The cafe’s location at the park’s south entry is integrated with playgrounds, landscapes, and a water play area, making it a popular destination with families during warmer months. The building serves as an information center, as well as indoor / outdoor cafe featuring a number of popular NYC food vendors.
The core of the existing structure remains. Now modified, it has expansive river views of lower Manhattan, and an eating area that flows out of two large overhead doors into the new pier landscape. The upper level has been transformed into an observation deck and summer food destination, with unparalleled views of the full length of the 1.3 mile park, Brooklyn Bridge, and the New York City skyline. Access to the roof deck is provided by a wide ramp that wraps around three sides of the building, and is veiled by a densely-spaced timber wood screen salvaged and reused from buildings that were demolished on the site.
As part of an 85-acre visionary parkland project by Michael Van Valkenburg Associates along the East River, the Harborview Cafe project is the result of a collaborative design approach to create an interwoven experience between the park and built forms. A series of diaphanous, unfolding spaces reveal and gesture to the bridge, landforms, water, light, and the city beyond.