March 20, 2013
by: Julie Engh Assoc. AIA
Classic Harbor Line's yacht "Manhattan" passes below the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges.Julie Engh
In the Meatpacking District, CR Studio’s zinc-clad FDNY Marine Company 1 sits on Pier 53, while Ennead Architects’ Standard Hotel straddles the High Line, designed by James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Jeanie Miller
Construction on WTC 1, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, is surrounded by the new Goldman Sachs 200 West Street headquarters by Pei Cobb Freed and Partners, and the Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects-designed World Financial Center. Battery Park City’s recreational piers and parks continue the “emerald necklace” of parkland ringing Manhattan.Julie Engh
The Financial District’s Jazz Age towers at 20 Exchange Place (City Bank Farmers Trust Company Building by Cross and Cross, 1931), 70 Pine Street (City Services Building by Clinton and Russell, 1932), and 40 Wall Street (Bank of Manhattan Company Building by H. Craig Severance and Yazuo Matsui, 1932).Julie Engh
Two Trees Management Co. recently purchased the shuttered Domino Sugar Refinery complex on the Williamsburg, Brooklyn, waterfront and enlisted SHoP Architects to envision a mixed-use development of residential and office towers, one of which could become Brooklyn’s tallest.Jeanie Miller
The East River affords views of two the city’s most iconic historic towers, the Empire State Building (Shreve, Lamb and Harmon, 1931) and the Chrysler Building (William Van Alen, 1930), while the contemporary spires of 1 Bryant Park (Cook + Fox Architects, now COOKFOX Architects, 2009), and 4 Times Square (Fox & Fowle Architects, now FXFOWLE, 1999) rise in the background.Julie Engh
On the Brooklyn waterfront, FXFOWLE's Northside Piers’ glassy towers are neighbors to Cass Gilbert's 184 Kent Avenue. Originally constructed in 1914-5 as a warehouse for Austin, Nichols and Company, which was then the world’s largest wholesale grocery business, 184 Kent now houses loft rental apartments.Julie Engh
The Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park was designed by Louis I. Kahn, FAIA, prior to his untimely death in 1974. The project was announced in 1973, but construction began in 2010, guided by Mitchell | Giurgola Architects, and opened to the public October 2012.Julie Engh
Designed by Thomas Balsley Associates with Sowinski Sullivan Architects and Lee Weintraub, Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City features the iconic Pepsi Cola sign which formerly graced Pepsi's Hunter’s Point bottling plant. Julie Engh
The 369thStreet Regiment Armory sits on the northern reaches of Fifth Avenue, visible here from the Harlem River. The rear drill shed portion was built 1921-1924 and designed by architects Tachau and Vought, while the waterfront administration building was constructed between 1930 and 1933 to the designs of architects Van Wart and Wein. The 369thRegiment was formed in 1916 and came to be known as the “Harlem Hell Fighters.”Julie Engh
The High Bridge’s 15 original granite arches were never meant to carry vehicles or people. They were instead constructed as the final link in the Old Croton Aqueduct. In 1928, five of the original arches were replaced with a central steel span, but the Old Croton Aqueduct served New York City from 1842 until 1958, with a peak carrying load of 100 million gallons of water per day. (High Bridge, Chief Engineer John P. Jervis)
Sailing south on the Hudson, Jean Nouvel and Beyer Blinder Belle’s 100 11th Avenue glitters off the Manhattan’s bow, while 1 WTC gleams in the distance.
The Starrett-Lehigh Building (1931, Cory and Cory) was built as a joint venture between the Starrett Investment Corporation and Lehigh Valley Railroad. Built directly over the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company’s freight yard, rail cars could directly access even the building’s uppermost floors via 30-foot elevators.

The “Around Manhattan Official NYC Architectural Boat Tour” guides passengers aboard Classic Harbor Line’s 1920s-style yacht “Manhattan” around New York City’s unofficial sixth borough: its spectacular waterfront. The almost 3-hour cruise circumnavigates Manhattan as AIANY tour guides chronicle the city’s evolution from an industrial, working waterfront into one increasingly focusing on recreational and residential uses.

