Manhattan has 32 miles of accessible waterfront, and traditionally these spaces have acted as gateways for the comings and goings of its inhabitants. The river portals have largely brought food and other goods in while the resulting end product of trash is sent off the island. One of these waste management points used to be the West 135th Street marine transfer station, along the Hudson River in Harlem.
Recent development projects in New York City have celebrated the link to the Hudson and East Rivers, providing new parks and better access to relax and play by the water. Yet few of these projects address the challenges of the city's current system of importing food and exporting waste. A biennial design ideas competition put forward by the American Institute for Architects New York Chapter's Emerging New York Architect (ENYA) program builds on this potential. "While there's been a lot of improvement along the waterfront, certainly along Hudson River, this site is one that's a missing link," AIA President Joseph Aliotta said.
Open to emerging professionals and students with less than ten years of experience, 98 entries from 16 countries addressed the opportunities provided by the decommissioned building. An accompanying exhibition at the Center for Architecture, "The Harlem Edge: Cultivating Connections," provides visitors with a variety of information to explore, from proposal models and images to a library filled with books on the importance of the waterfront.