Waterside Plaza (1974)
New York, NY


This mega-complex built on pilings in the East River started as a “blue sky” concept envisioned by Lewis Davis and Sam Brody, and became one of the most ambitious mixed-use developments ever realized in New York City.  The four distinctive towers set new standards for residential highrises with their vigorously sculpted forms and graphically striking facades. A public plaza surrounded by shops and offices steps down to the river’s edge, while all service and parking is accommodated in decked sublevels.

The towers, ranging from 31 to 37 stories, are arranged to preserve views from the city to the river. Their pinwheel plans and faceted profiles maximize the number of corner rooms to give residents unparalleled vistas. Construction throughout uses the expressive large-scale masonry units originally developed by Davis Brody & Associates for Riverbend.

Waterside’s independence from the adjacent neighborhood reflects the urban conditions of the 1970s, but its river edge ties into a network of pedestrian and bicycle paths reaching down to Wall Street and up to Harlem. DBA/Davis Brody Bond has updated the public and commercial facilities several times to meet evolving needs, most recently adding a gymnasium complex under sloped skylights.

Davis Brody & Associates partnered with developer Richard Ravitch to realize Waterside, shepherding the concept through an intense multi-year approval process and fast-track construction. Beyond its architectural ambitions, Waterside is an epic success in the intertwined histories of New York City’s real estate and politics.

Richard Ravitch (center) and Lew Davis (right) honored for the project by NYC Mayor John Lindsay (1974)

Richard Ravitch (center) and Lew Davis (right) honored for the project by NYC Mayor John Lindsay (1974)