Beware of Riprap in Greenpoint and Williamsburg


A section of the Greenpoint/Williamsburg East River waterfront under the new plan.Image: Donna Walcavage Landscape Architecture + Urban Design, Weisz + Yoes Studio Architecture + Urban Design

The city presented its latest plans for redeveloping the Greenpoint-Williamsburg waterfront Wednesday night, and — believe it or not — local activist groups liked the proposals. The new plans include boat launches, picnic grounds, wetland preserves, which are all things — like a more natural-looking waterfront, a bit of which is shown in the rendering above — community groups have been asking for. “I believe they are making a true effort to tune the plan into a community vision,” said Laura Hoffman of the Greenpoint Waterfront Association for Parks and Planning. She gave props to how the plan integrates Greenpoint Terminal Market artifacts — like old ropes and bricks — into the park’s design. (We like this new rendering not least because landscapers call the sort of rocky water-edge depicted “riprap.”) How’d things get so lovey-dovey? Team Bloomberg persuaded three developers of waterfront high-rises to turn over open space to the city, and then the city designed with local priorities in mind. The impending towers still give some Williamsburgers the willies, and earlier renderings of the waterfront, warned Jasper Goldman of the Municipal Art Society, “looked like San Diego.” But gritty riprap? That’s so New York. —Alec Appelbaum