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A Tribute to Ann Breen

In the River Action Inc. Eddy Magazine

May 2017 Newsletter

 Waterfront Center Celebrates 36th Birthday
and the 30th Annual Awards Program
33rd Annual International Conference

    The Waterfront Center was founded on May 1, 1981, almost 4 decades ago and we pause to thank everyone who has supported us over all these years. Plus we want to also acknowledge the people from all over the globe we have met at our conferences and in our consulting practice. We hope many of you will join us in Yuma, Arizona for our 33rd international conference on waterfront planning, development and culture, January 25-27, 2018. Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area is the co-sponsor. 
    Urban Waterfronts 33: WATER: The Defining Force - Challenges for the 21st Century will be headquartered at the Hilton Garden Inn and Conference Center. A block of rooms has been set aside at the rate of $139. The hotel overlooks the Colorado River and has a pool. An optional all-day pre-conference workshop will  also be offered Thursday January 25.
     The Excellence on Waterfront Awards Program was initiated in 1987 to recognize top quality waterfront projects and plans. This year's ceremony/mini-conference, reception and gala dinner will take place September 8 at the Churchill Hotel in Washington, D.C. Details will soon be featured on the website. We will plan a special gala in honor of the program's 30th anniversary. 
The deadline for submittals: postmarked June 30, 2017
Websites of Note
    Recently on Planetizen's site I noted a job opening of possible interest to waterfront folk: Director of Planning at Boston Harbor Now. ( Boston Harbor Now is a relatively new non-profit bringing together two long-standing non-profits: Boston Harbor Islands and The Boston Harbor Association. Kathy Abbott is the executive director. Their address is 15 State Street, #1100 Boston, Mass. 02109.
     Interested in city news? Check out and you'll find lots of tidbits.
 Waterfront Center Board Member News
David Benn sent this along: The partners and principals of Cho Benn Holback + Associates are pleased to announce that we are joining the acclaimed architectural firm of QuinnEvans Architects, effective May 1. Established in 1984, Quinn Evans is known for its award-winning civic, cultural, educational, and commercial building portfolio, with particular expertise in historic preservation and community revitalization. CBH+A will operate as Cho Benn Holback, a Quinn Evans Company, and we will remain in our N. Charles Street office.

Fran Hegeler has joined SWA Group as corporate director of marketing and communications in their Bay Area office. Fran has served on our board from when she worked for Wallace Roberts and Todd in Philadelphia and later when she joined AECOM in San Francisco. She can be reached at

Al Copp and Dick Wagner - in Memoriam
    I am sad to report the waterfront world has lost two more stalwarts. We honor their lengthy careers dedicated to waterfronts.
 Al Copp
    Al Copp  was a major figure with a distinguished waterfront career in Baltimore working as a planner and president of the Charles Center-Inner Harbor Corporation.More recently he was a serious winemaker. His wife, Laurie Schwarz, is head of the Waterfront Partnership and was on hand to get the top honor for the Water Wheel. See obituary HERE
 Dick Wagner
    Dick Wagner, founder of the Center for Wooden Boats on Lake Union in Seattle, was a real pioneer in maritime education and wooden boats - their use and the craft of building them. The Center's educational programming was far-reaching.  See Dick's obituary HERE. He and his wife received a well-deserved Clearwater Award. Go HERE and enter Wooden Boats into the search box for more detail.

Late April 2017 Newsletter

 Important Marches Coming Up
Saturday, April 22 Earth Day and March for Science
Saturday, April 29, People's Climate March
    Earth Day and March for Science are joining forces for events all around the country. We are hoping many of you will turn out in your community/region or here in Washington where a  monumental crowd could well assemble. 
    We received notice from the Environmental Defense Fund and the Adirondack Council to join them on April 29. To register visit: or call 800 684 3322. Looks like there will be events not just in Washington but throughout the country.
 BOSTON - Plans Afoot for "Jawdropping Park"
 Our good friend Charlotte DeWitt from Boston sent us this link about plans for major new public space around the harbor. Boston was one of the early pioneers in the waterfront phenomenon and they just keep on rolling on. A non-profit group Trustees of the Reservations plans to spearhead this ambitious project.
 BALTIMORE - Light City
     Baltimore, another of those pioneering waterfront cities, just staged a nine-day Festival of Light, Music and Innovation (March 31-April 8). So when the aforesaid Charlotte emailed that she wanted us join her in Charm City to experience the festival, how could we resist.
Charlotte DeWitt
 BALTIMORE - Light City
    We were only able to get a very small taste of this highly ambitious event now in its second year. Commissioned artworks by artists from around the world could be found mostly along the ART WALK around and near the Inner Harbor. Of course there was food, drink, music, stuff for children, educational programming and loads and loads of people. The real magic begins as darkness falls and the interplay of light and water comes fully to life. However pieces like this one installed around the pedestrian bridge between the Piers 3 & 4 by Belgian artist Tom Dekyvere using illuminated nylon fabric was awesome even in daylight, but after dark it was spellbinding especially with the music accompaniment. It reminded me of "cat's cradle" (remember that childhood game?) on steroids.
String sculpture by Belgian artist Tom Dekyvere
Light Boats
Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana
    Ever ones to try a little waterfront adventure --  when we spotted a notice of a "nautical visual presentation" of composer Yotam Haber's "New Water Music" to occur Saturday evening April 8 we ventured to an area of New Orleans we had never been to. Thousands were on hand to witness the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and hundreds of musicians perched on a flag-bedecked rusting old barge and several tents along the shoreline play the haunting piece. Lots of flags, headdresses, colorful sashes and costumes rounded out the scene.
One of the many musicians arrives for the performance
Orchestra leader conducts from a perch high above the water
    Decorated shrimp boats were hired to perform a "ballet."
Part of the Shrimp Boat Ballet
    The non-profit New Orleans Airlift artistic director Delaney Martin oversaw this unusual production. 
    An intriguing installation of fishing nets hanging from the underside of an overhead highway provided visual interest plus play space for kids and backdrops for selfies.
     A number of exhibits were set up by non-profit groups involved in coastal/environmental/working waterfront issues. Nearby food trucks and bar were jammed. Our only quibble with this truly unusual undertaking was that the crowds were partying (hey its New Orleans) a bit much, drowning out the ability to really hear the music as we imagine it was meant to be heard. We only hope the event was recorded and could be played on a big screen somewhere. 
    Not sure what King George I who commissioned Handel's Water Music would have thought or whether the folks who flocked to the banks of Thames in 1717 were rowdy as well.
See HERE for details and entry forms

April 2017 Newsletter

 Important Earth Day Coming Up - Saturday, April 22
    A double header is in the offing up and it's not baseball. Earth Day and March for Science are joining forces for events all around the country. We are hoping many of you will turn out in your community/region or here in Washington where a  monumental crowd could well assemble. It may well be the women's march squared and that was unforgettable. 
    Trump's budget and related actions are disastrous for all of us who cherish environmental values and sound waterfront planning, development and culture. An historical footnote: When Dick and I worked for Dept. of Commerce/NOAA/Coastal Zone back in the day we wrote booklet called "Improving Your Waterfront: A Practical Guide" published in 1980. We compiled information on some 28 federal programs that offered assistance to localities and we know that waterfronts all across the national availed themselves of some of these grants and loans. Many of these programs/agencies face elimination or severe cutbacks. Very often the imprimatur of receiving a federal grant helped  generate other sources of revenue. We need to try to save as much as we can. Let your voices be heard. At the end of this blast is a portion of a letter we wrote to a Washington Post reporter about the value of National Endowment for the Arts.*
Philadelphia's Waterfront - Patience Pays
 As a native Philadelphian, when we first started the Center in 1981 and visited the waterfront there, I have to admit,  the experience was less than wonderful. It was severed from the downtown by 17 lanes of highway (talk about an obstacle!) and Penn's Landing bunker-like architecture and detailing lacked luster.
    Apart from ambitious programming that breathed life to it on weekends, little occurred. But in the past ten years or so things began to stir. In 2007 the University of Pennsylvania's PennPraxis produced a series of forums and published a Civic Vision for the Central Delaware that received a Clearwater award from us. In 2008 the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation published a Master Plan for the Central Delaware. The Corporation also recently invested in three Excellence on the Waterfront award-winning gems: Morgan's Pier, WinterFest and Spruce Street Harbor Park which have all been featured in past newsletters. You can check these projects out on our interactive database HERE

    Now after decades of lagging behind, the waterfront is poised for a huge breakthrough. I feel as if there should be a big drum roll: Mayor Kenney recently announced a $90 million plan to cover the highways between Walnut and Chestnut Streets and create a $225 million park. The 3-year construction is scheduled to start in 2020. Philadelphia will at long last gain a beautiful centerpiece park and a literal toe hold on the Delaware River!
 Penn's Landing park capping
Camden - Prison to Public Realm Plus Much More
    Across the river from downtown Philly, sits the Camden riverfront which had a waterfront park back in the '80s, an aquarium, kids play area, a ferry and a battleship museum. It also had - along with many other waterfronts - a state prison.
Former New Jersey State Prison in Camden NJ
      In 2009, the prison buildings were torn down to make way for a four-acre park which the State Economic Development Authority will undertake. 
This park is only a small part of the picture: EDA president also said the agency wants to take advantage of recent developments: a groundbreaking for the new American Water headquarters, under construction; the Liberty development, which includes proposed housing, restaurants, and a hotel; and a proposal last week by three major South Jersey firms, including the insurance brokerage Conner Strong Buckelew, to build a $245 million office complex there. So there are big things in the works on both sides of the river! 
 Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Deadline: June 30, 2017
Go HERE for details and entry forms
Waterfront Center Indebted to NEA - a Bit of History
      While NEA is the most popularly known for its funding: theater, fine and applied art, literature, film, dance, opera, orchestras and the like -- all of which are very important to us as a nation.  BUT I don’t think people are aware what an extremely diversified mission it has had. This a very important point to drive home. The Center  is a case in point. Our mission is about urban planning, design and execution, helping communities and educating them about the tools they need to accomplish the complex and lengthy process of improving their waterfronts, balancing the economic, ecological, social, recreational and aesthetic considerations.
    The Waterfront Center was founded as a non-profit educational entity on May 1, 1981 -- 35 years ago and counting. Its mission has been -- and is still today -- to help communities make the wisest uses of their waterfront assets in the long-term public interest, through its varied programs.
    We owe a great debt to the NEA that funded three early projects of ours.

