THE BIG U: LOOPING IN THE EAST RIVER
Calling all cyclists…have we got news for you!
By TAMARA GLENNY
In 2017 the city breaks ground on the East Side’s first stage of an ambitious barrier system aimed at making Manhattan less vulnerable to weather disasters. The ultimate goal is a protective loop (the “Big U”), stretching from 57th Street on the West Side to 42nd on the East, which will be designed by Danish architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group. Hopes are high that the plan—a grassy berm with trees and flowers, à la High Line—will further improve the public spaces bordering the East River. “We could have built walls,” says Bjarke Ingels’ Kai-Uwe Bergmann, “but walls are only used .01 percent of the time, during crises. We wanted something that was aesthetically pleasing, well designed and useful all the time.”
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