Located on the upper east side of Manhattan, Highbridge Park was selected as that borough’s representative project in New York City’s Anchor Parks Program. This effort, sponsored by the Mayor’s Office and NYC Parks and Recreation, invests $30 million in one park in each of the five boroughs.
An in-depth master planning process was undertaken for the park’s entire 130 acres. Led by landscape architects, a multi-disciplinary team was assembled for the effort. Community visioning sessions were held early in the process, giving voice to the participants’ aspirations. The park’s history and cultural context were investigated from which a timeline of site development was prepared. A thorough inventory and analysis was undertaken which identified recreation facilities, and character-defining elements and overall ecology.
The master plan offered recommendations for long-term and short-term park development. One of the major constraints identified is a lack of connectivity throughout the park’s length. One long term goal thus put forward is the introduction of structured walkways to allow circulation to occur through the entire site. Shorter term goals have resulted in Phase 1 and Phase 2 projects. Phase 1 includes the reconstruction of the historic Grand Staircase, which will provide access from the community to the park, as well as new pathways, site lighting and new planting. Phase 2 includes the reconstruction of the Adventure Playground including a much-requested comfort station. Numerous, engaging play opportunities will occur in this space including a spray shower area.