    Three grants ranging from $5,000-$7,500 grants from the Endowment served as critical seed money, affirmation and recognition in our formative years that enhanced our credibility nationally. The programs/research the Endowment funded have had long-term impacts as outlined below. Big bangs for little bucks!
      • The Waterfront Center’s Annual International Conference
  • Since 1983, the Waterfront Center has hosted the premier annual waterfront conference that has brought together thousands of attendees from all parts of the country/world who are interested in learning more about current practices and initiatives. What distinguishes the Center’s conferences is that the presenters and attendees are by and large practitioners -- the “doers” that make waterfront transformations happen. The Endowment funds assisted us in launching this meeting and the publication of the proceedings.
      • Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Program
  •  In 1987 with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Waterfront Center established the “Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Program.” This is the only awards program that recognizes top-quality waterfront work around the world. Over 400 projects, plans, citizen’s effort and student work have been recognized for their achievements.  The Waterfront Center is close finishing inputting all the annual award winners from the past years into a unique searchable database that is posted on its Web site and thus freely available to all.
      • Caution: Working Waterfront: the Impact of Change on Marine           Enterprises
      (The Waterfront Press: 1985) Ann Breen and Dick Rigby 
  • A third NEA grant helped support the research, writing and publishing of a monograph describing the importance of retaining what the authors’ termed the “working waterfront.” The issue is still very current where the pressure of the marketplace is driving up waterfront property values that threaten small marine enterprises such as boatyards, commercial fishing docks and marinas. A related advocacy stand of the Center is the felt importance of retaining, or interpreting, components of the industrial past, put to new uses if the industry has closed. Old gantry cranes and a host of other  artifacts have been incorporated in many waterfront redevelopments.

March 2017 Newsletter

Start to Make Your Plans
Hard by the Colorado River. 
    Last month co-directors Breen and Rigby travelled to Arizona to advance the meeting planned for next January. They conducted a community workshop there over twenty years ago and were amazed at the changes. Charlie Flynn, executive director of the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area, our co-sponsor squired Ann and Dick around and they met with staff to begin lining up events for the meeting. They came away enthused about introducing  the waterfront community to a new part of the world.
 The Waterfront Center’s 33rd Annual International Conference
January 25-27, 2018.
In cooperation with the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area.
“Challenges for Waterfronts in the 21st Century: 
Too Much Water or Too Little?”
     The conference will feature two simultaneous tracks with 12 speakers each, plus opening reception, keynote presentations and conference luncheon. Lots of fun optional social events are being planned.  
Track One: Featuring the Colorado River’s issues past, present and future.  
Track Two: Featuring an array of speakers and topics covering the national and international urban waterfront scene.
    On Thursday, January 25 an optional workshop, will include an all-day in-depth briefing about Yuma’s amazing riverfront transformation and a field trip to the Imperial Dam passing through the vast areas where from November to March 90 percent of the country’s leafy greens, including lettuce, are harvested.
A glimpse of what you’ll see and learn about:
     East Wetlands Park, 400 acres cleared of invasive species and replaced since 2004 with over 200,000 cottonwood, willow and mesquite trees. Features a 3.5 mile hiking trail.
 Along the trail a glimpse of the historic Ocean to Ocean Bridge seen through the trees
    Sunrise Point Park, developed by the Quechan Indian Tribe, overlooks a restored marsh and 40 acres of native cottonwoods and willows.
From this vantage point you get a appreciation for the wide open spaces with the mountains in the distance.
    Pivot Point Interpretive Plaza, marking the exact spot where the first train entered the Arizona Territory in 1877. Features  a large steam locomotive. Preserves the concrete pivot on which a bridge turned to allow steamships to pass.

Pivot Point plaza gently slopes towards the river                                 Intrepretive signs explain the history of the area


1907 Baldwin Steam locomotive is located  on the exact spot where the first train entered the Arizona Territory in 1877
     West Wetlands Park, site of the former city dump, being converted into a 110-acre riverfront park, including a lake, boat launch, beaches, hummingbird garden and”Castle Park” built with design ideas of local children.
Couple enjoy a quite moment along the river in the West Wetlands Park                            Charlie and Dick take in one of the interpretive signs            
                                                                                                                      found in the outdoor environmental classroom

                      A picturesque lake attracts anglers, picnickers, sun worshipers                    “Castle Park” is a very popular gathering spot for families
and model boat enthusiasts among many                                                                                       

    Shake off the winter blues: Yuma is the sunniest spot in the U.S. – average January temperature: 70 degrees! 
Yuma is steeped in the history of the old West and lots more to see and learn about including: 

• Historic Quartermaster Depot is a beautifully landscaped state park with 19th Century adobe structures. The depot’s spacious storehouse will be the venue for our Friday Gala Dinner - a colorful Mexican feast with mariachi music.
                                           Quartermaster Depot Grounds                                                                         Quartermaster Depot Wagon                                               
TheTerritorial Prison, state historic park opened in 1876 and housed over 3,000 prisoners. The stone-walled cell blocks will be the site of a special candlelit dinner Thursday night.
TheTerritorial Prison
 • Medjool Yuma Date Festival all day Saturday Jan. 27, 2018, on Main Street. Enjoy a delicious “date shake.”
• Saguinetti House, Museum and Gardens – 19th Century adobe home, historic site and gift shop downtown on Madison Ave.
 Saguinetti Gardens
 • Lutes Casino is Arizona’s oldest pool hall with eclectic décor and great southwestern bar food.
Lutes Casino
• Three National Wildlife Refuges can be found in the greater Yuma area.
Fish and Wildlife Refuges Near Yuma

 February 2017 Newsletter

1987 - 2016
Powerpoint presentation of the Top Honor Excellence on the Waterfront Award Winners

      The Center is pleased to announce that this powerpoint presentation with over 300 images of top honor winners selected by independent juries was featured at the WaterEdge Symposium in Auckland, New Zealand last November and is now able to be viewed on the Center's website HERE

    Special thanks to Stewart McKenzie for making this available to everyone. He is also the person behind our interactive database of close to all of the winners - to date a universe of well over 300. So, if you want to delve more deeply into any of the top winners or winners in general read the instructions HERE. The geography includes 16 foreign countries, six Canadian provinces and at least 33 states. This unique waterfront resource is freely available and we thank those friends of the Center who contributed to the projects.
 2017 Awards Deadline: June 30, 2017
 Waterfront Alliance Annual Conference
See Awards Entry Form HERE

 Measuring Our Harbor: Strong, Healthy and Open
May 7, 2017 - 9:00 to 5:00
Aboard Hornblower Infinity

    If you want to catch up on what's new in the New York region's waterfronts this is the meeting for you. For more information go to the Waterfront Alliance's website. Varied rates with an early bird at $120 that ends 3/15. Government and non-profit rate is $75. 
 Upper Mississippi River Conference

     River Action, Inc., an organization many of you may remember from our joint conference in the Quad Cities several years ago, held their annual meeting this past October to address issues raised by America's Watershed Initiative Report Card for the Mississippi River watershed. Participants at the meeting were challenged to come up with action items for each of the following goal areas:

    Ecosystems, Flood Control and Risk Reduction, Transportation, Water Supply, Economy, Watershed-wide indicators and Recreation. It should be noted that the Upper Mississippi basin received a grade C which was the highest of the River's sub-basins. This 10-page report outlines the priority objectives identified to "raise the grade." One action recognized by every sector was the need for education and outreach. An update on the Action Agenda will be given at the 2017 Upper Mississippi River Basin Conference. You can download the report from River Action's website.

Groundhog Day 2017 Newsletter

Happy Groundhog Day!
    Whether he sees his shadow or not, February 2 signals spring is not so far away which is always cause for a celebration
 Excellence on the Waterfront Awards DEADLINE
Postmarked by June 30, 2017. see website for details. 
2017 Awards Ceremony, Winning Presentation
and Gala Dinner
      We will hold the Awards Ceremony and Reception at The Churchill Hotel in Washington, D.C. September 8, 2017. An optional gala dinner will follow. Our 2016 attendees really enjoyed the 20-minute presentations by the winners to give more insights into their work so we will repeat this format. Details will be updated and posted. 
Postcard from the North of North Island, New Zealand
    Prior to joining up with the WaterEdge Symposium in Auckland last November,  co-directors Breen and Rigby were joined by long-time board member, Charley Norris who was game to drive us all on the wrong side of the road to re-visit places we had been to together over twenty years ago. We had fond memories of these towns and should your travels take you to this northern most part of the country we recommend visiting them as well as the fantastically beautiful Bay of Islands.

    Whangearei. our first stop, is located on the Hatea River and has a charming redeveloped Town Basin waterfront that is even nicer than it was on our first visit. Shops, cafes, bars and restaurants enliven the scene. One waterfront perch tempted us to stop for a pint of good Kiwi beer. 

                          Whangearei Waterfront                                                                     Charles Norris and Dick Rigby and a Kiwi Beer

     New to us was the expanded, extensive river walk that includes public art installations, interpretive signage and lovely plantings. One sees a group of warehouses behind park-like setting at the start of the walk close to town center. 

                        Warehouses Behind the Park                                                   Do's and Dont's on the River Walk

                 River Walk Sign                                                    River Walk Seat and Art Installation

    A new pedestrian bridge with sail-like shade structures makes a loop walk possible and doubles as a place to hold events like this Saturday Flea Market. 

Pedestrian Bridge                                                                                           Flea Market         

    En route to and from Whangarei we stopped at a very inviting Welcome Center. Not only did they have tons of tourist information and helpful people, there was a small shop, an indoor and outdoor cafe.
     The attractive restrooms had baby changing facility and a place to shower. Attention to detail is evident in this handsome red security gate and the etched glass roof celebrating the pongo or silver fern tree. Those fronds and tree trunks are actually steel sculptures.

          Restroom Door                                                                     Etched Glass Roof              

   Our other small town is the somewhat isolated Russell that is popular with tourists who flock by ferry from nearby Pahia. Back in the 1830s this peaceful, charming place was full of swashbuckling whalers and sealers with the reputation as the "Hell Hole of the Pacific." You'd never guess it now. We enjoyed our return to the Duke Of Marlborough restaurant expanded and much-refurbished. A terrific meal and view of the water were thoroughly enjoyed on a fine spring-like evening! Definitely worth the trip.

                     Russell Waterfront Beach                                                                                          Russell Main Street         

The Duke of Marlborough Hotel


January 2017 Newsletter

30th Annual Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Program

     The Center is pleased to announce that Bill Wenk, landscape architect and principal of William Wenk Associates Inc. of Denver, Colorado will be our 2017 jury chair.
    The deadline for submittals: postmarked June 30, 2017. Details, guidelines and application forms can be found HERE
    To learn about recent previous winners visit the website’s Awards page and the awards searchable interactive database where you can view hundreds  of winning projects and plans.
    Deliberations will take place at the end of July and winners will be notified in early August.


2016 Winter Solstice Newsletter

Winter Solstice Greetings

     Wishing everyone a happy turning of the year. Celebrate this day of little light with lots of candles and winter feasting today and in the coming weeks.  To all our waterfront colleagues and friends: a  very merry, happy holiday season!

