HIGH ON GOVS Island
An ambitious plan to build a $125 million aerial gondola system connecting Governors Island to Manhattan and Brooklyn looks ready to fly, a top city official said yesterday. While on hand to help announce that a Dutch design team was chosen to create 90 acres of new parkland on the long-dormant island, Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff said prospects of getting the once pie-in-the-sky gondola plan off the ground also look good.
“Based on what we’ve seen so far, it is definitely feasible,” he said.
The gondola proposal, first reported by The Post in January 2006, would connect the historic 172-acre island to Pier 6 off Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn and to the Battery Marine Terminal in lower Manhattan. It would also give New Yorkers a more scenic option of commuting between Brooklyn and Manhattan.
The city-state Governors Island Preservation and Education Corp. is about a month away from getting long-awaited results of a technical and financial feasibility study of the futuristic-looking gondola plan to be designed by renowned architect Santiago Calatrava, and the results will ultimately determine the project’s fate.
Currently, the only way to Governors Island is by ferry and water taxi.
Doctoroff was joined yesterday at the White hall Ferry Ter minal by Gov. Spitzer, Mayor Bloomberg and other top officials in announcing that a team led by Netherlands-based West 8 was selected to transform the former military base into one of the world’s greatest open spaces.
The $200 million city-state project will include a 40-acre park on the south end, a 2.2-mile promenade encircling the island and smaller parks in the historic north end.
West 8 group’s unique plan includes letting the public use 3,000 wooden bikes that they could ride along a looping pathway to experience breathtaking views of the Statue of Liberty and New York Harbor.
They also want to create an amphitheater overlooking the Statue of Liberty, a botanical forest with magnificent sculptures, plant new 3,000 trees on the island, and use recycled materials to create artificial hills for the one-of-a-kind panoramic views.
The materials will come from former military buildings on the south end that will be demolished next year to make way for the park, which is expected to be complete in 2013.
Adriaan Geuze, founder of West 8, said the company’s Dutch background made including bicycles in the plan a no-brainer.
“I am from Holland, where bicycles are an important part of street life, and everybody bikes,” he said. “You could never walk the entire island, but the bikes will help get people to experience more of the island and go anywhere they want to.”
Bloomberg said he was particularly impressed by the bike theme, joking “it’s a great idea; you don’t have to worry about them being stolen” because “you can’t take them anyplace” off the island.
Spitzer called the project “a once-in-a-century opportunity” to tap the island’s enormous potential.