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Photo by Karen Loew of No Man’s Land

Stuyvesant Cove Park runs from 18th to 23rd Street on the waterfront of Manhattan’s East Side. It began as an industrial site, adjacent to what was known as the New York City’s “Gas House District,” and later became a symbol of public victory over private big business, and it has been an important neighborhood staple for many years.

The park, and specifically its tiny, rocky beach, was recently featured in a short dance film called “No Man’s Land” by Karen Loew. The film explores the mystery and intrigue of this little-known oasis on the tip of Manhattan. The movie is currently on view at the 14th Street Y, along with photos and information about the park. In addition, the exhibit invites participants to share their stories and memories of this hidden gem.

Read on to discover the top 10 secrets of Stuyvesant Cove Park.

1. Stuyvesant Cove Park was originally a concrete mixing facility

Photo via Flickr by Chris RubberDragon

Before Stuyvesant Cove Park ever existed, it was a cement plant run by the Transit-Mix Concrete Corporation. It created the material that would be used to build Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village and many other places. After the plant closed, it remained a brownfield until plans for the Riverwalk, a controversial housing development and marina began.

The park’s shape is actually defined by the cement. When the factory was in operation, it would illegally dump large quantities of cement out into the water, and this waste gathered together to form the outcropping that would become the beach.

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