December 31st Fast Approaches

   As you contemplate you year-end charitable donations, please keep the Center in mind. We have lots of exciting projects including 
    • The documentary, Waterfronts Re-Born; 
    • the interactive database on the website; 
    • the 30th (!) Annual Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Program; 
    • the 2018 33rd Annual International Conference on Waterfront Planning and Development in Yuma, January 26-27;
    • e-newsletters
    • and organizing and sorting the image and print archive. 

    We need your help to accomplish this important work as look forward to our 36th anniversary in May, 2017!! 

Thank you for you continued interest and support of the Center. 

Mid December 2016 Newsletter

Waterfronts Reborn Trailer Now on the Web Site

    The Trailer for the planned hour-long documentary film is now up on our web site. The 12-minute film executed by the documentary filmmaker Jon Dann features Buffalo Bayou in Houston, Texas in particular the new Buffalo Bayou Park. The Park received an Excellence on the Waterfront honor award this year, see HERE. The Center and the film team our currently considering 4-5 other cities as case studies for inclusion in the full length film and are actively fundraising. Waterfronts Reborn will soon have its own page to encourage donations and keep you updated. Pictured below is a portion of the walkway with the imaginative night lighting that follows the moon phases from blue to white during each month. Note that these light fixtures can withstand the severe flooding the bayou withstands.

 Buffalo, New York Rejuvenation
    If you don't already subscribe to City Links, we recommend it as a good source of urban information. HERE is a  link to a recent very upbeat story.
We absolutely love the idea that embraced the old silos rather than tear them down. So many cities over the years have destroyed them. Bravo! 

     Co-director Breen recalls going on waterfront business in 1979 and hearing the then mayor talk about his vision for the waterfront. Several plans and attempts to fulfill a waterfront dream over the years have occurred but it seems at last to have come true! Center awarded a plan "Horizons Waterfront Acton Plan" in 1993 and more recently in 2009 "Erie Canal Harbor Project." Visit the interactive database and enter Erie Canal into the Search button to learn more about the 2009 project.

Tis the Season!
    Ring, ring, ring in he joy of the season. Just a reminder to not forget the Center as you make your year-end donations.

    We appreciate any help you can give us. Wishing you and yours a joyous holiday! Below is a miniature waterfront scene that is part of Philadelphia's Morris Aboretum's extensive magical model train exhibit to delight children of all ages.

 33rd Annual International Conference
    The Waterfront Center is planning the 33rd Annual International Conference on Urban Waterfront Planning, Development and Culture on
 January 26 -27, 2018, Yuma, Arizona. 

    In collaboration with Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area."Challenges for the Waterfronts in the 21st Century: Too Much Water or Too Little?" Optional pre-conference workshop featuring Yuma Crossing, January 25. 
Conference headquarters: Hilton Garden Inn on the Riverfront.

Early December Newsletter

 Consider the Waterfront Center for Your Year-End Donations
     Between Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday I am sure you have been besieged. We would like to throw the Center's hat in the ring as you begin to think about your annual contributions to the non-profit world. 

    With so many projects ongoing, we need your help: 

• The Documentary Film - the trailer of Waterfronts Reborn will soon be on our website. We are beginning to fundraise for the hour-long version. 
• The Interactive Data Base of the Excellence on the Waterfront Award Winners - close to being finished. It is a unique resource freely available on our website. 
• The 30th Annual Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Program. Details will be available in January.  

Thank you in advance for any contribution. Send checks to:
The Waterfront Center
PO Box 53351
Washington, DC 20009
 Water Edge Symposium
Auckland, New Zealand
November 15-17, 2016

     Co-Directors Breen and Rigby ventured to Auckland for the Water Edge Symposium a few weeks ago. Our hosts from Panuku Development went all out to achieve a stimulating assembly of participants from around the world.

    The Waterfront Center was amply represented with Barry Hersh, Joel Mills, Charles Norris and Mke Krieger. We met old friends, made lots of new acquaintances and certainly broadened our knowledge about waterfronts.

Ann Breen                                                     Dick Rigby

Michael Krieger                                             Charles Norris

Joel Mills                                                       Barry Hersh

    Not only was it a productive meeting professionally, but Panuku also made sure we had a really fun time from the traditional Maori welcoming ceremony and festive, chef-prepared  lunch to the very special gala dinner complete with Maori dancers, a string quartet and a talented opera singer to entertain us. The food selections were outstanding. The Center premiered a powerpoint of the Excellence on the Waterfront top honor winners from 1987 - 2016 that ran continuously during the dinner and was well received. We plan to put this show up on our website so others can enjoy.

                                        The Waterfront Center Presentation                                        Dinner                                                                   

                              Maori Dancing                                                          Food                                                


November 2016 Newsletter

The Waterfront Center Co-sponsoring  Water Edge Symposium
Auckland, New Zealand November 15-17

    Ann Breen and Dick Rigby will be showing a powerpoint featuring the 50 top Excellence on the Waterfront top honor winners 1987-2016 at the wind-up gala dinner.

Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Ceremony and Gala Dinner

    On October 21 all ten Excellence on the Waterfront award winners came to Washington to accept their awards and also made 20-minute presentations to an appreciative audience. They were feted at a festive gala dinner.

Mid October2016 Newsletter
29th Annual Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Events
October 21, 2016 - Churchill Hotel, Washington, DC

Visit HERE for details. There is still time to sign on and be part of an exciting meeting and awards ceremony.

 EPA's Office on Water Announces Grants
     EPA has awarded $1.3 million to 22 organizations in 18 states to revitalize urban waters and surrounding communities. Visit water headlines to learn more.
 Swimming Pools
     Summer may be over but some folks are busy planning ahead to increase swimming opportunities on their waterfronts.

    The Charles River Conservancy a non-profit based in Boston recently  raised $25,000 through the Indiegogo  crowdfunding campaign  to help install a permanent swimming pool in the Charles River.  See HERE for details

Charles River Pool
    The Brooklyn Bridge Park installed a highly popular pop-up pool on Pier 2. The pop-up will be continued for another season to allow time for the park to come up with a permanent facility. The article referenced The Floating Pool which was docked on the Brooklyn waterfront in 2007. It was the brainchild of one of our founding board members, Ann Buttenwieser who received an Excellence on the Waterfront honor award in 2007 for the project.

Brooklyn Bridge Park Popup Pool
     The Waterfront Alliance's September 30 Waterwire ran a article in their newsletter about ambitious plans to install large water filtering pools in the river to give New Yorkers plenty of chances to jump in. The project, +POOL was conceived by Ding-Ping Wong who hopes that within four years  the concept can  be fully tested, the funds raised and come into being realized.

    They are currently fundraising through Kickstarter.

Waterwire +Pool
 John Belle

John Belle
     We were saddened to learn of the recent death of a great supporter of the Waterfront Center. Not only did he generously support our conferences, he spoke at a number of them and received four Excellence on the Waterfront Honor awards including Top Honor for the restoration of the Roebling Bridge/ Delaware Aqueduct in 1990.

The Roebling Bridge/ Delaware Aqueduct
     He was a partner in the New York firm, Beyer Blinder Belle noted for their preservation, restoration and contextual designs. In 1991 the firm received an honor award for their work on the Ellis Island Museum of Immigration.

Ellis Island Museum of Immigration
     In 1995 the New York State Canal Recreationway plan was recognized and in 1998 the firm received honors for a Governors Island Land Use Study.

New York State Canal Recreationway

Governors Island Land Use Study
     Visit the interactive data base to learn more about all these projects The firm's work on Grand Central Station was universally praised. John Belle was an unassuming and very gentle soul. We were privileged to have known him.

Grand Central Station
 Bing Thom

Bing Thom
     We were equally sorry to hear of the Hong Kong-born Canadian architect, Bing Thom's death earlier this month. Anyone who has visited Washington and ventured down to Arena stage in recent years has seen how he transformed the theater complex into a breathtaking landmark that virtually doubled the space. And for those of us who love river views, the enormous windows in the lobby area enable visitors to gaze out over Washington Channel.

Arena Stage Windows
     Bing Thom's firm won two honor awards from the Center. In 1990 the beautifully designed False Creek Yacht Club/Anderson's Wharf is very nearly in the waterfront as the building is cleverly located tucked under a bridge in downtown Vancouver. 

False Creek Yacht Club
    Bing Thom, another genial soul was on hand at the conference in  2005 to receive his award for the Trinity River Uptown Plan for Fort Worth, Texas.

Trinity River Uptown Plan


Late September 2016 Newsletter

29th Annual Excellence on the Waterfront
Mini-Conference, Awards Ceremony and Reception
Friday, October 21, 2016
1:00 – 7:30 p.m.
The Churchill Hotel
1914 Connecticut Ave. NW,Washington, D.C.
     All ten Honor Award winners will be on hand to receive their awards and make presentations. Go HERE to check out the program  and sign up. It is a real bargain at $50.00 and includes the reception.
    Gala Dinner Celebration in Honor of 2016 Winners and the Center's 35th Anniversary. This optional event is described on the website and promises to be a exciting evening. Dinner at 8:00. 2101 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC.
 Indianapolis Uses Creativity to Focus on It's Waterways 
     Indianapolis through the Center for Urban Ecology and public artist Mary Miss/City as Living Laboratory has launched a terrific program that merges sciences and the arts to foster understanding and appreciation of the six waterways running through the city including the White River. Some of you may remember Mary Miss who made a presentation at our annual conference in 2011 in New York.Her  work is also integral to Honor Award Winners: 
 South Cove in Battery Park City (1993)
Historic Third Ward Riverwalk in Milwaukee (2005).
Visit her website: to learn about extensive career and work.
    Visit to learn more about the Indianapolis  program that engages the public through visual arts; dance/movement; poetry and music to peek people's interest and curiosity about the many aspects of improving their waterways and engage in the science of water systems. Many events are held to engage the community. 
 Chicago's New Riverwalk to Get Addition:The Jetty
    An ambitious six-block portion of the Riverwalk along the Chicago River designed by Sasaki and Ross Barney Architects won an honor award this year and the project will be presented October 21 at our mini-conference.
      An exciting innovation will be part of the addition called the Jetty to be opened in October. Underwater structures designed to provide fish habitat were inspired by similar features constructed in the Port of Rotterdam and made possible by a $175,00 grant from the Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Besides the Sasaki fish-focused features, submergent wetlands will be incorporated and attract birds and insects.

Mid September 2016 Newsletter

HEAR FIRST HAND FROM OUR 2016 AWARD WINNERS! Friday, October 21, 2016
1:30 – 7:00 p.m.
The Churchill Hotel
1914 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, D.C.

     Attendees at the 29th annual Excellence on the Waterfront Awards ceremony and program are in for a very informative and festive mini-conferenc - at a bargain rate - $50.00 including the awards reception. Go to to see a line-up of our stellar speakers and sign-up information.

