Mayor Bloomberg Attempts to Rebrand the ‘Sixth Borough’

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Each of the blue dots here represents a site where there is an opportunity to create, expand, or improve public access to the waterfront. Photo: City Planning Dept.

This morning's papers have more details about the comprehensive waterfront rehabilitation program that Mayor Bloomberg will announce today in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Indeed, if you have a minute today, you should look over the city's PDF presentation of their initial three-year action plan — chances are there's something going on, or getting fixed up, at the waterfront nearest you. Over the next ten years, you can expect to see 50 new acres of riverside parks in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. New greenways will be built in already picturesque destinations like the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Battery Park, and Randall's Island. $2.57 billion will be spent improving sewage and wastewater treatment and restoring native oyster and mussel populations (the shellfish do their own cleaning of our river waters).

But City Hall isn't just expunging the industry from New York's working waterfront — the goal is to create at least 700 new jobs by expanding the space available for shipping containers, deepening the harbor shipping channel, repairing bulkheads and piers, and adding berths for commercial vessels.

The plan isn't an entirely new one — it's actually a merger of many plans already paid for in previous or current city budgets. (Some of the goals also involve private fund-raising.) By uniting them under one banner, Bloomberg and his team hope to centralize the actual implementation of the many programs with a red-tape-cutting City Hall team. If you want to be impressed by the breadth of the entire ten-year plan (which includes contingencies for major sea flooding), check it out here. Sadly, one element of the strategy is already facing setbacks — a long-term plan to convert the Fresh Kills landfill site on Staten Island into a park will have to be delayed. The first 28-acre section of the refurbished park (which will eventually stretch to 2,200 acres, or three times the size of Central Park) is actually sinking into the water, the Post reports this morning.

Still, today's a day for optimism for City Hall. "Our waterfront and waterways — what we are calling New York City's 'Sixth Borough' — are invaluable assets," Bloomberg said. "And when our work is complete, New York City will again be known as one of the world's premier waterfront cities."

Uh-oh. Nobody tell Philadelphia.

Just Add Water [NYDN]