Project for public spaces gives quite a few good ideas about rebuilding public space.

project for public spaces

The waterfront section is particular interesting and relevant to the Yonkers issue. This issue is now getting bigger than the Alexander street master plan, but is addresses the whole Yonkers waterfront.  I have been at the public meetings with the mayor, where time and time again people from the audience question the privatization of the waterfront and how they already see the Yonkers waterfront becoming the private front yard and dog walking area for the new Yonkers residents.  The mayor repeatedly states  that this isn’t so, but the evidence isn’t supporting him, the  historic Yonkers pier was privatized and chopped up for a high end restaurant,  a good restaurant so I hear, but with  prices so high  very few from the local non city hall  community are going to be dining there.  The fireworks display this fourth of July was more like a private party for X2  Xavier opening crowd than the normal Yonkers affair, the banners advertising the fireworks  were  missing and there was no mention of the fireworks on the city of Yonkers website. Kind of like it was invitation only event. Questions about the no fishing signs that appeared at the pier are answered as a temporary  thing due to the ferry , I think it has more to do with X2 Xavier, they don’t want the place to look too common. The mayor  promise a fishing pier, but it is not on the  DGEIS  plans submitted , at least not in downtown Yonkers, yes there is one proposed for the JFK marina, but that’s not downtown Yonkers, that is probably the location they figure on having the affordable  housing, they plan on building a full service marina there, full service marinas are very noisy, that will be where the section of affordable housing may be ( if any).  Stick the fisherman down there too, that will be their section of the waterfront, they did put in the  DGEIS that  the oldest canoe club in the USA was also being relocated, but didn’t tell the canoe club.  Now they promise that  was only a mistake by AKRF, it will remain in downtown Yonkers, where it is, so they promise.

So we have the Yonkers pier, the  missing fisherman, secret fireworks for X2 patrons all  pointing to privatization of the waterfront as an esplanade for the new Yonkerites, the wealthy condo buyers they are trying to draw into Yonkers.  

The project for public spaces waterfront guidelines had a couple points that jumped right out at me

1 . Residential units in close proximity do not mix  and are contrary  to a successful public waterfront. I frequent the revitalized Manhattan and Brooklyn waterfronts, they have free concerts, movies, music, dancing, and children’s activities all planned for the spring, summer and fall.  The riverfront greenway park isn’t shut down at dusk like these non functioning systems. Residences along the waterfront are going to try to limit that proper public use.  A successful waterfront is going to be the more nighttime use the better, the safer it is. Every night you will have a choice of destinations, this has happened in Manhattan. Why are there no dance lessons and free outdoor dancing on the esplanade now and planned for the spring and summer summer? It is built , it is there, there are dance studios that I am sure would want to get involved, the  esplanade has been there for years now and it hasn’t been put to its proper use.

Outdoor movies could be shown on the pier, esplanade or sculpture garden too, all on the same night, a blues band could be performing on the lower level of the pier. There should be four activities every warm weather night down there

There is all this alleged public space, already built, that has not been put to its proper use. I have seen the mayor speak at a couple of these public meetings, he has great personality and is very likable. He keeps stating he wants people down there to use the place; they cannot get a coffee house to set up shop since no one goes down there.  Actually that is false, your waterfront development wont confirm the space they need to run a business, they want to wait until the gap or some big user leases  out the big chunk , and then give  the coffee house people what is left over. The coffee people cannot come up with a business plan that way, I spoke to the client.

Mayor Amicone , it is time to light a fire under your recreation, waterfront development personal,  a layman can figure out what is wrong with this waterfront.

It is already not being put to it proper use, 400 hundred yards of beautiful finished product. It can host a lot  of activities,  This isn’t the front yard of the imported new Yonkers wealthy, it is still Yonkers front yard and we need to start using it this spring, and your recreation/ waterfront people should be lining up dance studio’s, setting up movie nights, invite a blues or jazz band  to set up shop.  Plenty can be accomplished now on the established waterfront.  A successful waterfront should be a busy thriving area; it should be the place for concerts, outdoor movies, music and dancing. It should be open late, well into the nighttime and early morning hours “residential development limits the diversity of waterfront use and creates constituencies invested in preventing 24-hour activity from flourishing”.

2.) Don’t let the developers set the goals, I have been to about every waterfront meeting, and speaker after speaker has said the same thing, do not let the developers ruin our waterfront, it is one thing that Yonkers still has. Put community goals first, not developer’s goals, plans must adhere to the concept that the Yonkers waterfront is Yonkers  public asset.




One response to “

  1. You need to get out in downtown Yonkers more often! For the past 7 years, there have been free jazz (and last year blues as well as jazz) concerts on the Yonkers waterfront, initially on the Pier, then in the Sculpture Meadow and now in the Amphitheatre next to the Pier, sponsored by the Yonkers Downtown/Waterfront BID (Business Improvement District). There was also a film series outdoors on Main Street between the Main Post Office and Citibank. There are a number of wonderful programs planned at Philipse Manor Hall, one of the oldest buildings in Westchester County dating back to 1682, starting with the re-enactment of an 18th century wedding on January 26th, 2008. The Manor Hall as a free community gallery that provides an excellent venue for local Yonkers artists to show their work. You can find a lot of fun things to do at!

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