    Information on the optional Gala Dinner that evening celebrating the 2016 honorees as well as the Waterfront Center's 35th Anniversary can be found there as well. We will be debuting the trailer for the planned documentary film "Waterfronts Reborn" during the evening. Filmmaker Jonathan Dann will be on hand. 

Jon Dann on location in Houston on the banks of the Buffalo Bayou, subject of the trailer.  


NOTE: previous communications gave wrong phone number. It has been corrected below.

    We have blocked a number of rooms at the hotel from October 20 - 23 at special rate of $169 s/d or $189 for Jr. Suite. The cutoff is September 19. Make your  reservations directly with hotel to make sure we get credit towards the block: 202 797 2000 and mention you are with The Waterfront Center. The rooms have been recently renovated.   

Thanks again to our 2016 Jury shown here hard at work.
Left to right: Werner Plessl, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; Kim Mathews, New York, NY; Ray Gastil Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Jury Chair, Charlie Flynn, Yoma, Arizona. 

"Raising the Grade"
October 13-14, 2016
Moline, Illinois

    Our friends at River Action are doing it again. Two days of a fulsome program dealing with a wide variety of watershed issues. And the annual catfish fry is always fun! Conference Hotel: Radisson in Moline and conference is at the iWireless Center a close walk to the hotel. Contact: for more details and registration. 


Early September 2016 Newsletter

Jane Thompson 1927 - 2016
    The waterfront and design worlds have lost one of their bright lights. Jane had a rich and varied career -- much of it spent devoted to waterfront planning and development. With her husband, Ben Thompson, their firm, Benjamin Thompson & Associates, they opened a number of "festival marketplaces" that had captured cities imaginations. Faneuil Hall in Boston, Harborplace in Baltimore, South Street Seaport in New York, Bayside in Miami. See the New York Times obituary here

    In 1993 Jane chaired our Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Jury that took place in Barnstable at Ben and Jane's summer place. The jury was memorable not only for the Thompson's hospitality but also the beauty of Cape Cod and notably the fact that it was an all-woman jury. 

    Working as principal of Thompson Design Group she undertook an extensive master plan for the Buffalo Bayou in Houston. We worked with her and the team on the community participation aspect in the early days. Houston experienced a devastating flood while they were in the midst of the planning. Jane then had to study up and become an expert in flood issues. The Master Plan for Buffalo Bayou & Beyond received an Excellence on The Waterfront honor Award in 2002. She and her partner Pratap Talwar worked on master plans for Chicago's Navy Pier, Long Branch, New Jersey and Cleveland's North Coast. 

    Jane gave presentations at a number of our conferences, the last being in Washington in 2012.  We were privileged to have known her as a friend and colleague for many, many years. She was a brilliant, forthright individual, her interests were far ranging but apart from her highly professional side, she was slightly irreverent and lots of  fun to be around. We will cherish our memories of dinners and parties together and her wonderful smile. 

    We will be dedicating our October 21st Mini-conference and Awards Ceremony to her memory. It is most fitting that the Buffalo Bayou Park will be receiving Top Honor. We are only sorry she won't be hand for the festivities.
 29th Annual Excellence on the Waterfront
 Awards Announcment and Mini-Conference

October 21, 2016

1:00 – 7:00 p.m.

The Churchill Hotel

1914 Connecticut Ave. NW,Washington, D.C.
    We have blocked a number of rooms at the hotel from October 20 - 23 at special rate of $169 s/d or $189 for Jr. Suite. The cutoff is September 19. Make your  reservations directly with hotel to make sure we get credit towards the block: 202 297 2000 and mention you are with The Waterfront Center. The rooms have been recently renovated. 
October 21, 2016
1:00    Registration

1:30    Welcome Remarks and Water Ceremony           

           Tribute to Jane Thompson          

2:00     Announcement  of Excellence on the Waterfront Honor Awards with presentations by the winners about their projects following acceptance of the award.

Charles Flynn, executive director, Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area, Yuma, Arizona, presiding

 Conference Presentations

Confirmed speakers as of 09/01/16

Clearwater Citizen Award:

 The Ernst Trail Group, Meadville City, Vernon Township, Pennsylvania.

 Project Awards
• Chicago Riverwalk/ State Street to LaSalle Street
Chicago, Illinois, Representative from Chicago Department of Transportation.
• Daylighting the Saw Mill River, Van der Donck Park
Yonkers, New York, William Kuhl, principal, Saratoga Associates, New York, New York
• Menomonee Valley Industrial Center and Community Park
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, William Wenk, principal, Wenk Associates, Denver, Colorado
 Prinicipal Riverwalk Pump Station
Joshua Baker, substance architecture, Des, Moines, Iowa.
 • River Forest Island
BaJiZhou, Changsha, Hunan Province, China,  Xiao Zheng, principal, SWA Group, Chula Vista, California
• St. Patrick’s Island Park
Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Barbara Wilks, principal, W Architecture & Landscape Architecture, Brooklyn, New York
 • Sims Sunset Park Material Recovery Facility
Brooklyn, New York, Representative from Selldorf Architects, New York, New York
• The Rockaway Boardwalk Reconstruction
Rockaway, Queens, New York, Project Manager and Architect
• A Vision for the Willamette Falls Legacy Project – Top Honor Plan
Oregon City, Oregon,  Mike Zilis, principal, Walker Macy , Portland, Oregon
• Buffalo Bayou Park  - Top Honor - Project
Houston, Texas,  Scot McCready, principal, SWA Group, Houston, Texas
6:00    Champagne Reception to Celebrate the 2016 Honorees
7:30     Gala Dinner honoring the 2016 Winners and the Center’s 35th Anniversary

August 2016 Newsletter


 CONGRATULATIONS to one and all
      We are pleased to announce this year's winners selected by our interdisciplinary jury that met in Cape May, N.J. July 29 and 30. We publicly thank them for generously giving of their time and talent. 

    We also thank all of those who submitted entries. As is always the case, much good work was not selected this year but we will be encouraging folks to re-enter in 2017 - our 30th awards program!
    The 2016 Jury: from l-r: Ray Gastil, planning director, City of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Kim Mathews, principal, Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects, New York, New York, Charles Flynn, executive director, Yuma Cross National Heritage Area, Yuma, Arizona, jury chair and Werner Plessl, executive director, Hamilton Waterfront Trust, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
    NEW FOR 2016! Since the the October 21st awards event is being expanded to half a day so the attendees will not only witness the awards ceremony, but also hear first-hand presentations by the winners, we decided to publish the list to give you a sneak peak. Several of the winners have already responded that will attend and present. We will give a list of the presenters in future blasts and list them on the web site. This promises to be a very interesting mini-conference. A champagne reception will wind up the day at The Churchill, a boutique hotel on Connecticut Avenue.. Fee will include conference attendance and the reception. 

Mini Conference details can be found HERE and a sign up form HERE.   
    The 2016 “EXCELLENCE ON THE WATERFRONT” awards program, organized by the non-profit Waterfront Center of Washington, D.C., features 10 winning entries from a universe of 48, plus one citizen’s award. This year’s jury, meeting in July in Cape May, N.J.. made two Top Honor selections. They are:
 A Vision for the Willamette Falls Legacy Project
City of Oregon City, Oregon, Top Honor Plan. Submitted by Ken Pirie, Walker Macy, Portland, Oregon, and Chritina Robertson-Gardiner, City of Oregon City, Oregon.  
 Buffalo Bayou Park

Houston, Texas, Top Honor Project. Submitted by Kinder Baumgardner, SWA Group and Anne Olson, Buffalo Bayou Partnership, both Houston, Texas

 Honor Awards in alphabetical order:

 Chicago Riverwalk/State Street to LaSalle Street
Chicago, Illinois. Submitted by Gina Ford, Sasaki Associates Inc., Watertown, Massachusetts and Carol Ross Barney, Ross Barney Architects, Chicago, Illinois, and Michael Claffey, Chicago Department of Transportation, Chicago.
 Daylighting the Saw Mill River, Van der Donck Park
 Yonkers, New York. Submitted by William Kuhl, Saratoga Associates, New York, New York and the Mayors Office, City of Yonkers, New York.  
 Menomonee Valley Industrial Center and Community Park
 Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Submitted by William E. Wenk, Wenk Associates Inc., Denver, Colorado, Dave Misky, Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee, and Corey Zetts, Menomonee Valley Partners, both Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
 Principal Riverwalk Pump Station
 Des Moines, Iowa. Submitted by Paul Mankins,, substancearchitecture and Pam Cooksey, City of Des Moines Engineering Department, both Des Moines, Iowa.
 River Forest Island
  BaJiZhou, Changsha, Hunan Province, China. Submitted by Xiao Zheng, SWA Group, Laguna Beach, California and Xi Yun, Xiangjiang New City District Administration Commission, Changsha, Hunan Province, China
 The Rockaway Boardwalk Reconstruction
 Rockaway, Queens, New York. Submitted by Jonathan Goldstick, CH2M and Dan Colangione, New York City Economic Development Corp., both New York, New York.
 St. Patrick’s Island Park
 Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Submitted by Civitas, Inc., Denver, Colorado, W Architecture & Landscape Architecture LLC, Brooklyn, New York. and Calgary Municipal Land Corporation, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
 Sims Sunset Park Material Recovery Facility
 Brooklyn, New York. Submitted by Annabelle Selldorf, Selldorf Architects, New York, New York., and Tom Outerbridge, Sims Municipal Recycling, Brooklyn, New York.
 Clearwater Citizen’s Award
 The Ernst Trail Group, Meadville City, Vernon Township and Union Township, Pennsylvania. Formed in 1995, volunteers have worked to establish a recreational trail including a covered bridge built mostly with volunteer labor.


Serving on the 2016 jury were:

• Charles Flynn, executive director, Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area, Yuma, Arizona, jury chair.

• Ray Gastil, director, Department of City Planning, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

• Kim Mathews, principal, Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects, P.C., New York, New York.

