers stunning views of the River, the lower Manhattan skyline, and Day’s End, a monumental, site-specific sculpture by David Hammons donated to the Park by the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2021. The adjacent beach features 1,200 tons of sand with beach umbrellas, Adirondack-style chairs and a misting feature for cooling down or rinsing off sand. A large picnic area with tables and benches overlooks the River, and a boardwalk with a Pine Grove draws people onto the site from the adjacent esplanade before connecting with the western esplanade where Manhattan’s Thirteenth Avenue was once located. While the Hudson River’s water quality has significantly improved since the Clean Water Act was passed in the 1970s, Gansevoort Peninsula is designed to be a sunbathing beach and swimming will not be permitted.

13th Ave Promenade | Image Credit: Barrett Doherty

“Inspired by community input, Gansevoort Peninsula is a place for respite, relaxation, exploration, sports, and play. A defining characteristic is how the design embraces each side of the peninsula, offering new ways to engage with the Hudson River, with diverse and varied edges that elongate the transition from land to water. Here, a combination of promenades, lookouts, tidal pools, ledges, sandy beach, salt marsh, and kayak access create an immersive and dynamic environment that changes with the tides, making for a truly unforgettable experience.”

Partner at Field Operations Lisa Switkin
Picnic Grove | Image Credit: Hudson River Park Trust

Given the Peninsula’s width — much wider than Hudson River Park’s typical piers — the Trust and the design team were able to build a large “U13” ballfield in the center of the Peninsula, a feature much desired by local residents. Other recreational features include an adult fitness area and two dog runs — one for larger dogs and one for smaller dogs — with water features that will open later this fall. A small area where dog owners will be able to socialize with their dogs will also be included. At the Peninsula’s eastern edge, a building, designed by nARCHITECTS, will include public restrooms, a concession stand and a small area to support Park maintenance needs. Gansevoort Peninsula will be newly connected to the inland community through Gansevoort Landing, a new crosswalk created by New York State and City Departments of Transportation, and a pedestrian plaza created by the Meatpacking District BID. Hudson River Park is also proud to continue hosting FDNY Marine Company 1 on site.

Financing for Gansevoort Peninsula was provided by the City of New York and restricted funds to the Trust secured through a settlement from Friends of Hudson River Park. Funding for Day’s End was secured entirely by the Whitney Museum.

Sports Field | Image Credit: Hudson River Park Trust.

Gilbane Building Company and Invictus Engineering served as the construction management team on the project. Steven Dubner Landscaping, JRCRUZ Corporation, EJ Electric, Trevcon, Padilla Construction Services, Eastern Plumbing, C.D.E. Air Conditioning Co., and Interphase Electric Corp provided the construction services.

The opening of Gansevoort Peninsula and the upcoming openings of Pier 97 and the Pier 26 Science Playground, is an exciting time for Manhattan and Hudson River Park.

About Damian Holmes 3228 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/damianholmes/