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Park Power
SCAPE's new East River park will help protect twin SHoP towers.
Courtesy SCAPE / Landscape Architecture

SCAPE/Landscape Architecture recently unveiled its design for a public park located on the site of a new splashy development on First Avenue by the East River. The 38,000 square foot park will sit on a slice of land beneath SHoP Architects’ pair of copper towers, currently under construction, and will serve as a lush and integrated, civic space that will also provide a critical connection to the East River Greenway.

“The FDR is not crossable at certain parts at grade,” said Kate Orff, partner at Scape. “The park will connect across with a patterning of the pavement and direct people where they can cross.”


The park—wedged between the luxury rental towers, the FDR Drive, and 36th Street—will feature a prominent fountain outfitted with seat/walls in addition to limestone and granite paving, benches, tables, and a variety of plantings and trees.

“A big part of the design was to create this kind of fountain that has a lot of movement and reflectivity to animate the park,” said Orff.


The property’s significant flood risk also factored into Scape’s overall design scheme. The site was inundated with water during Hurricane Sandy, and now the developer, JDS Development, is taking extra measures to prepare the buildings for future storms. Orff said that they plan to implement a number of strategies to make the park more resilient and mitigate the impact of flooding from designing a riprap edge on the interior of the plaza to building an underground detention system and planting vegetation to withstand flooding. The goal, Orff said, is to make “the landscape almost like a water plaza, which holds and retains water.”

Once built, the park will not only provide a leafy retreat for residents and New Yorkers, but will also “hang together with those different levels of circulation, access, and water.”

The park is slated to open in early 2016—coinciding with the completion of the towers.

Nicole Anderson