It’s summertime again in the Big Apple, which can only mean one thing: The arrival of another starry-eyed campaign that, through the magic of crowdfunding, wants to transform the city’s highly polluted riverways into hip hot weather destinations where bikinis, trashy paperbacks, and vintage neon Nike Aqua Socks rule.
Joining the water-filtering + Pool, a floating swimming pool concept that made serious waves — and scored some serious Kickstarter seed money — back in 2011 and has since garnered the enthusiastic support of New York City officials and Google alike, comes a floating beach concept. Because every floating swimming pool needs a floating stretch of sand to go along with it, right?
Currently seeking $35,000 in startup funding on Indiegogo, City Beach NYC is the brainchild of cretative entrepreneur Blayne Ross who describes the project as being a “park, a community project, a social space, a creative achievement in design, and a platform to create possibility.” Unlike + Pool, there’s no swimming (for now) involved at City Beach NYC per Department of Environmental Conservation rules. Visitors will, however, find a big old expanse of white sand (1,200 cubic yards of it) along with snack bars, showers and outdoor water mister, a noise-muffling/water oxygenating waterfall, a surf shop that rents “luxury lounge chairs” and towels, and sweeping views of Jersey City. You know, typical beach-y stuff.
Also differing from + Pool, which will remain at a fixed location in the East River off of Brooklyn Bridge Park, City Beach NYC to be moored on Manhattan’s West Side in the Hudson River. And although it will stay put during its summertime residency on the Hudson, the faux-beach, built atop a decommissioned river barge to “emulate a relaxed seaside nature,” will be portable by nature — there's the chance it could switch-up piers each summer. During the off-season, the barge would retire to a local shipyard.
Working in collaboration with Workshop/APD and Craft Engineering Studio, Ross envisions the 260-foot-long barge-turned-beach to be a bi-level affair with the umbrella-studded white sand beach itself on the top deck along with local food vendors. Down below on the lower deck, sun-worshippers will find changing rooms, a surf shop/rental kiosk, a full-service bar and restaurant, and an interactive marine science lab and museum for the kids. Exactly how this oasis-on-the-Hudson will be powered has yet to be fleshed out but Ross and his team intend to keep things as green as possible. That is, City Beach NYC will ideally be largely self-sufficient and solar-powered with minimal reliance on shore power.
The floating sand bar will have the capacity to accomodate 700 beach bag-toting urbanites.
The big question, of course, is why considering that New York City is already home to plenty of fabulous, non-artificial beaches — beaches, some more appealing than others, that you can actually swim at without fear of winding up with a gnarly bacterial infection.
As pointed out on the project’s crowdfunding site, Manhattan is without a proper beach and that getting to the city’s non-barge-bound beaches requires traveling to the far reaches of Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island. In other words, beach-going in the big city can be a pain. Explains Ross:
Having a white-sand beach located on the banks of the Hudson River gives access to a favorite summer location without requiring travel to outer boroughs. It’s an exciting time for our waterways in New York. With projects like this, we have the opportunity to create a space that enhances the summer experience in Manhattan and support the city and state waterfront revitalization initiative, improving the quality of life for our residents.
But don't get too excited quite yet, folks. City Beach NYC, which would offer free admission to all, is still very much in the early stages of development. There’s a lot to be worked out, particularly on the engineering and permitting fronts. This first, modest crowdfunding push would enable Ross to hire a dedicated team to further develop the concept. Subsequent campaigns and, at some point, the purchasing of a retired river barge (not cheap, I imagine) will follow.
The total estimated price tag for the project stands at $24 million.
If all goes swimmingly, Ross hopes to have City Beach NYC up and running by the summer of 2016, which, coincidentally is when + Pool is expected to become a reality. Convenient!
You can keep up to speed on the latest developments at the City Beach NYC Twitter account and, of course, back the project at the City Beach NYC Indiegogo campaign page.
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