There's been a lot of ink, virtual and otherwise, already spilled on Governors Island. But today, NY Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff proclaimed that the new site "could well become the most inspired public park built here in generations." He also said the plan is "humble in scale but big on ambition."
But didn't he say last spring that the designs lacked ambition? Hmm. We have to give him this: Of the five proposals, he did say that the winning design was the "most thoughtful."
Designers Diller Scofidio & Renfro (of High Line fame), Rogers Marvel Architects (which worked on those bollards in Lower Manhattan and the Mulberry Street Public Library), West 8 and Quennell Rothschild & Partners capitalized on the area's advantages, he wrote. He was referring to the old warehouses on the Brooklyn waterfront, the lower Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty views. The Times critic also calls the island's isolation "a virtue."
The plan, covering about one-quarter of the 172-acre island, divides it into four sectors, anchored by a great lawn with the harbor in the background. There will also be a treeline promenade along the island's edge and a saltwater marsh on the southern tip. Ouroussoff embraces the man-made landscapes, including the artificial "mountain range" (made from the rubble of demolished barracks), what he describes as a "skyline of sorts."