The tour leaves from Chelsea Piers, a formerly dilapidated transit terminal which was transformed by Butler Rogers Baskett Architects’ design into a bustling mixed-use recreation and entertainment complex on the Hudson River. First into view are Jean Nouvel and Beyer Blinder Belle’s sparkling 100 11th Avenue, with more than 1,650 colorless panes of glass set at unique angles to create a polychromatic effect, and Gehry Partners and Adamson Associates’ headquarters for IAC, with its curving, sail-like façade. Further south, the Financial District’s majestic Art Deco spires harmonize with the gleaming new towers of the new World Trade Center complex by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, and Maki and Associates, along with Pei Cobb Freed and Partners’ 200 West Street, and Gehry Partners ‘ New York by Gehry. Historic monuments are not overlooked, as passengers are graced with spectacular views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the former Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House.

At every turn, efforts to green the waterfront are evident. Passengers get an up-close view of the ever-expanding Michael Van Valkenbergh Associates-designed Brooklyn Bridge Park, which includes the Jean Nouvel-designed Jane’s Carousel enclosure and three new multi-purpose sports fields. Construction is clearly underway on Governors Island’s West 8-led team’s park expansion. Manhattan’s northern reaches are revealed as the vessel passes under the Harlem River’s 13 bridges, many of the operable vertical lift or swing type. New views of historic Highbridge Park and Inwood Hill Park are also discovered. At Swindler’s Cove in East Harlem, Robert A.M. Stern Architects and Armand LeGardeur’s neo-Victorian Peter J. Sharpe Boathouse floats with the tide, anchored to its dock by four piers.

In addition to these highlights, the 2013 tour season will include a Featured Guide Series entitled “Pressure Along the Edge: The Future of NYC’s Waterfront.” Considering the city in a post-Superstorm Sandy era, these tours will enlist NYC waterfront specialists to offer first-hand insights into the intertwined issues of climate and real estate development.

Catherine Seavitt, AIA, LEED AP, architect, landscape architect, and City College of New York professor, will join the tour to share insights from the visionary 2010 study “On the Water: Palisade Bay.” Kate Ascher, author of The Works: Anatomy of a City, will examine waterfront infrastructure from all eras.

The many exciting waterfront projects under development and visible during the tour are ensuring that 2013 will be filled with new additions to New York City’s iconic skyline. The new Whitney Museum by Renzo Piano Building Workshop and Cooper, Robertson and Partners is rising in the Meatpacking District. The Manhattan Districts 1/2/5 Garage by Dattner Architects with WXY Architecture + Urban Design is being clad on Spring Street. Steven Holl Architects’ Campbell Sports Center at Columbia University’s sports complex in Inwood is nearing completion. Bjarke Ingels Group’s W57 pyramid development on West 57th Street is rising. Our sixth borough – transformed once by heavy international industry – is again being transformed, this time by international architects. Take the tour and see this new form of global exchange.

To purchase tickets for future boat tours, visit the AIANY calendar or the Classic Harbor Line ticketing website at

Julie Ann Engh, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP, works in the Architecture Department at Highland Associates, and currently serves as the 2013 AIANYS Associate Director, and is active in the AIANY Emerging New York Architects Committee (ENYA) and the AIANY Architecture Tour Committee.

Event: Around Manhattan Official NYC Architectural Boat Tour
Location: The yacht Manhattan, embarks from Chelsea Piers on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays through the Spring, Summer, and Fall
Tour Guides: Arthur Platt, AIA; Kyle Johnson, AIA; John Kriskiewicz, Assoc. AIA; Julie Engh, Assoc. AIA; Doug Fox, Assoc. AIA; Scott Cook, Assoc. AIA; Gary Van Vliet, AIA; Heidi Han, Assoc. AIA
Organizers: AIANY Architecture Tour Committee and Classic Harbor Line


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