5. Riverside Park South
Photograph by David Quinones via SWA/Balsley
SWA/Balsley’s design of Riverside Park South added thirteen blocks of park space to the original Riverside Park designed by renowned landscape architect and designer of Central Park, Frederick Law Olmsted. The original park starts at 158th street. With the addition of the SWA/Balsley designed expansion, the southern border moved from 72nd to 59th street. This Upper West Side park incorporates landmark industrial buildings, new infrastructure and new green spaces with the maritime history of the shoreline. The site of the park was once the New York Central Railroad’s 60th Street Yard, a location that served as the “primary import, export, and classification area for the sole all-freight train line on the island of Manhattan in the 1920’s.” This spot was once referred to as the “life line of New York” because city dwellers depended on it for food and milk. The park’s past is prevalent in the century-old pier structures, gantry towers and the the 69th Street Transfer Bridge National Landmark, which are all integrated into the landscape of the park’s boardwalks, esplanades, paved paths, and planted margins. The park also provides a space for a natural ecosystem to flourish.
If you are an Untapped Cities Insider, you can join a free tour of SWA/Balsley’s newly redesigned architectural studios led by award-winning landscape architect Thomas Balsley. This event on January 24th will give guests an inside look at some of the firm’s latest projects and the forces behind making design concepts a reality. Not an insider yet? Become a member today to gain access to free behind-the-scenes tours and special New York City events all year long!