• Werner Plessl, executive director, Hamilton Waterfront Trust, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

July 2016 Newsletter
The Waterfront Center’s
29th Annual Excellence on the Waterfront
Half-Day Conference, Awards Ceremony and Reception
 Friday, October 21, 2016
1:30 – 7:00 p.m.
The Churchill Hotel
1914 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, D.C.
     NEW FOR 2016! We are excited to announce that the October 21st awards event is being expanded to half a day so the attendees will not only witness the awards ceremony, but also hear first-hand presentations by the winners. This promises to be a very interesting mini-conference. A champagne reception will wind up the day at The Churchill, a boutique hotel on Connecticut Avenue. A press release announcing the winners will be mailed out in early August and the names of the presenters posted on our web site. Charles Flynn, executive director of the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area, Yuma Arizona, this year’s jury chair, will preside. Fee will include conference attendance and the reception.
 Gala Dinner Honoring the 2016 Winners
and Celebrating the Center’s 35th Anniversary
Be the First to See the “Trailer” for Documentary Film:
Waterfronts Reborn
7:30 p.m.
2101 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, D.C.
     SOMETHING EXTRA SPECIAL! Gala guests will be the very first to see the trailer for the documentary film, “Waterfronts Reborn” that the Center is producing to celebrate it’s anniversary. The filmmaker and producer Jonathan Dann has worked at the highest levels of network broadcasting (NBC. CBS, PBS, CNBC, A&E), collaborating with some of the most respected names in the business. Jonathan will be on hand to help introduce the film. Plans are afoot to create an hour-long documentary highlighting the urban waterfront phenomenon in general with four-to-five case studies. The trailer features the dramatic transformation of the Buffalo Bayou in Houston. 

    We have blocked a number of rooms at the hotel from October 20 - 23 at special rate of $169 s/d or $189 for Jr. Suite. The cutoff is September 19. Make your  reservations directly with hotel to make sure we get credit towards the block: 202 297 2000 and mention you are with The Waterfront Center. The rooms have been recently renovated. 

    The hotel is conveniently located between two Metro stations (Dupont Circle and Woodley Park/ZOO), and served by a number of buses. Taxis run up and down Connecticut Avenue a lot. 

     The Optional 35th Anniversary Gala Dinner will take place in a private room at the historic 2101 Connecticut Avenue apartment building in Washington, D.C.


Late June 2016 Newsletter
 Update on Waterfronts Reborn
    The trailer for our proposed documentary film is well underway. Jonathan Dann, our producer, is working away and will go back down to Houston to do a bit more filming. We give everyone a heads up to join us October 21st in Washington for the 29th Annual Excellence on the Waterfront Awards half-day program featuring presentations by the winners, the ceremony itself, the champagne reception and the optional Gala Dinner. The trailer will be previewed for the first time and Jonathon will be on hand for all to meet. Details well be forthcoming on our website and in these e-letters.
 Houston’s Buffalo Bayou – a Showcase of Public Art
      In the last e-letter we gave you a snapshot tour of the Buffalo Bayou as it weaves its way through downtown Houston. Along with the lush vegetation, flora and fauna, the miles of hike and bike trails, attractive pavilions and street furniture, the Bayou affords an opportunity to discover a variety of public art installations.

    We urge you to visit the Buffalo Bayou Partnership’s website to get even more detail, maps and other information.

    Below we give an idea of what you may encounter as you meander through:
It Wasn’t a Dream, It was a Flood by John Runnels, 2014
Serving as gateway entry points these stainless steel canoe sculptures  can be found at various eastward bayou access points.
 Passage Inacheve by Linnea Glatt and Francis Thompson, 1990
    This piece takes the form of a house but is completely open to the elements on all sides and is constructed of galvanized steel. Visual images highlight issues of human rights, freedom of expression and historic and contemporary concerns.
 Spindle by Henry Moore, 1979
    The cast bronze abstract sculpture was originally part of the artist’s Spindle series placed in London’s Hyde Park.
 Tolerance by Jaume Plensa, 2011
    The meditative human figures representing the seven continents of the world are composed of stainless steel alphabet letters from many languages. Resting on large boulders, quite visible from the roadway, the figures glow at night.
Monumental Moments by Anthony Thompson Schumate, 2015
    “Listen” is one of a series of four-foot tall sculptures. The single word thoughts – Explore, Pause, Reflect, Listen, Emerge and Observe – are placed in unexpected areas along the bayou walkways.

 Down Periscope by Donald Lipski, 2015
    Through the Down Periscope, visitors can peer into the 87.500-square ‘ Cistern, a former City of Houston drinking water reservoir renovated by the Partnership. The Periscope can also be accessed online from anywhere in the world
 Seven Wonders by Mel Chin, 1998
    These 70’ pillars dramatically enliven the wall of the Wortham Center that houses Houston’s Ballet and Grand Opera facing the bayou. Hundreds of Houston school children drew pictures representing: Philanthropy, Medicine, Energy, Agriculture, Manufacturing, Technology and Transportation. These images were laser cut into stainless steel to form these giant interpretive sculptures that glisten in the sun by day and are dramatically lit up at night.

 One of a number of interpretive photo plaques encased in the perimeter fencing in the 22-acre Sesquicentennial Park dedicated in 1986 along the Bayou next to the Wortham Center.
 Lunar Cycle Lighting
    Designed by L’Observtoire and artist Stephen Korns, Buffalo Bayou’s signature lighting transitions from white to blue as the moon waxes and wanes. It is not for nothing that Houston is the home of NASA and this imaginative and magical lighting pays tribute to that fact.

CHRISTO’S Newest: Floating Piers
    Speaking of public art: Christo, who with his late wife Jean Claude, were famous for unfurling yards and yards of fabric wrapping all sorts of things opened his newest project on Lake Iseo in Italy’s Lombardy region. “The Floating Piers”  is a two mile walking connecting two small islands to each other and the mainland. (New York Times, Saturday June 18, 2016 by Elisabetta Povoledo: Christo’s Latest Feat: Walking on Water”).

   The project will be free to the public until July 3. It was to have been open 24 hours but officials had to close the installation nightly due the massive crowds – more than 350,000 people had already converged as of June 22 or so.
    Many may remember Christo and Jean Claude’s 1983 work: Surrounded Islands in Biscayne Bay in Miami.  What must be miles of brilliant pink fabric surrounded 11 islands contrasted with the bright blue water and made for quite a sight. The Floating Piers pits the bold orange walkways against the gray-blue water of the lake. The bay piece was more fluid and playful while the lake piece is geometric and abstract. However 'walking on the water' must be a treat!

- Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Deadline - July 1, 2016
- A Remarkable WaterFire Experience
- Harriet and Al Saperstein Celebrate
- Recent Article of Interest in LAM

 Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Deadline - July 1, 2016
Unforgettable WaterFire Experience!

    To truly comprehend  WaterFire in Providence, Rhode Island one must fully appreciate the transformative intervention that occurred there, namely: the River Relocation, Riverwalk and Waterplace -- without which there would have been no "stage" for the spectacle. Bill Warner , the architect behind the project was a great friend of the Center and made several presentations at conferences and workshops. The project was awarded an Excellence on the Waterfront Award in 1994. I quote H.L. Parker who wrote at the time architect William Warner's death:

    Talk about the right man at the right time. William Warner was the architect and planner who saw the big picture — the really big picture — back in the 80’s when downtown Providence was a shabby dump. He could see that if we just pulled up the parking lots, pulled down the railroad bridges, redirected some rivers, moved a highway we might we might actually have something here. If the devil is in the details Warner must have sold his soul because every footbridge, lamppost, railing, arch, pier, balluster and bollard has been designed and integrated into a glorious whole. Nothing is ordinary. Everything is lovely and graceful. According to the Providence Journal, April 1981 at Blue Point, a former oyster bar on North Main Street. A group of then-young architects, including St. Florian and Warner, disgruntled at what they saw as a lack of inspired planning at Providence’s City Hall, sketched what became the layout of Providence’s rivers on a linen napkin. See illustration below. “I went home and forgot about it,” St. Florian said. Warner didn’t. Ultimately, with work by engineers, politicians and officials at all three levels of government, the rivers were moved and parks and river walks built along them.
    The riverfront and Waterplace Park could have been just another crumby, slapdash hodgepodge of individual projects, shoddy building materials, kickback scandals, and conventional design, but the vision of this one man led to something inspired and transcendent. Thank you William Warner.
WaterFire - Background

    WaterFire is the brainchild of artist Barnaby Evans  What was conceived to have been a one-off performance piece is now a well-loved tradition on the Providence waterfront. It received an honor award from the Center in 2006. Evans and WaterFire International have created interpretations of WaterFire for a number of cities around the world, the first was in Houston, Texas to celebrate the opening of an early portion of the Buffalo Bayou park in 1998.

    As it happens, we featured the Buffalo Bayou story  in a recent blast LINK  In another coincidence, WaterFire was set alight for two nights on the Tiber  in 2013, from Ponte Sisto to Ponte Navona. See previous newsletter about the latest mural project of the group Tevereterno on the Plaza Tevere in that same area.  

Up Close and First Hand.
    On May 28 we, along with Dick's daughter and granddaughter, found ourselves in Providence and at the invitation of Barnaby Evans, creator and artistic director of WaterFire, we found ourselves helped into one of the boats that weave their way around the braziers, were asked to pull on black tees and help light the fires. As we set off through the river and saw all the people lining the river edges, I could not help but shed tears thinking what Bill Warner had done for his city: embodying the best urban waterfronts have to offer, namely belief in the magic of water, the importance of a beautiful and a welcoming public realm enabling people to joyfully congregate. Indeed, the indelible experience will remain with me. And so I echo the sentiment: Thank you William Warner - and thenk you Barnaby Evans!
 The boats loaded up with logs that will feed the fires along with captains and volunteer crew members.
 Barnaby Evans welcoming everyone and giving direction. 
 A costumed performer lends a flavor of Venetian Carnivale.
 The Flotilla sets out to weave their way among the braziers.
 Crowds gather along the riverfront.
 Co-director Dick Rigby lighting one of the braziers

 Suddenly with music in the background, an unforgettable spectacle of water and fire! 
Check out WaterFire's website for more information and the schedule of performances.
Saperstein's Celebrate Sixty Years!
    Harriet and Al Saperstein recently joined their family and friends in Cape May, NJ to celebrate a special wedding anniversary. So we were lucky to have had a wonderful evening with them as they wound up their visit. Pictured below: Dick Rigby, Harriet, Ann Breen and Al.
    Harriet and Ann met in 1978 at a conference in Hamilton, Ontario and have been friends ever since. Harriet devoted much of her career with the Detroit Department of Recreation to revitalizing the  Riverfront there, raising many, many grants to help fund early park projects including Hart Plaza and Chene Park. Harriet has been a very loyal and active member of the Center's Board of Advisors, given numerous speeches at conferences over the years and undertaken consulting assignments.
Landscape Architecture Magazine June 2016 Issue 
Features a 1993 Excellence on the Waterfront Winner

    We were delighted to read a recent articles in LAM ("Still Here" by Jane Margolies, pp. 102-116) featuring the 30-year old South Cove in Battery Park City, a 1993 Honor award winner. From the outset, South Cove was a stunning yet intimate piece of waterfront. To quote from author Jane Margolies in the piece:

    "South Cove - conceived at a time when the shoreline was a no-man's land - helped spark New York's rediscovery of its waterfront. It gave those who lived and worked in Manhattan a toehold on the river. It pioneered technical innovations and design features that influenced the development of parks and waterfront spaces up and down the Hudson and indeed all around New York."

