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Downing Pier

architectural design proposal

Downing Pier represents the significance of oysters as the conduit of time and reflection throughout history. Oysters tell the story of Thomas Downing, the owner of the most successful oyster restaurant in New York City in the mid 1800’s. Oyster dives were very popular in African American neighborhoods in New York, therefore becoming the first Black industry in the city. Downing achieved this during the era of slavery as a former slave, helping to rescue African Americans as a stop on the Underground Railroad.

The design of Downing Pier draws upon and pays respect to Thomas Downing’s story through the symbolism of its forms and efforts to educate its visitors. It is a place for the New York City community and visitors to learn about this story and feel a sense of connection to the past, a place to engage with the waterfront and observe strategies for increasing coastal resilience, to relax, eat, meander, sit, play, entertain, and reflect.

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