Waterside Plaza

Coordinates: 40°44′15″N 73°58′24″W / 40.7374°N 73.9733°W / 40.7374; -73.9733
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

40°44′15″N 73°58′24″W / 40.7374°N 73.9733°W / 40.7374; -73.9733

Three of the four towers of Waterside Plaza seen from the south, with the United Nations International School in the right foreground

Waterside Plaza is a residential and business complex located on the East River in the Kips Bay section of Manhattan, New York City. It was formerly a Mitchell-Lama Housing Program-funded rental project.


Waterside Plaza was built on landfill brought to the US as ships' ballast from the rubble of the city of Bristol in the UK, which was bombed by the Luftwaffe in World War II during the Bristol Blitz.[1][2] The apartment buildings, as well as the neighboring United Nations International School, were constructed on top of platforms supported by over 2,000 concrete piles sunk into the East River.[3] Developed by Richard Ravitch, the first apartment buildings opened in 1973 and the complex was completed the following year.[4][5] The housing development received the Construction Achievement Project of the Year Award from the Metropolitan Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1974.[6] There were plans to build additional above-water apartments, offices, and a hotel in the 1980s, but environmental concerns and community opposition doomed the project.[7]

In 2004, Waterside Management Company LLC launched a three-year capital improvement program with a cost in excess of $35 million. The capital improvement program included upgrades to all new apartments as they became vacant as well as all hallways and each building's reception and concierge areas. The plaza itself was re-waterproofed and repaved and extensive park-like landscaping added. The health club, parking facilities, and security system were also upgraded.


The complex is made up of four residential towers as well as a row of duplex townhouses, clad in red brickwork, that encompass a large plaza overlooking the East River. There are 1,470 residential units along with a health club (open to non-residents) and a parking garage.[8] Waterside Plaza's retail space is occupied by a Gristedes supermarket and several other shops. The British International School of New York also rents several large commercial spaces in the complex. The United Nations International School is next to Waterside.

Waterside seen from the middle of the East River

Waterside is accessible to vehicles only by entering from 23rd Street. Cars and trucks leaving Waterside can do so via 23rd Street or driving along a service road to 34th Street. A footbridge at East 25th Street allows safe passage across the FDR Drive to the west. Waterside also contains the first two stops on the M34A Select Bus Service route.

Waterside is Manhattan's only residential complex located east of the FDR Drive.[3] The East River Greenway passes between the two. The waterfront south of Waterside Plaza, Stuyvesant Cove Park, which is part of the Greenway, includes a small manmade land mass extending out into the East River, which was created from excess cement dumped into the river.[9]

Architectural significance[edit]

Waterside Plaza was designed by the architecture firm of Davis, Brody & Associates, who also designed its sister development, River Park Towers.[10][11] In 2001, The New York Times architectural critic Herbert Muschamp described Waterside as a "great urban composition" that is "picturesque and historically informed."[12]

In 1975, Waterside won the Albert S. Bard Award for Distinguished Architecture and Urban Design. A year later, it won an Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects.[13] In 2004, the Municipal Art Society placed Waterside on its "30 Under 30", a watch list of future landmarks.[14][15]


Waterside Plaza hosts year-round events that are free and open to the public. The most popular are the outdoor summer concerts in July and the outdoor Monday night movies in August.

In 2008, Waterside Plaza hosted the Make Music New York festival, during which 17 bands performed concerts on three different stages – on the waterside, in the gardens, and on the plaza. Other events include monthly playreadings, a short play festival, a dance festival, a spring flea market, and an electronic recycling day.

Notable events include P. F. Chang's holding of a charity event on the roof of one of Waterside's high rise buildings on June 28, 2010, during which professional golfers Annika Sörenstam, Briny Baird and Don Vickery took turns driving golf balls at a target floating in the East River. The event raised a total of $100,000 for several charities including the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.[16]


  1. ^ Pollak, Michael (June 28, 2009). "Not in Their Backyard". The New York Times. Retrieved July 13, 2019.
  2. ^ "Waterside Plaza's Fortierth Anniversary Celebration". Waterside Plaza. Archived from the original on December 27, 2014. Retrieved December 26, 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Waterside Plaza History". Waterside Management Company. Archived from the original on October 28, 2011. Retrieved October 15, 2011.
  4. ^ Fried, Joseph P. (September 13, 1973). "After Nearly 12 Years of Obstacles, Waterside Housing Opens on River". The New York Times. p. 49. Retrieved July 4, 2010.
  5. ^ Pristin, Terry (April 13, 1999). "'Small Town' With Big-City Woes; Tenant-Landlord Fight Taints Innovative Waterside Plaza". The New York Times. Retrieved July 4, 2010.
  6. ^ "Construction Achievement Project of the Year Award". ASCE Metropolitan Section. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  7. ^ Stamler, Bernard (October 26, 1997). "Park to Grow on the Ashes of the Riverwalk Plan". The New York Times. Retrieved July 12, 2009.
  8. ^ Lambert, Bruce (June 5, 1994). "Worries at Waterside". The New York Times. Retrieved July 4, 2010.
  9. ^ Kinetz, Erika (January 13, 2002). "Rock Outcropping or Rubble? No One's Neutral on Old Cement". The New York Times. Retrieved July 12, 2009.
  10. ^ Goldberger, Paul (1981). The Skyscraper. New York: Knopf. p. 135. ISBN 0-394-50595-6.
  11. ^ Vanable, Ife (March 2018). "Working the Middle: Harlem River Park Towers and Waterside Plaza". The Avery Review. Retrieved April 4, 2023.
  12. ^ Muschamp, Herbert (October 5, 2001). "For Rebuilders, Inspiration All Around". The New York Times. Retrieved July 2, 2010.
  13. ^ "Waterside Housing Complex". Davis Brody Bond Architects. Retrieved October 15, 2011.
  14. ^ "30 Under 30: The Watch List of Future Landmarks" (PDF). Municipal Art Society. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 6, 2011. Retrieved October 15, 2011.
  15. ^ "Waterside Plaza Architecture". Waterside Management Company. Archived from the original on October 28, 2011. Retrieved October 15, 2011.
  16. ^ Paddock, Barry (June 30, 2010). "Pro golfer Annika Sorenstam tries hand at driving golf balls from Manhattan skyscraper – for charity". Daily News. New York. Retrieved July 12, 2010.

External links[edit]