    During this era there was a movement afoot  to make public artists integral to the design process. And so South Cove was a result of an interdisciplinary collaboration between landscape architect Susan Child of Child Associates, Boston, architect Stan Eckstut, Eckstut & Kuhn Associates, New York and New York public artist, Mary Miss.

Late May 2016 Newsletter

Houston's Buffalo Bayou

Glimpses of this Stunning Transformation

    In 1999 - 17 years ago - Anne Olson, executive director to the Buffalo Bayou Partnership, hired The Waterfront Center to undertake some spot consulting. While they had accomplished the handsome Sesquicentennial Park and had a thriving cultural district nearby, the miles of the Bayou and its banks were overgrown, bleak and bedraggled. Only intrepid "river rats" would venture down. A few snapshots from the time show that this was less than a spectacular space.



A rudimentary walking trail in place at the time

    The Partnership subsequently commissioned a full-scale master plan, hiring the Thompson Design Group of Boston as their consultant. The landscape design was undertaken by the SWA Group of Houston.

    A week ago, Center co-directors went to Houston to meet up with Jonathan Dann, the executive producer of our planned documentary: Waterfronts Reborn, to begin shooting the short trailer that will come first. Its case study will focus on the transformation of the Buffalo Bayou. See our home page for more details on Jonathan and the project. Anne Olson and her team were extremely helpful taking us all around to see what has been accomplished and help arrange logistics.

    After our first day touring, we were amazed - to say the least - at the transformation. Buffalo Bayou is a stunning, nearly 10-mile, multi-acre piece of public realm running through the heart of Houston for its citizens to enjoy. The park is lush with vegetation; has lots of trails and pathways for multiple users; a variety of public art pieces; visitor centers, pedestrian bridges connecting both sides of the bayou; a dog park and nature areas.

The images below will give only a glimpse of what is to be seen. A subsequent newsletter will highlight the public art.

Buffalo's Bayou's lush green contrasts sharply with Houston's dramatic skyline

One of the many locational maps to be found throughout the park. This one near the Water Works


Directional sign near the access ramp that takes visitors up to the shaded porch on the second floor of the Wortham Insurance Visitor Center. Note the balustrade design carried out through most of the park


The Visitor Center houses rest rooms, information office and bike rental and was designed by Page Architects of Austin.


The Lost Lake with Visitor Center in the background and beautiful plantings in the foreground

The Lost Lake Visitor Center houses a restrooms, paddle boat rental and the popular Dunlavy - a fun spot where we enjoyed lunch with Anne Olson

Boating on the Bayou - a popular pastime

One of the pedestrian crossings popular with cyclists, joggers and walkers

One of the major park entrances - this one to the Sabine Promenade. A glimpse of local artist John Rummel's stainless steel boat sculptures can be seen at the top of the stairs. Several versions of the boat sculptures welcome visitors at park entrances throughout the park

Sighting of a heron near Sesquicentennial Park. Birds, ducks, butterflies, and dragonflies are among delights to be spotted



A fun discovery was this homemade sign accompanying the handcrafted birdhouses made by students of the University of Houston Downtown situated close by on the Bayou. Quite a number of them were found dangling in the grove of trees close to bayou and the University


May 2016 Newsletter


Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Program
Deadline for 2016 Submittals: July 1, 2016
Visit here for program details and entry form. 

A Monumental Mural along the Tiber 
    In early October we shared images of our walk along the Tiber in an e-blast where we noted the graffiti and signs of neglect that we 
observed. Sadly this historic riverfront has long been overlooked. But recent developments bode very well for the future. Artist Kristin Jones and creative group of people have founded an organization Tevereterno that plans to reinvigorate this ancient waterfront. They have adopted an area, Piazza Tevere, located between Ponte Sisto and Ponte Mazzini to be the site for artistic and cultural happenings to focus awareness on the river.

    To quote from an article by Corielia Lauf: "To call Kristin Jones stubborn is an understatement. A decade ago, the American artist carpet-bombed Rome with plans for a frieze of monumental figures to be executed on the walls of the Tiber, with a novel technique of water-based dirt removal over stencil, leaving the silhouettes shining through the cleaned surface lines. She succeeded, and with a mix of grit and optimism, began a long campaign to salvage the Tiber banks, an area prone to human degradation and the frequent rise of this mythic but polluted river. Her figures were inaugurated with a party and procession, and thus was born a public art space on the Tiber." The group now has a 19-year lease on the piazza. 

     Tevereterno's latest accomplishment is artist William Kentridge's impressive 1,640-foot-long mural "Triumphs and Laments," that features a procession of 80 silhouetted figures from mythology, history and modern times. It so happened that our friend, art historian Richard Spear was in Rome for the celebration and agreed to let us share his photos with you. For more detailed information: Cornelia Lauf: "Locating William Kentridge's Massive Mural in the Roman Landscape" and Elizabeth Povoledo's article in the New York Times (April 26, 2016) " A Roman Legion of Volunteers Retakes the Tiber.".

    If your travels take you to Rome by all means, descend one of the many steep stairways to experience this extraordinary public artwork. We sure would. Who knows you might run into a happening as well.

photo credit Richard Spearh
 photo credit Richard Spearh
 photo credit Richard Spearh
 photo credit Richard Spearh
 photo credit Richard Spearh
 photo credit Richard Spearh
 photo credit Richard Spearh
photo credit Richard Spearh

Late April 2016 Newsletter

Excellence on the Waterfront – Ten Reasons to Enter!

Get your waterfront project/plan worldwide recognition! 
The winning entrant and their project or plan:
• are announced at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on October 21, 2016,        attended by practitioners like yourself;
• are asked to give a short presentation of your undertaking, with images;
• are celebrated at a champagne reception that follows;
• are treated to a gala dinner in a private room for winners, jurors and past winners;
• are included in a special illustrated 16-page booklet that you receive with your certificate;
• are featured on the Center’s website showing images of the ceremonies and the winners accepting their awards, and
• are also included on the Center website’s  interactive database that will soon depict the nearly 400 + projects that have won awards since 1987 – a unique resource freely available to anyone interested.  
Your award is then announced to the following:
• The Center’s press list of 600+,
• An e-mail list numbering in the thousands, 
and included in a special e-blast devoted to the 2016 Excellence on the Waterfront award winners.
Entering is simple: a two-page narrative that addresses judging criteria and 20 images. That is all that is required! Additional information such as articles, endorsement by local officials, additional photos are welcome, provided they fit into a three-ring binder. Full details here and entry form here on our Web site.

An interdisciplinary jury of varied geography and city sizes will convene in Cape May, N.J., in July. They will spend a full day-and-half reviewing the entries and selecting a limited number of winners. In most years, a Top Honor project and Top Honor plan are picked.
As the saying goes, you’ve got to take part to win!

left to right: Jeff Parks, ArtsQuest Foundation, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, the 2015 Jury Chair presenting the top honor award to Laurie Schwartz,
Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore and Steve Ziger, Ziger Snead both of Baltimore for the Water Wheel. Looking on is Charles Flynn,

Landscape architect, Kim Mathews, Mathews Nielsen, New York, who received a 2015 honor award
for West Point Foundry Park making a presentation to the assembled attendees.

Winners being feted at the 2015 Gala Dinner in their Honor.

April 2016 Newsletter

Peter Stanford 1927 - 2016

                                    Peter  Stanford                                                       Norma and Peter Stanford             

    We were saddened to hear of the death of Peter Stanford, a stalwart of the maritime preservation world,  on March 24 at the age of 89. We were privileged to know this visionary, courageous person. He dedicated his life to historic vessels and the maritime preservation field. He was one of their leading lights. See the New York Times obituary. Among his significant accomplishments, along with his wife, Norma, was founding the South Street Seaport Museum; championing the effort to save the South Street Seaport District;


                                                              Historic Vessel Docked at one of the piers       Some of the historic fabric found in the Seaport precinct                 

Peter Stanford co-founded the National Maritime Historical Society

    He was co-founder of the National Maritime Historical Society, their headquarters were first located at Fulton Ferry Landing -- not far from Olga Bloom's Bargemusic; and oversaw their publication, Sea History. he was known for sleuthing, finding and rescuing battered historic vessels and transforming them into visitor attractions; working with disadvantaged youth teaching them maritime skills; instrumental in founding the World's Ships Trust and co-founder Operation Sail 1976 - the breath-taking event that brought tens of thousands to waterfronts up and down the east coast - treating them to the magnificent parades of sail but also first hand glimpses of the nascent waterfront redevelopment phenomenon.


                    The Spectacular Parade of Sail in New York Harbor during OpSail '76       People jammed onto one of the many boats from which to get a closer look

  Readers of this newsletter may recall we reviewed he and Norma's book, "A Dream of Tall Ships," that can be found on our website.
    The Center was actively involved with many members of the maritime preservation community in our early years and we did a lot of networking with Peter.  In 1984, we conducted a workshop, where Peter was a major speaker and moderator at two sessions devoted to the subject. We enjoyed attending a number of his meetings. He was a great leader, a dynamic and forthright speaker and a wonderful, unique character in every sense of the word. The maritime community globally will miss him. 
 2016 Excellence on the Waterfront Awards
Jury Selection 

    We are pleased to announce our 29th interdisciplinary jury who will convene in Cape May, New Jersey in late July. As always, we are grateful for these individuals to volunteer to give of their time and talent.       

    Charles Flynn, executive director, Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area, Yuma, Arizona, jury chair

    Kim Mathews, principal, Mathews Nielsen Landscape Archtiects, P.C., New York, New York

    Werner Plessl, executive director, Hamilton Waterfront Trust, Hamilton, Ontario Canada

    Mason Sears, president, SF Marina Systems, USA, Portland, Maine


Charley Flynn, jury chair, pictured here served on the 2015 panel

Reminder: Deadline for submittals is July 1, 2016


Save the Date: October 21, 2016
Awards Event Expanded, Washington, D.C.

    The 29th Annual Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Ceremony will be expanded to include a half-day mini- meeting. We will announce the winners in August and plan to have each winner, as they able to attend, make a 20-minute presentation on their award-winning work. This builds on last year's experiment with much shorter presentations. This new format we think will make for an exciting afternoon. Stay tuned to the website for further information on registration. The Ceremony will be followed by a reception as usual and an optional gala dinner celebrating not only the 2016 winners but the 35th Anniversary of the Waterfront Center.
The Excellence on the Waterfront Interactive Database


    We -- or mostly Stewart -- are definitely coming down the mountain with only 8 years left to input! The end is in sight. So we are 21 years down. There are almost 2000 images available for folks to explore. This is an amazing resource so if you know people interested in the waterfront phenomenon, let them know of  this unique  record of over 28 years of award-winning projects, plans, citizen efforts and student work. We thank again those of you who donated to this project a number of years back. All help was greatly appreciated. Digitizing the slide collection alone was no mean feat.

