In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, WXY was commissioned by NYC Parks and the NYCEDC to rebuild the Rockaway boardwalk and to develop a conceptual plan to improve existing parks across the Peninsula. These two projects—the ongoing reconstruction of the boardwalk and a long-term vision for Rockaway’s parks—uniquely integrate resiliency and recreation in the area’s rich history as a recreational destination and vital New York neighborhood.
Newly-designed access points together with a unique wayfinding system, clarify and improve the boardwalks’ circulation. Its 40-foot width consists of sand-colored concrete planks, cast in waves and speckled with colored tumbled glass. Framed by graceful steel railings and boasting contemporary bench seating and other amenities, the planks’ pattern mirrors the sinuous coastline and incorporates blue planks as the pixels of new supersized font that announces the identity of this community. In the evening, the idea of being on the shore is reinforced by “glow-in-the dark” aggregate embedded in the blue planks, evoking the bioluminescence in the ocean.
RECREATION & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
The Rockaways’ sandy beaches are a recreational destination that attract millions of New Yorkers in the summer each year. The reconstruction of the boardwalk is critical to the sustained economic vitality of the peninsula, and the area will continue to grow for visitors and residents alike, with the auxiliary programs proposed in the Conceptual Plan.
LEISURE & RESILIENCY
The project is intended to create a more protected and active peninsula. The new reinforced concrete boardwalk is elevated above the 100-year floodplain, and is supplemented with over four and a half miles of retaining walls and planted sand dunes. Along its length, the boardwalk is dotted with amenities and places to rest and gather.
IDENTITY & PLACE
The Rockaways is comprised of distinct neighborhoods that are connected by the peninsula’s shoreline. The new boardwalk design responds to the immediate context of these neighborhoods, as well as the Rockaways’ larger role as a recreational destination for all New York City residents. The materials, details and graphics of the boardwalk are designed to reinforce the peninsula’s strong identity.
New York City Economic Development Corporation
Design Award, Society of American Registered Architects