The American Copper Buildings, and New Views from the East River

This post provides a few snapshots of the changing New York waterfront from the perspective of a recent ferry ride in the East River.

I ventured over to E. 34th Street this week, hoping to jump on one of the new ferry boats in the NYC Ferry service. One of the new boats was out of commission that day, so I reluctantly took one of the older ferries on the East River route to Pier 11 Wall Street. (The East River Ferry, no longer in service, is now part of the expanded NYC Ferry.) If I had picked another route, say the new Rockaway trip, I could have sailed on one of the new boats. Alas. I’ll wait for a good beach day.

Leaving E. 34th Street on the East River ferry route. The joined angled buildings to the left of center are the American Copper Buildings.

If you’re not familiar with the East River route, the ferries typically travel between E. 34th Street and Pier 11 Wall Street with stops on the other side of the East River at Hunters Point South in Long Island City,  Greenpoint, north and south Williamsburg, and Brooklyn Bridge Park (DUMBO). In summer, the ferry stops at Governors Island. A popular commuter route, the trip also attracts many visitors. It’s even more of a bargain now, since a one-way ticket costs the same as a regular bus or subway ride.

Though I didn’t have the pleasure of riding on one of the new boats, I still saw many new things.

Hi, Empire State Building. I see you back there on 34th Street. The structure on the left is the base of the American Copper Buildings.

Greetings, American Copper Buildings. The new pair of residential towers from JDS Development and SHoP Architects at 626 First Avenue in Kips Bay looks particularly dramatic from the East River. The buildings offer over 700 rental units. Some 160 units were made available through the city’s housing lottery (application process closed). The skybridge between the two towers features a swimming pool on one level and a lounge on another. Swimming would be fun there, I think.

Park area at Hunters Point South

Hunters Point South in Queens is the first stop on the East River ferry route traveling from E. 34th Street downtown. The landing is next to Gantry Plaza State Park, a place worth exploring for the history of the old railroad car float cranes (the gantries) and the enormous Pepsi-Cola sign from 1936. Since my last visit, the waterside park areas have filled out nicely, with an outdoor cafe, LIC Landing.

Skipping ahead to Pier 11 at Wall Street, here’s a picture of the fresh new look of rush hour in New York.

Passengers waiting for ferry service at Pier 11 Wall Street. 4:30 p.m. May 2, 2017.

Images by Walking Off the Big Apple from May 2, 2017.

Directions: If traveling to the ferry landing on E. 34th Street, take the crosstown M34 bus to the last stop. Or, walk.

Resources:
NYC Ferry website
American Copper Buildings website

The easiest way to buy ferry tickets is through the NYC Ferry app.

Related on Walking Off the Big Apple:
The New Waterfront: Gantry Plaza State Park, Long Island City (2013)
• For a comparable architectural development on the west side of Manhattan, see VIA 57 WEST and a Walk on the Far West Side. (2017)

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About Walking Off the Big Apple



Walking Off the Big Apple features self-guided tours to neighborhoods, streets, cultural history, good books, architecture, museums, parks, landscapes, and offbeat travel experiences in New York City.

Older posts will sometimes be updated to reflect relevant changes in the city, i.e. store or restaurant closings or transit information.

Writer and editor Teri Tynes created Walking Off the Big Apple in the summer of 2007. Email: teritynes@gmail.com.