City Beach NYC: A floating beach park for Manhattan

city beach nyc manhattan floating new york city beach
Blayne Ross has proposed turning an old shipping barge into City Beach NYC, a floating park that would dock somewhere on the Hudson River.
Credit: workshop/apd

Blayne Ross has a beachin’ idea for Manhattan.

The 38-year-old founder of City Beach NYC wants to build a $24 million floating beach park that will dock somewhere on the Hudson River.

“Manhattan definitely needs a beach,” said Ross, a real estate developer who lives in SoHo. 

The island doesn’t have have any sandy shores now. But if Ross’ plan works, an old shipping barge would become City Beach, a park complete with three restaurants, a surf shop and 1,200 cubic yards of sand where sunbathers could lounge and enjoy 360-degree city views.

Ross said he first came up with the idea in spring 2012 while hanging out with friends at Christopher Street Pier overlooking the Hudson.

“We had towels with us but no beach,” he said.

city beach nyc manhattan floating new york city beach
City Beach NYC would have restaurants, a surf shop and a marine science lab for children.
Credit: workshop/apd

The goal is to make City Beach free and open to the public, accommodating between 500 and 700 bathers. Along with the 220-by-72-foot beach, the park – shaped like a giant potato chip – would have a science lab where kids can learn about the Hudson River’s history and marine life. 

There’s no plans for water access, but a waterfall surrounding the barge would drown out sounds of the city.

“We didn’t want to create just another New York experience,” said the project’s lead designer, Matthew Berman, 42.

The barge would be open during the summer and towed into storage for the winter and weather emergencies. As for nervous New Yorkers, the project’s structural engineer Nathaniel Stanton said there would be nothing safer than City Beach.

From the barge sinking to floating or blowing away, “We’ve dreamt up everything that we could worry about,” Stanton, 42, said.

city beach nyc manhattan floating new york city beach
City Beach NYC would have waterfalls to drown out noise.
Credit: workshop/apd

Ross hopes to open City Beach by summer 2016, but several city agencies and groups would need to approve the proposal. The project’s first phase aims to raise community awareness and funds to move the plans to the next level, when larger investors and support from the officials would be sought out.

The project’s Indiegogo campaign, which launched June 22, has raised about $5,600 as of Sunday. But failing to meet the $35,000 campaign goal by July 22 won’t stop City Beach, Ross said.

“It’s projects like this that keep New York on the cutting edge,” he said.

For more information, check out the project’s fundraising site. And here’s the video pitch for City Beach NYC:

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter @AnnaESanders


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