The isle of Manhattan is known for lots of things, except beaches. This week, that changed. On October 2, Governor Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams christened Gansevoort Peninsula, a $73 million, 5.5-acre “green oasis” designed by Field Operations to give New Yorkers a speckle of breathing room in the world’s densest urban agglomeration.
Located in Hudson River Park between Gansevoort Street and Little West 12th Street, Gansevoort Peninsula is being touted as Manhattan’s first public beachfront. Its rocky seating ledge and water access point allows kayakers to flow from land to water with ease, and other small boaters. The new beachfront park also includes a large sports field, boardwalks, walking promenades, an expansive seating lawn, a picnic area, an ecological salt march; all within close range to 20 million juvenile oysters at bay in the Hudson River nestled on the shoreline.
“Inspired by community input, Gansevoort Peninsula is a place for respite, relaxation, exploration, sports, and play,” said Lisa Switkin, a partner at Field Operations. “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.”
While the 1970 Clean Water Act made the Hudson River safer, swimming in it still isn’t kosher. Gansevoort Peninsula is specifically a beach for sunbathing—swimming is not permitted. In total, the new beach has 1,200 tons of sand, beach umbrellas, Adirondack chairs, a Pine Grove, and a misting feature for cooling down on a long summer day.
Field Operations took advantage of the pier’s wider than usual width to create a large “U13” ballfield in the Peninsula’s center, an amenity much desired by local residents. Community members were also given an adult fitness area and two dog runs: one for big dogs and the other for little ones.
Whitney Museum of American Art–goers looking for natural recreation can reach Gansevoort Peninsula by foot in minutes. A site-specific sculpture by David Hammons donated to the Park by the Whitney in 2021 connects the new landscape to its artsy environs.
In the coming months, a new building by New York–based nARCHITECTS will provide restrooms, a concession stand, and a small area for the park’s maintenance staff. Gansevoort Peninsula will be connected to the inland community through Gansevoort Landing, a new pedestrian pathway. Hudson River Park will continue to host FDNY Marine Company 1 on site.
The park’s financing came from the city of New York and Friends of Hudson River Park, a trust, while funding for Day’s End came entirely from the Whitney Museum. “Today’s opening of Gansevoort Peninsula is such an exciting next step for our community, which continues to grow into one of the City’s most vibrant and welcoming destinations,” said Adam D. Weinberg, the Alice Pratt Brown director of the Whitney Museum of American Art. “We watched the progress of this beautiful park from the Whitney, eager for the day it would open mere steps from our Museum.”
“We can’t wait to enjoy it and welcome new visitors to our community,” Weinberg continued. “We are also elated that the monumental, site-specific sculpture Days End by David Hammons can be viewed so prominently from this space. Since its installation in 2021 it has been our dream that it would connect to the rest of Hudson River Park, and we are so pleased those dreams are coming true.”