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NYC giving waterfront a makeover in $3.3 billion plan

Red Hook

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It’s time for the “sixth borough” to sparkle.

The nickname given by officials to New York City’s 520 miles of shoreline will be the focus of a major redevelopment plan involving the building of new parks and esplanades, creation of new ferry service and revitalization of waterfront industries throughout all the boroughs.

The $3.3 billion plan, to be unveiled Monday by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, is the first comprehensive plan for the waterways in nearly two decades.

“New York City has more miles of waterfront than Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago and Portland combined — but for decades, too many neighborhoods have been blocked off from it,” Bloomberg said in a statement.

In recent years, the city has done piecemeal projects that have helped clean up the water and brought in new development, said Roland Lewis, president of the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance.

He pointed to the 2005 rezoning of the Greenpoint-Williamsburg waterfront to allow for 50 acres of new parkland and the building of esplanades along the East River.

“The water is a lot cleaner than it used to be,” Lewis said. “It’s an untapped resource. What the city is proposing is all absolutely feasible.”

Highlights of the city's waterfront plan include:

•Developing more than 50 acres of new waterfront parks.

•Piloting a commuter ferry service on the East River this year.

•Expanding the city’s recreational water trails with more than 40 locations.

•Constructing new housing, parks and a school at Hunter’s Point South in 2013.


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