Manhattan’s Long Awaited Beach Is Here!

On October 1st an opening celebration was held at Hudson River Park, unveiling its newest park, a beach on the Hudson River in Manhattan.

| 13 Oct 2023 | 03:00

After decades of dreaming and four years of design and construction, Manhattan finally got its public beach in the unveiling of Gansevoort Peninsula–the newest green space–located in Hudson River Park.

“Let’s get this party started,” said Governor Kathy Hochul at the opening. “This is so New York. To take a place that had been abandoned and overlooked and forgotten and, my God, turn it into a gathering place for people from around the world to walk...”

Gansevoort Peninsula includes a sandy beach, grass lounging, and picnic areas, access to the edge of the Hudson River (but not for swimming), a sports field, an adult fitness area, a dog run, a salt marsh, and it all is surrounded by 20 million oysters that were transplanted into the Hudson.

The $73 million dollar project and 5.5 acre recreational area is the largest single area in the Hudson River Park.

A man out sunbathing on one of the new blue beach chairs, Jake Camire, said, “Love it. The one thing I will say is they’re labeling it as the first beach, and that’s actually not true.”

Sometime in the ’60s, previous Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller attempted to redo the south end of Manhattan–what we know now as Battery Park City landfill-which ultimately failed. Before the construction began, Manhattan had its own beach. Ersatz Beach ended when construction began. According to the New York Times, the sand was not even intended for public use, but artists and sunbathers enjoyed it.

Now, the beach dream is coming to life again.

“It’s very serene. I like the sand. It’s very nice and quaint. My favorite is the skyline,” said 36-year-old NYU student Kendra Creekmur. Her boyfriend, Daquan Logan, chimed in, saying, “I’ve known about it for seven years.”

Logan went on to say, “I’ve been waiting to see how the park would be built, and I’m not disappointed. You can’t swim, but it’s understandable because the river is so dirty, at least until they finish making the plus pool.”

A floating pool was an idea brainstormed in 2011 between Archie Lee Coates IV, a partner for the design firm Playlab, and his friends, according to the New York Times. The pool is set to be located in the East River and is currently in the permitting phase. Coates told NYT that the process has been “incredibly difficult, painful and exhausting.”

A college student from Korea, Yang Hye Su, said, “This is my first time [at Gansevoort Peninsula], and with all the joggers, it seems like a healthy culture. When I saw the sand and then the water, I thought this would be a good place for the city to escape.”

Giovanna Barletta, another resident, brought her daughter Olivia to the sandy beach on a warm day after pre-school. ”She loves being by the water and running around barefoot in the sand,” Giovanna said. “But she hates having sand on her hands or face.”

When Carmen D’Alessio, the ex-publicist of Studio 54 - the storied New York nightclub turned Broadway theater - saw the high temperatures on Oct 4, she decided to take the day off to visit the new beach and sunbathe for the most part of it.

Another beach is under development in Williamsburg and is estimated to be completed in 2024.