March 2003 - Capital Project of the Month
Allan Scholl: Project Manager
Renata Sokolowski and Wim De Ronde: Landscape Architecture
Reza Mashayekhi: Structural Engineering
Tohamy Bahr: Environmental Engineering
Magary Aime and Michael Enitan: Electrical Engineering
Susan Coker: Specifications & Estimating
Dennis Toole: CADD
Dominick Cusumano and Sandra Wansley: Survey
FUNDING: This project is funded by New York State DOT. NYC Parks and Recreation is restoring the original park that was removed in the 1920's during the construction of the Holland Tunnel.
Location: The park is located in the southern part of Borough of Manhattan, bordered between Canal Street North and Canal Street South, and between West Street (Route 9A) and Washington Street. It is politically located within Council District #1 and Community Boards #1 and #2.
Estimated Beginning of Construction: Summer 2003 with a contract duration of 18 months.
The area where Canal Park is being constructed, was formerly a wetland. A stream ran from the Collect Pond (near today's Foley Square) and flowed down present day Canal Street into the Hudson (North) River. Through land grants and water rights, areas were given to individuals with the condition that the land be drained. This occurred here, and the wetland was drained and the area became known as Lispenard's Meadow. With the establishment of Canal Street and its active pier on the river, the area became developed. In 1807, all the public squares were mapped and the street grid pattern was established. This is one of the oldest city squares in Manhattan with the city's title to the land granted by James II in the Dogan Charter of 1686.
By 1833, the land bounded by Canal, Hoboken, West and Washington Streets was being used as a public country market. This activity was formalized in 1849 when the Clinton Country Market opened. It continued until 1860 when the Clinton Country Market was torn down. In 1871, the first formal 'park' was designed and installed. The M. A. Kellogg/I. A. Pilat Plan put in sidewalks, a perimeter fence (relocated City Hall fence), and planted the park with trees and shrubs. The interior planted area of the park did not allow public access. At this time the pavement surrounding the Park was used for the city's Flower Market.
In 1888, Calvert Vaux and Samuel Parsons Jr. redesigned the park. The Park was opened up with a distinctively shaped path and other features added like benches and lighting. Pedestrians could now enter into the park and it became an attractive and popular oasis down by the busy waterfront. This design was written about and published numerous times. The park was removed after 1921 when the Canal Street Park site was loaned to the NY\NJ Bridge and Tunnel Authority. This was to be for four years in order to construct the Holland Tunnel with the condition of restoring and returning Canal Street Park upon completion. The restoration of the park never occurred and in 1930 . Since its disappearance from the city landscape in the 1920's, rumors remained in the neighborhood that there once was a park at Canal Street. Local residents began to organize. Through perseverance, research and dedication, the park that was removed is now being restored.
The new Canal Park will continue the legacy of the former park that was removed for the construction of the Holland Tunnel. It will bring back numerous elements and features of the previous park. While accommodating current conditions, it will expand, and further the new park's status as a prominent New York City park. Past features such as the ornamental fence, granite bollards, hoof benches, and the distinctively shaped central pathway that flowed through the park are incorporated into the new park design.
The Canal Park is approximately twice the size of the former. Due to the existence of significant utility obstacles, the park will be raised over a foot above the existing grade. Some of the new features include granite sidewalks and curbing, interior ornamental fences, cobblestone street tree planting strips, cast iron bollards, and hexagonal asphalt block pavement. A granite planter with historic images is located near the tip of the triangle. The planting is all irrigated and consists of lawn and plant beds of mixed trees, shrubs, perennials and bulbs. Upon completion of the park, there will be ornamental fences, granite pavement and curbing, distinctive features, green lawns and a combination of evergreen and flowering plants to provide an overall pleasing park setting.