Architectual Digest: A fitness center, an orchestra stage, a forum for peaceful protest—Williamsburg’s Domino Park and waterfront spaces like it have been many things to many people during the pandemic. “The need to see the horizon and capture a breeze has been so psychologically and physically crucial,” reflects Marion Weiss, who has witnessed similar excitement at Hunter’s Point South, a stretch of Queens that her firm, Weiss/Manfredi, helped transform. If Central Park is, as Frederick Law Olmsted once claimed, the lungs of the city, then projects such as these have become its gills.
Today, the next chapter of local public space is being written along the Big Apple’s 500-plus miles of shoreline, as innovative landscape architects, architects, and designers propose new models for urban coasts in the face of climate change. From DUMBO, where Michael Van Valkenburgh is putting the finishing touches on the crowd-pleasing Brooklyn Bridge Park, to the West Side of Manhattan, where OLIN just debuted a tide deck for observing estuary ecology and Thomas Heatherwick is completing the futuristic Little Island pier—both for Hudson River Park—the NYC waterfront continues to transform, parcel by parcel.