Rather than the usual process of fill and expansion, the reinvigoration of the South Street Seaport relies on the excavation of an historic form. Returning Peck Slip to a water inlet and reengaging the riverfront creates an opportunity for the Seamen’s Church Institute to become a facilitator of open space, public recreation and private meditation for the community. The program is organized along the water edge as it extends from the East River into the city. At the northern edge of the site, a public pier provides access to the water and an amphitheater for outdoor events with the backdrop of the Brooklyn Bridge. A redeveloped block across the street from the Seamen’s Church Institute houses a library, counseling center, and education facilities, as well as a zone for mixed residential development. Located at the end of Peck Slip, the library frames the entry into the Seaport neighborhood, linking the city and water. At the southern end, the public meditation pier continues the line of Peck Slip into the East River and provides access to private sanctuary spaces. The returning of Peck Slip from parking lot to accessible riverfront recreates a lost physical connection to the water and provides a much needed community focal point.
This project was submitted for the 2008 ENYA South Street Seaport International Ideas competition and jury selected for exhibition and publication.