Stuyvesant Cove Park is a 1.9 acre sustainably-managed open green space, located along the East River between 18th and 23rd streets. Designed by an architect with the philosophy that the built environment should match the natural environment it inhabits, the Park’s design has many features that create a clean, green open space. Running alongside the Bike Path, located under the FDR Drive and next door to Manhattan’s busiest gas station, the Park is an oasis of green in New York City’s sea of concrete.
The land around Stuyvesant Cove was formerly used as a concrete factory, then as an industrial lot, and finally reclaimed in a lengthy community battle to preserve waterfront access, maintain the urban environment and create a Park with an environmental education center. This battle is a rare success story in New York City’s notorious real estate wars, representing an important triumph for civic values and community land use. Park before-and-after photos.
Stuyvesant Cove Park provides New Yorkers with an enjoyable green space for diverse recreation, and hosts a summer-long array of solar-powered Arts & Events, including free Family Days with demonstrations focusing on native plants and local wildlife, and activities like making ice cream from berries harvested in the Park. With an uninterrupted view of the water, the Park is a cool breezy respite from the City — and part of a continuous greenway from lower midtown to the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
Stuyvesant Cove Park is home to a surprisingly large array of wildlife. The National Wildlife Federation designated Stuyvesant Cove Park as Wildlife Habitat #50805, based on NWF’s standards: “Conscientious planning, landscaping and sustainable gardening, wildlife may find quality habitat-food, water, cover and places to raise their young.” Solar One staff see cormorants and other waterbirds, as well as the occasional harbor seal. There is an Oyster Garden in Stuyvesant Cove, started by Solar One with New Jersey Baykeeper, and maintained in an effort to repopulate the Cove with the pollution-eating mollusks. Landscaped with indigenous flowers, berries and other plants, the Park showcases species like such as Echinacea, Amelanchier, Viburnum, Asclepias, Chasmanthium, and many more. Check out the Park Gallery.
The Park’s biodiversity attracts dozens of native birds, including Swamp sparrow, Song sparrow, Gray Catbird, Barn Swallow, Brant, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Hermit Thrush, Golden Crowned Kinglet, Dark-eyed Junco, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Robin, Yellowthroat, Palm Warbler, Savannah Sparrow, White-crowned sparrow, Black-throated Green Warbler, Tree Sparrow, and Mockingbird. Waterfowl abound, and species regularly sighted include Great Black-backed Gull, Mute and Trumpet Swans, Ruddy Ducks, Double Crested Cormorants, Buffleheads, Red-Breasted Mergansers, Lesser Scaups, Red Throated Loon, and Ring-Billed Gulls. Fisherman can regularly be found in the Park, often catching bluefish, striped bass, and other species. And, the Park is also a welcoming habitat for the annual migration of Monarch butterflies, providing food and shelter on their annual 4,000-mile journey to their winter home in Mexico.
Stuyvesant Cove Park is maintained organically using only Integrated Pest Management; it is primarily gardened with hand tools and the sweat and dedication of staff and volunteers. The benefits of a sustainable maintenance plan are a reduction in fossil fuel consumption and emissions, and elimination of dependence on chemical fertilizers and pesticides. We carefully pull weeds by hand to minimize soil and root disruption, use non-toxic soy based graffiti removal products, and strive to minimize our imprint on the park and its inhabitants.
Solar One maintains the Park with the help of close to 150 volunteers and student interns. Each year, volunteers from the Stuyvesant Cove Park Association, NYC Service, NY Cares, and other organizations join our staff to weed, mulch, shovel snow, prepare beds, clean graffiti, and otherwise make the Park a beautiful place. If you are interested in working in the Park, email park[at]solar1[dot]org.
For more information on the Park, including how to volunteer, contact Park staff here (choose Park from drop down).