    We thank again those of you who donated to this project a number of years back. All help was greatly appreciated.


February 2016 Newsletter

Sylvia McLaughlin

    We received news that the legendary Bay Area activist died earlier this year at the age of 99. Sylvia who received a Clearwater award in 2002 and was a familiar face at a number of our annual conferences. She also served as an Excellence on the Waterfront juror in 2004. Sylvia is pictured below at our 24th annual conference in Portland, Oregon along with a delegation from Kitakyushu, Japan who were receiving a Clearwater award given to the Tobata Women's Association for their inspirational: Women's Quiet Battle for Blue Sky and Clear Water.

left to right: Mituko Izaki, Tobata Women's Association, Miyoko Morofugi, Waterfront Environment,

Honorable and Mrs. Koichi Sueyoshi, Kitakyushu, Japan, Sylvia McLaughlin and Ann Breen.

    She and her colleagues were credited with saving the San Francisco Bay and helping to gain passage of the legislation that led to the Bay Area Conservation and Development Commission. She was very supportive of the Center and we are grateful to her for her advice. We will all miss her.

Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Deadline and Ceremony

    This year's deadline for submittals is July 1, 2016. Details on the program and registration forms can be found on our website here.

    The announcement and presentation of the awards will take place on October 21, 2016 at The Churchill Hotel in Washington, D.C. This year's event will be more like a half-day conference. Registration will begin at 1:30. After accepting their award each winner will give a 20-minute presentation about their project or plan. A reception honoring the winners will follow at 6:00. The optional gala dinner will top the evening off. Details will be found on the website in March.

Excellence on the Waterfront Interactive Database

    Thanks to Stewart McKenzie, we are well over half way to installing all of the Center's awards made since 1987!. We urge you to try using it! For example you can type in Sylvia McLlaughlin, Oakland or Kitakyushu and you will see what's there about those Clearwater awards.

Jack London Square, Oakland

    Last summer we were visiting Oakland and took the occasion to re-visit Jack London Square, one of the true pioneers in the waterfront redevelopment phenomenon. This mixed use commercial work undertaken by the Port of Oakland was formally dedicated in 1951 and needless to say has changed over time.*

    We have been to Oakland and Jack London Square on a number of occasions over the last 30 or so years --including conducting a community workshop there in 1995 and holding our annual conference in there in 2000. Sandy Threlfall of Waterfront Action won a Clearwater award for the Junior League Study cited below as well as for an interactive map project spearheaded the local committee.

    Our impression from many years ago was of an isolated, rather sterile environment, due in no small part that an active rail that separated the area from the city, plus its distance to the core of Oakland. However, the iconic container cranes that inspired George Lucas (Star Wars) have lent real drama close the scene for many years.


    The current atmosphere of Jack London Square is vastly different. The cafe and restaurant scene is bustling, lots of boating and marinas, waterfront walkways, two hotels, a busy outdoor market, tons of events, shopping and entertainment and a very attractive and colorful streetscape, along with public art. Also there is a shuttle bus that takes you to the downtown and ferry service to Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco and Alameda, increasing accessibility. Below we offer snapshots from the present with a few from the past.

    You can't not go to the Heinhold's First and Last Chance opened in the 1880's - if you can squeeze in. First visit there was only the indoor option. Today you can sit outdoors increasing the options.


The outdoor cafe scene is greatly expanded and enhanced.


    The Public Marina on the waterfront offers fuel, showers, berths/tie-ups, showers and an attractive public restroom on the ground floor. These sorts of facilities are often less than attractive which makes this a standout. The restroom is also convenient for walking or biking the Bay Trail which runs along most of the edge of the waterfront here.


    We would say the improvements in the public realm have played a major role in re-invigorating the now 61-year-old Jack London Square. No dowdy dowager this. Flower Power! Kudos to the maintenance staff. Note the bicycles climbing up the street lights!

*References: Arthur Cotton Moore et. al. : Bright Breathing Edges of City Life. 1971 and The Waterfront: A Study Report of the League of Women Voters of Oakland. 1993

January 2016 Newsletter

2016 Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Program

    Deadline for Submittals is July 1, 2016 (postmark). Details and application forms are up on our website here.

    SAVE THE DATE: 2016 Awards Ceremony, Reception and Gala Dinner: October 21, 2016, Washington, D.C. Details on the program and social events to follow.

Regent's Canal - A Wintry Stroll

    London's Regents Canal, once an industrial workhorse, has undergone a major transformation. Thirty or so years ago it was little more than a towpath, where anglers set up their stools, bikers and walkers used it but not in huge numbers. It was slightly unkempt with butterfly bushes, wildflowers and weeds along the banks where narrow boats tied up. Things have been gradually changing and in December when we ventured from King's Cross Station down to the canal, we came across offices, housing, cafes, restaurants and a very popular walking/biking trail. Below are some images we wanted to share as the sun was beginning to set around 2:00 in the afternoon. It was the only sunny day we had in two weeks in England! Visit here for more information and very sunny photos!

    One of the sights was a first for us: a book barge, "Word on the Water." It is moored at the base of amphitheater-style seating so one can imagine performances that may be held at the base of the steps. We wished we weren't on a schedule so we could have had a look inside!


Public art enthusiasts won't be disappointed as evident from the big and little fish we discovered as well as this sweet "shhhhh" poem.


    One of the great features of this 9-mile canal is its abundant flora and fauna aptly described on an illustrated interpretive sign. We were lucky to come across the real thing when these swans and birds came into view. Further along was another sign explaining floating wetlands.


The images below give you an idea of the built environment -- from spanking new offices/apartments, to renovated older buildings and infill. Have no clue about the Roman columns -- historical reference or maybe an Italian restaurant in the works. We could not get close. Plus, you spot the typical and often very colorful narrowboats that enliven the scene.




     Our meander was interrupted by the Islington Tunnel where we had to exit and save further sections for another trip. Dick seen examining the helpful way-finding signage.

Late October 2015 Newsletter

Countdown to 28th Awards Ceremony 

Awards ceremony and reception, Friday, November 6, 2015
The Churchill Hotel, Washington, DC
Awards Gala Dinner Friday, November 6, 2015
2101 Connecticut Avenue, Washington, DC

SteelStacks, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania - An Oh WOW Story! 
     Bethlehem Steel was one of the industrial giants of the 20th Century. Jeff Parks, then director of a nascent music festival, knew Bethlehem's future depended on more than the steel plant which closed in 1995. The year before Jeff invited Ann Breen to come to Bethlehem to make a presentation and she took the picture of the plant below from across the Lehigh River.

     Some 20 years later, Jeff, now retired executive of ArtsQuest, invited Ann and Dick Rigby to collaborate on a project in nearby Allentown. This gave them the golden opportunity to finally see the spectacular SteelStacks Jeff had shown in his presentation at Urban Waterfronts 27 in Seattle.These colossal ironworks could have been left to in ruins are now the iconic centerpiece of an  11-acre arts campus that opened in 2011. Over a million visitors have enjoyed over 1,750 performances of all kinds in the various venues. The Musikfest has grown up and is the largest free music event in the country. While SteelStacks today is not technically a waterfront project per se, it is so fabulous, we had to share this story with you and encourage you to visit ArtsQuest web site to get more information and imagery. Below are some photos to give you a taste of the visit to help you appreciate Ann and Dick's enthusiasm for this remarkable achievement. 
 Dick Rigby and Jeff Parks, founder of ArtsQuest and now with ArtsQuest Foundation 
examine one of the attractive interpretive signs about the blast furnaces.
YSteelStacks version of the 'high line' enables visitors to get up close with these incredible structures.
 Talk about patina - every photographers dream
 SteelStacks Visitor Center skillfully joins the old with the new. The interior houses numerous exhibits, 
an area to watch film, a souvenir shop also houses ample restroom facilities used during the many events
 ArtsQuest's handsome multipurpose center houses, performance spaces, 2 movie theaters, 
food vending and function rooms.The orange steel balcony pays homage to steel. Orange 
is the color of choice because Bethlehem steel was used in the construction of 
San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge.
 This takes "Food Truck" to a new and different level - This food vending operation adjacent to the concert venue, 
celebrates the history of Mack Trucks that were manufactured in the area for years.
 New York's 
Pier A Harbor House - 
Open to the Public after 127 Years!
     We haven't mentioned waterfront restaurants since back in the day we had a print newsletter but this is certainly a special case. Anyone who has trooped around the tip of Manhattan has no doubt seen this once vacant historic pier structure jutting out into the harbor and wondered if anyone would ever fix it up. The building was slated to be demolished in the 1960s but lack of funding put that plan on hold.Thanks to our board member from Sydney, Di Talty, (pictured below)  we learned that it had been rejuvenated, opened as a restaurant and we met there recently for a memorable lunch.
     The 1884 building, placed on the National Register in 1975, has been restored - and beautifully so - into a fantastic eating/drinking emporium with drop-dead views of New York's harbor and the Statue of Liberty. Two long, long bars take up the first floor with raised table seating for pub food along the windows. The pier's apron is outfitted with picnic tables and umbrellas which must be very well-used in good weather.   Historic maps, prints and memorabilia are displayed throughout. The second floor is devoted to fine dining and private events as well as two handsome bars at either end. One can get a very clear view of the Merchant Mariner Memorial pictured below. So, if you are down Battery way, stop in for a  beer and oysters downstairs or wine and dine upstairs in style. Visit:
 Merchant Mariners Memorial by the sculpter Marisol Escobar was installed in 1991. 
The 1,000 pound installation as seen through one of the many windows in Pier A.
 Speaking of Food....
Anthony Bourdain Has Plans for New York's Pier 57
     As described in a Sept. 30 article in the New York Times, "Parts Now Known," the peripatetic culinary guru plans to create  megamarket for international cuisine for about 100 of retail and wholesale food vendors to be known a Bourdain Market. It is envisioned as akin to Pike Place Market in Seattle. Reporter Florance Fabricant mentions that a public park is planned for the roof, to be home to the Tribeca Film Festival for several weeks each year. The Hudson River Park Trust is planning a restaurant on the roof. Promises to be a happening place!

Early October 2015 Newsletter

                                                                                                      • Awards Ceremony and Gala
• EPA Grants Program Seeking Proposals
                                                                                                      • Postcard from Rome

Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Ceremony and Gala Dinner
Friday, November 6. 
​     ​
OCTOBER 6 is the Deadline for special rates at the Churchill Hotel. Act today. Call  
202 797 2000 and ask for The Waterfront Center rates. It is not too late to sign up for great rates at the historic Churchill Hotel on Connecticut Avenue.

