View film trailer here.
A solo dancer inhabits this odd beach, which extends into the East River at Stuyvesant Cove Park (East 20th Street).
The footage, shot during a spectacular dawn on the last day of summer 2016, follows an explorer on an intimate journey in this eclectic ecosystem amid the vastness of New York City.
It is a love song to one moment in the city’s ever-changing landscape.
THE FILM aims to document and revel in this special place, a kind of secret hiding in plain sight. The accompanying exhibit tells the beach’s backstory, which is completely unknown to most visitors. That piece of waterfront was a major concrete factory in the mid-20th century, then a city-promoted real estate development site (“Riverwalk”) that was contested by nearby residents who feared being cut off from the East River by five large towers.
After a lengthy civic process between residents and city and state officials, the development was defeated, a park planned, and then built. A separate years-long debate over whether to keep or remove the “rocky outcrop,” or beach, was finally resolved in the beach’s favor. With the continuing involvement of the community, plus the park manager, the nonprofit Solar One, Stuyvesant Cove Park has flourished.
The Team chose to move forward on a fast schedule, with no budget, because the beach stands on the brink of more change. At least three major alterations to the landscape were in the works when production began: A new ferry stop for East 20th Street, immediately south of the beach; a reworking of the entire lower Manhattan waterfront, for storm resiliency via the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project; and the low-rise Brooklyn waterfront, already dotted with towers, will continue to climb toward the sky.
In 2019, the ferries are running, the Brooklyn and Queens skylines grow every day, and the East River Park, just south of Stuyvesant Cove, is slotted for closure soon for coastal reconstruction.