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A River Runs Through It: New York's Hudson River Park

You don't need Brad Pitt to make this river shine. New York's Hudson River Park is 4-miles of waterfront park perfection. We loved the Highline for its' imagination and unexpectedness, but Hudson River Park is so much more...Last summer, amidst the noise of construction, car traffic and people, my little one and I were in search of Hudson River Park. I knew I'd find it if I kept heading west. After all, Hudson River Park was the case study for our Baywalk pop-up (under construction). I wanted to see it first hand.

But the park didn't just happen overnight. Hudson River Park was created twenty years ago at the State level through the Hudson River Park Act. The Act established an official Hudson River Park Trust to plan, design, construct and, ultimately, manage and operate the park. It also created an advisory board to oversee park planning and it established a funding source. The lesson for Miami--in order to have a great waterfront park on the Baywalk, we need a management structure. Someone needs to be in charge. Let's see what this official park management entity was able to create in Manhattan's Hudson River Park.

It Starts With the Street:

En route to the park last summer was this leafy, tree lined street with super wide sidewalk, a simple pavement pattern. A short wall does double duty by separating the front entrance of the private building from the public sidewalk and creating a nice little area for siting and some small plantings. In urban planning terms, we call these distinct areas, "zones". A lot of thought was put into this particular design. the sidewalk pavement changes depending on the "zone". It's subtle, but very effective.


It's All About How You Get There:

And here we are. One of the many entrances to Hudson River Park. The first thing in my site line was the water and the skyline. This is critical. The water is what draws you in and it's the entire point of the park.

Next think I noticed were the different pavement patterns which are visual indicators for how to use the street. Allow me to explain:

1. Striped crosswalk- caution crossing street

2. Brick/cobblestone- stop at this mid block crossing before continuing across traffic

3. Marked bike lanes- how cool is this!

4. Checkered squares- you are entering the park