The Big Apple's Big Plans for the Future

If you’re a New York City resident, chances are you’ve seen the article the Huffington Post published – ” This Is What New York City Could Look Like In 2033.”  Personally, I love this stuff.  The city of New York and all these private investors have visions of grandeur and dream of revolutionizing Manhattan.  Some of these projects are capital works like the new Penn Station, the new World Trade Center, and the Low Line Park, while others are mainly funded privately like Cornell’s planned campus expansion on Roosevelt Island and Williamsburg’s Bedford Avenue.  New York is the kind of city that requires constant growth.  It fuels our economy, provides jobs, enhances property values and often contributes a great deal to our skyline. That being said, I wholeheartedly support some of these ideas. I’m even excited about them.

Penn Station is the literally the gateway to hell.  Ascend down those escalators into a hallway of architectural disappointment and sub-par fast food and pizza.  In every eye shot there is a guarantee of drunken 20-somethings, or police officers dealing with a homeless person. Three different rail lines operate out of Penn – the Long Island Railroad, New Jersey Transit and Amtrak. In contrast, the other major rail station across town, Grand Central, operates only the Metro-North Railroad.  It’s not just me that seems odd to, right?  Luckily the city wised up and began an $8 billion project to divert some LIRR trains to Grand Central, known as East Side Access.  Brilliant.  Estimated date of completion? 2019.

I’ve seen images on the internet of the old Penn Station boasting beautiful wrought iron arches and tons of natural sunlight.  Honestly I have no idea what happened, but the proposed new Penn Station looks like a glorified version.  It’s super new age and modern looking, with several mezzanine levels and a glass ceiling – fancy.  As an infrequent, yet occasional rider of both the LIRR and Amtrak, a new Penn Station would reduce a great deal of stress when I do in fact have to utilize its services. However, I wouldn’t expect too much to happen too soon.  Madison Square Garden, tactfully placed atop Penn has been given 10 years to find a new location, so these projects go hand in hand.

One of the wetter ideas New York has ever had, +POOL intends to filter East River water and create a 285,000 gallon swimming pool between Manhattan and Brooklyn.  The prototype alone cost $270,000.   In my opinion, this is something of an unnecessary investment.  There are plenty of public pools in the city and beaches close enough to satisfy your Vitamin D and aquatic needs.  That being said, +POOL does bring with it a lot of good.  +POOL is designed to filter river that it floats in through the walls of the pool, making it possible for New Yorkers to swim in clean river water for the first time in 100 years. The pool will clean up to half a million gallons of river water every day, and in doing so, +POOL will make a considerable contribution to the rivers of New York City.  They have also come up with a really fun and creative way to tile (and fund) the pool – by having people purchase them, and have a word or phrase etched on it.  Prices for tiles range from a sensible and modest $25 to $10,000.  

One of the most dense and expensive works on this list is the expansion of Cornell University on Roosevelt Island.  They have plans to sink an astonishing $2 billion into what they’re calling a “mega-campus.”  The architects predict that the main building will produce as much energy as it consumes, which means to me, (disclaimer: I’m not a scientist) the university will have absolutely zero affect on the environment.  What I’m wondering though, is what will happen to the residential buildings already on Roosevelt Island?  Where will they go?  Also, getting to and from the island is no picnic.  The F train is the only subway that stops there, and it is only accessible by car from Queens.  The real zinger, though, is the estimated year of completion – 2037.  What’s the rush, right?

Well there you have it.  There are 14 other works happening, but I don’t want to ramble on forever, so read on here! Personally, I’ll believe that these projects are happening when I see them.  They’re exciting endeavors that will bring a lot of joy and prosperity to the city that never sleeps.


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