We often think of the street grid as New York’s greatest “master plan.” Officially known as the Commissioners’ Plan of 1811, this put in place the original, gridded street pattern that we still know today. But there have been several other master plans that took shape on a smaller scale within the linear configuration of Manhattan. These planned communities were largely conceived to transform blighted or underutilized areas into suburban enclaves or peaceful oases within the big city. And just like the neighborhoods that grew organically among the street grid, these master-planned areas each have a unique character. They’ve also influenced a new crop of developments, currently under construction on the West Side and in Brooklyn.
Battery Park City
Growing up just west of the Andes Mountains in the small town of Tucumán in northwest Argentina, Cesar Pelli wasn’t exposed to the vibrant cityscapes that he today helps to shape. He got his start designing low-cost, affordable housing for the Argentine government, which helped him develop an appreciation for each project’s unique sense of place. Breaking from the traditional mold of many world-famous architects, he designed buildings as a response to their neighborhoods, not as a preconceived signature aesthetic.
Now, with a long list of acclaimed international projects to his name, Pelli is lauded for creating structures that honor a city’s history and enrich the local landscape. And here in New York City, home to some of his most celebrated works, the Pelli mark has making an indelible impression on the architecture and real estate fields.
Radiant Orchid may be Pantone’s color of the year, but here in New York City we think green is the hot hue of the moment. Eco-friendly design features and sustainable buildings are sprouting up faster than ever, and buyers are seeking out the next best green amenity, from Vitamin C-filtered showers to electric vehicle charging stations. And thanks to some A-list support from the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, environmentally friendly design is being embraced by developers and real estate professionals alike.
Last week, we took a look at Battery Park City, the largest green neighborhood in the world, which is often credited with launching New York City’s modern sustainable movement. And now we’re exploring some of the latest eco-friendly buildings to follow in its footsteps and take advantage of contemporary environmental technologies.
As New Yorkers, we learn to be resourceful. We can turn a tiny patch of grass into a full-on park, double the space of our 400-square-foot apartment with lofted rooms and suspended shelving, and get all of our reading in on the commute to work. But for some, this sacrificial lifestyle becomes too much, and daydreams of suburbia set in.
Not ready to pack your bags for Jersey or Westchester just yet? Look to Battery Park City, a suburban-like enclave that’s just a five-minute walk from Wall Street. The 92-acre planned residential community is the largest “green” neighborhood in the world, with more than one third of its total acreage covered in parks and gardens. Additionally, the area boasts spectacular waterfront views, large apartments, slightly more affordable prices than its Financial District neighbors, and an impressive collection of public art.
Though bearing little resemblance to its quaint East River neighbor, “Seaport City” could become a reality based on a new study released yesterday by the New York City Economic Development Corporation.
But don’t bank on a new set of sought after residential and commercial river views just yet. Seaport City is only one of a number of options presented to the city as part of former mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 257-point, post-Hurricane Sandy resiliency plan – and it’s the most challenging on the list.