• PROGRAM:¬†Public Spaces
  • CLIENT: Van Alen Institute
  • PARTNER IN CHARGE: Alessandro Orsini & Nick Roseboro
  • PROJECT ARCHITECT: Giorgia Gerardi
  • TEAM:¬†Simone Catania, Richard W. Off, Anna Laura Pinto

East River Hydrology as a Route of Escape

Escape is an experience that involves space and time, whether for an extended or compressed duration. The experience becomes the fifth dimension of a four-dimensional space-time coordinate system within the urban fabric. The inhabitants of the city interact with the main variables, space and time, in their own local frames. Using an analogy with physics this condition produces a hyperspace, where the main space-time phenomena are the collapse, acceleration and simultaneity.

As a part of the office research focused on urban fabric and social behaviors, the challenge to identify and develop new routes of escapes within and outside the city edge cannot depart from using the natural elements as the main infrastructure. We have identified the east river corridor hydrology as the main organizer of new trajectories to experience two important natural habitats: the coastlines and the green system.

The network will be connecting the New York upper Bay area through the east river with Long Island Sound on the north and on the south with the Rockaways and the natural reserves of Jamaica Bay. Through the water the visitor will be accessing an archipelago of small islands that populate the east river corridor becoming points of attraction as parks and open air art exhibitions. The Green areas nested at the border between Brooklyn and Queens will complete the path connecting the north with the south.

The different speed, simultaneity, acceleration and collapse establish a hierarchical system of the experiences.


This is the most complex system that connects the routes in the Upper New York Bay between Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island, New Jersey and the Rockaways. It is a system where the escape will be focused on Art and Leisure, making the observer experience art, history and nature at the same time. The waterfront parks will be a new opportunity to connect this edge of the city with Governor Island, Ellis Island and Liberty Island.


The middle section of the east river corridor accelerates the connections between Brooklyn, Long Island City, and Manhattan. Facilitating the route is Roosevelt Island a future destination for a science park and for the new Cornell University Tech Campus.


The upper section of the east river is populated with an interesting archipelago of small islands which, abandoned for a very long time, is now the natural habitat for lush vegetation and for birds becoming a protected migration zone for cormorants, egrets, gulls and herons. Focusing on North and South brother Island this route of escape not only connects the waterfront of future developed areas of the Bronx and Queens, but it will constitute an opportunity to create a natural reserve within the city boundary.