dreams and visions
What's Old Is New Again
If you can craft the hottest park ever from a mile of old rail track, imagine what you could do with a park that spans more than 60 East River blocks.
Right now the esplanade that reaches from 60th to 125th Streets is a bland stretch of pot-holed concrete wedged between the river and the FDR. But what if there were gondolas? And inland canals integrating the Upper East Side and East Harlem? Or a web of boardwalks stretching out into the water? Bridges over the FDR? Kayaking through Hell’s Gate?
We doubt that the city will adopt any of the eight fantastical winners that emerged from the “Reimagining the Waterfront” design competition sponsored by the civic group Civitas, but it would be awesome if they did.
It’s not like Melanie Malkin ever pictured herself living on the Upper East Side, a neighborhood that has, over the past 50 years, all but disappeared from the dreams of the young and the hip.
“I mean, when I first moved up here, I didn’t want to move up here. Never, never, never,” Ms. Malkin said, who grudgingly took a cheap sublet in the neighborhood seven years ago when she was 23 years old and working for MoMA. “Nobody wants to move here. When I tell people I live here, they’re, like, eww.”
But loath as Ms. Malkin was to leave her first apartment on 29th Street, she wasn’t making a lot of money working in the museum world and she found a rent-stabilized one-bedroom on 87th Street between Lexington and Third Avenue that cost $775 a month (it’s now $938 a month). In the early days, she kept telling herself that it was convenient and cheap, but then something unexpected happened.
She started to love the Upper East Side.