City proposes $90M project to renovate docks at 79th Street Boat Basin

Posted On Thu, January 2, 2020 By

Posted On Thu, January 2, 2020 By In Upper West Side 

Photo by Jim Henderson on Wikimedia

The city wants to restore the Upper West Side’s 79th Street Boat Basin as a waterfront resource for the community. Last month, the Parks Department presented a $90 million proposal to Community Board 7 that would reconstruct docks damaged by previous storms, add additional boating berths to increase capacity, and make the area more resilient to climate change. According to the West Side Rag, the board, as well as many residents, support the project.

79th street boat basin, upper west side, houseboats
Rendering of the elevated dock house, courtesy of NYC Parks

Operated by the city, the 79th Street Boat Basin is the only marina that has a year-round houseboat residency in New York City. At its peak, according to the West Side Rag, the basin was home to more than 100 boats. But after the city prohibited houseboats from docking at the Basin in 2010, just 10 out of 116 slips are currently occupied year-round, according to Parks.

And there’s currently a 14-year waitlist of more than 780 people to land a lease at the marina. To address the long wait, the city wants to increase the number of docks from five to nine.

In addition to expanding the marina’s capacity, the city wants to upgrade the docks to meet climate resiliency guidelines and repair docks damaged from previous storms. The schematic design plan calls for the dock house to get an elevated addition with a public green roof, as well as ADA upgrades.

The city expects to reveal its final design by June 2021, with construction starting in either October 2021 or May 2022. The mayor’s office is providing more than $60 million for the project, with FEMA covering the rest.

Barbara Alder, a member of CB7’s parks and environment committee, told West Side Rag: “The entire committee and community (mostly the boat people who live on those boats) were very supportive. It’s a $90 million project that will greatly improve the boat basin for those who live there and are transients.”

The project is part of a larger plan to reconstruct the West 79th Street rotunda and the surrounding area, which connects the neighborhood to the West Side Highway. The construction work, expected to take at least four years, will force UWS favorite Boat Basin Cafe to permanently shutter.

[Via West Side Rag]

1/3/20 Editor’s note: A previous version of this story inaccurately described the 79th Street Basin as a houseboat community. Currently, out of the 116 slips, just 10 are occupied year-round.  

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Neighborhoods : Upper West Side

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