Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
Global Walking Tour: New York City
2 August 2018
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NEW YORK CITY - On August 2nd the CTBUH New York Chapter held their annual walking tour, which featured East River development projects. This tour was part of a larger program of global walking tours, taking place in over 20 major cities across the globe and designed to explore urban habitat spaces in each location.

This year, the theme for the tours was "Walking on Water,” aiming to take a closer look at the role of tall buildings in waterfronts and other natural settings. Guests were encouraged to share images from around the world by tweeting their experience using the hashtag #CTBUHWalks

The tour was guided by Joshua Chaiken, AIA, Principal, and Jeffrey Shumaker, Director of Urban Planning and Design, both of Kohn Pederson Fox, Claudia Herasme, Director of Urban Design at the NYC Department of City Planning, and Justin Moore, Executive Director at the New York City Public Design Commission.


The New York Global Walking Tour began at Pier 11, where guests boarded the ferry.

The New York tour began at 6:00pm, where guests met at Pier 11 to board the ferry. The boat first stopped at Brooklyn Bridge Park, affording guests the opportunity to take in the structure and examine its role in the local community. The second stop was Williamsburg South, where the tour disembarked and continued on foot to take in Grand Ferry Park. The route took the group alongside the water with impressive skyline views of the purely private developments.

The ferry trip then resumed at Williamsburg North, briefly stopping in Greenpoint for some background on the Greenpoint-Williamsburg Comprehensive Rezoning of 2005. This rezoning was completed in order to ensure that the development included a waterfront access plan and this section of the tour focused on those waterfront spaces that were created by land use actions, most of which required updated zoning compliance.


The next stop was Long Island City Landing. The guides took their time explaining the story of this development, which focuses on multiple structures, built over time with different scales, expressions, and materials. Guests enjoyed a first-hand account of the planning phases of the project, where priority was paid to corridors connecting the water to the city blocks, interior courtyard spaces providing access to greenery, and value engineering to zoning regulations while optimizing sun orientation.

The tour was treated to fantastic views of the skyline, rising from the water.


The two-hour tour met its final stop with a brief walk south to Hunter’s Point Park, a 911,000 gross square foot (84,634 gross square meter) private development, completed in 2015 with a 67% affordable housing ratio and 33% income restriction. The park was created with land donated by the state, an extension of the Gantry State Park to the north.

Here, guests learned that a critical design consideration for the development was flooding; both towers were redesigned after October 2012 Superstorm Sandy floodwaters rose four feet higher than previously designated flood elevations for the area. To mitigate the threat of flooding, critical infrastructure was raised to higher elevations, water load design was incorporated, and temporary flood barriers were integrated at the ground floor and building openings.

The development over in Long Island City focuses on multiple structures, built over time with different scales, expressions, and materials. Through the planning phases, priority was paid to corridors connecting the water to the city blocks, interior courtyard spaces providing access to greenery, and value engineering to zoning regulations while optimizing sun orientation.

The tour concluded with a stunning view of the East River and the Manhattan skyline. Tour participants enjoyed drinks and refreshments while viewing photos from other tours around the world via the twitter hashtag #CTBUHWalks.


The New York Global Walking Tour group poses against the Manhattan skyline.