​    ​
Also, visit our web site to get the sign up form for the Awards Ceremony and Gala Dinner. OR: CALL US AT 202 337 0356 and give us your details and credit card number. OR you can send a check to Waterfront Center,  PO Box 53351, Washington, DC 20009. Rates are as follows:

Awards Ceremony and Reception      $30.00
Guest                                                   $30.00
Gala Dinner                                         $125.00
ala Guest                                          $100.00
Combined Ceremony and Gala​  ​

  ​    ​We are working with jury chair, Jeff Parks, to make this an extra special awards ceremony with expanded coverage of the winners. Champagne reception follows and the multi-course dinner including wine held across the street promises to be  a very festive waterfront social occasion. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Urban Waters Small Grants program

 is currently requesting proposals!

​    ​
Under this announcement, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is soliciting proposals from eligible applicants for projects that will advance EPA’s water quality and environmental justice goals. Proposed projects will address urban runoff pollution through diverse partnerships that produce multiple community benefits, with emphasis on underserved communities. Note that proposed project activities must take place entirely within one of the Eligible Geographic Areas, as illustrated on the interactive map provided on the Urban Waters Small Grants mapping website at


​    ​
The total estimated funding available for awards under this competition is approximately $1.6 million. EPA expects each award to range from $40,000 to $60,000. EPA Regional Offices will award the cooperative agreements resulting from this announcement. It is anticipated that each EPA Regional Office will award approximately two to three cooperative agreements. Funding is contingent upon Agency funding levels, the quality of proposals received, and other applicable considerations.


​    ​
Visit the Urban Waters Small Grants website to learn more about the program and how to submit a proposal at


Postcard from Rome


​    ​
With the East Coast still dismantling barricades from Pope Francis's visits to Washington, New York and Philadelphia, it seemed apt to share a few photos taken along the ancient banks of the Tiber in August. We have been trooping along the Tiber every time we have visited Rome over the last 25 years. Usually  we would be nearly the only souls walking on the sidewalk above the river, never mind on the embankments below. This year we found a new tourist brochure touting the Tiber and its attractions including tour boats, nightclubs and the like. We opted to make our way with Trastevere neighborhood as our destination. The sidewalk that sits about 40' above the river along the busy Lungotevere is lined with sycamores that provide welcome shade and lush green canopies that gracefully drape over the walls down to the embankment reached by a variety of steep stairways near the bridges that punctuate the route.  To our surprise this year, we were joined by fellow pedestrians. We were sorry to see so much graffiti in many spots.  The snapshots below will give you an idea of the flavor of a very pleasant riverfront walk which still is a respite from so many tourist-clogged Roman streets and piazzas. 

Old bridge with inscriptions, rolling river.

Ruins of an old bridge.

South embankment, rustic trail


 ​Trastervere, stairs leading down to embankment, more biker-friendly than north bank. 

One of many steep stairs to the riverfront embankment. 

​Return along north side leaving Trastevere with tour boat in distance.​


Late August 2015 Newsletter

Upper Mississippi River Conference and Student Summit
October 14-16, 2015, Davenport, Iowa

    River Action, Inc. is once again spearheading its annual Upper Mississippi Conference with the theme of "The River Connecting Us." As many of you who attended our joint conference several years ago, the meeting draws an interesting crowd with a diverse and animated group of speakers, most from the region. 

SeaGlass Carousel Opens in Battery Bosque, Lower Manhattan

    The $16 million-dollar SeaGlass carousel, developed by the Battery Conservancy, constitutes a 3 1/2 minute experience where riders sit inside 30 spinning 10-to-14 feet high fiberglass fish with ever-changing colors and direction. Nothing short of fanciful from the pictures and descriptions found in the Friday, August 14 New York Times article by David Dunlap: " A Whirling School of Mechanized Fish." (pages C-19 and C-26). Warrie Price, president and founder of the Battery Conservancy, pushed for 12 long years to put this happy and fanciful facility in place. She hired Claire Weisz and Mark Yoes who drew up "a magical ride to the bottom of the ocean." George Tsypin of the George Tsypin Opera Factory who was the set designer of the musical "Disney's Little Mermaid was given the task of translating the vision into reality. 

The carousel will operate from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day except January and February. Cost is $5.00

    Note: The Battery Conservancy won an Excellence on the Waterfront Top Honor in 2006 for the Battery Bosque whose chief designers were Weisz and Yoes. Visit the Center's Web Site's Interactive Data Base to learn more.  Go here and enter Battery Bosque.

A Walk on on the Urban Wild Side Heron's Head Park, San Francisco
    What could be more pleasant than the Bay Area with its perfect weather when you are escaping August East Coast heat? In coming communiques we will share some images and impressions of what we saw on a number of our walks while there.

    One of our Bay area hikes took in the industrial side of things. We took note of the Bay View Yacht Club with working waterfront infrastructure in the background. While slogging along a rather mundane pathway we  came across these unexpectedly attractive benches offering special views and then came across a familiar fishing pier that has been there since way back when. 

    Our predetermined destination for this walk was The Ramp, a favorite of ours. If you like somewhere off the beaten track, funk, good food and beer set amidst shipyards and ship repair infrastructure, not to mention the vessels themselves, head to this spot. 


    After a most delightful lunch, my son's friend Dave took us to a place he likes to bring his dog, smack in the middle of another industrial portion of San Francisco's waterfront.  Lo and behold - it turned out to be the Excellence on the Waterfront Honor Award-Winning project: Heron's Head Park,  recognized in 2001 as a Clearwater Winner. Visiting one of the winners is always a treat especially when unexpected. A small parking lot, picnic tables, a dog run and restrooms greet you before reaching the park area itself. An attractive sign welcomes you first thing, with a glimpse of the EcoLab, an environmental classroom in the background. The brightly painted room is used by hundreds of nearby public school children.


​    The 22-acre park was a former brownfield site that has been reclaimed. The  long linear, windswept peninsula park puts you right out into the bay, offering spectacular views. The pebbled path, punctuated by simple step "sculptures," is perfect for running and walking. The steps as you can see provide a perfect spot for a photo op. Dick and Ann along with Ann's sons John and David, who have been dragged along countless waterfronts since 1975, were once again good sports.
    The open space and restored wetland, a rarity on San Francisco Bay, provides habitat for 100 species of birds. Handsome interpretive signage is found along the path. 

    This remarkable urban wild shows how the collaboration between the Port of San Francisco and the environmental justice group, Literacy for Environmental Justice turned a blighted landfill into a living classroom and a unique asset for the community to enjoy. 
    For more information: Go here and enter Herons Head Park.  Location: Cargo Way and Jennings St. in the Hunter's Point area. 

    Plan to join old waterfront friends and new ones in Washington, DC this November and see the results of the 28th Excellence on the Waterfront Jury deliberations. The convivial jury met July 23-25 in Cape May, New Jersey with Jeff Parks of ArtsQuest Foundation from Bethlehem chairing the group. 
You are in for a treat to see and hear about the 2015 winners. Go to our website: to learn more an get the signup form. A small block of rooms are being held until October 5 at The Churchill Hotel, 2014 Connecticut Ave. NW with a very reasonable rate of $184. Call 202 797 2000 and mention The Waterfront Center to secure the rate. 


July 2015 Newsletter


    Huzzahs to Stewart for pushing forward - or in this instance a bit backward - as he has just entered  the years 1987 and l988 on the web site!. So take a trip down memory lane to see what juries deemed "excellent" nearly 30 years ago. 


Before                                                                                                                    After​          
    Queen's Quay Terminal, an adaptive re-use project on the Toronto lakefront, won an Excellence on the Waterfront honor award back in 1989 (see photos above from their 1989 submittal).  It was one of Harbourfront Corporation's early efforts to transform that waterfront.    Waterfront Toronto, the successor organization recently celebrated the rejuvenation of the building and waterfront with  a ribbon cutting and festivities on June 19th. 

     "Back in the day" the trifecta for a grand tour of  exemplary waterfront developments was Boston, Baltimore and Toronto. We are definitely into second generations on waterfronts. Boston has re-worked their centerpiece Waterfront Park and Baltimore is at work implementing its Inner Harbor 2.0 Master Plan. 


    This in from the London Free Press: 
    Organizers of the competition focused on a five-km stretch of the Thames that goes in three directions from the forks: north to Oxford St., west to Wharncliffe Rd. and south to the Port Stanley railway bridge.
    Led by Toronto-based urban design firm Urban Strategies, the request for qualifications was  sent out across North America and a panel of judges has pared the list  down to five finalists who will each receive $40,000 to design a pair of so-called “inaugural projects” for the two key areas: the forks, and SoHo.
    The short-listed firms for the first phase have been announced: 
    Brook McIlroy, Toronto and Thunder Bay
    Civitas, Denver
    PWL Partnership, Vancouver
    Janet Rosenberg Studio, Toronto
    Stoss + Dillon, Boston and Toronto
    One winner — for the forks — will be selected, and receive a contract worth at least $200,000 to complete their vision for the forks revitalization.
    Go to for more details.


    For too long the southernmost delta of the 1,450 mile Colorado River  had become a lifeless mass of gray mudflats. In 2014 as part of an innovative water-management agreement between the United States and Mexico, a "pulse flow" of water was released from the Morelos Dam and coursed down the dry riverbed.This was a bold experiment to see if the once-grand habitat could be revived. The need to revegetate the area is bolstered by the fact that hundreds of bird species depend on the habitat provided by the right trees. This story describes the hopeful signs that have resulted from the water release - a story still unfolding. Nature Conservancy scientists are part of a large team of specialists monitoring the project. One notable fact: there was a 35% decline in the delta vegetation once the early 2000s but now a there has been a 43% increase after the 2014 water release. 
    See the June/July 2015 Nature Conservancy magazine "The River's Return" by Victoria Schlesinger to learn much more. 
    Go to Nature Conservancy Colorada River "A Pulse of Water for the Delta"

    For another wonderful story of transformation along the Colorado River go to Transforming the Riverfront of Yuma, Arizona - one of the presentations at our 2014 Conference. The Yuma Riverfront Project was a 2014 Excellence on the Waterfront Award winner. 


    Plan to join old waterfront friends and meet new ones in Washington, DC this November and see the results of the 28th Excellence on the Waterfront Jury deliberations. The jury convenes July 23-25 in Cape May, New Jersey with Jeff Parks of ArtsFoundation from Bethlehem chairing the group. Go to our website to learn more about the events an get the signup form. A small block of rooms are being held until October 5 at The Churchill Hotel, 2014 Connecticut Ave. NW with a very reasonable rate of $184. Call 202 797 2000 and mention The Waterfront Center to secure the rate. 


Mid-June 2015 Newsletter

Mid-summer Approaches  - Happy Longest Day!
    Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Deadline: JULY 1 postmark.  Still time to get that entry pulled together. Get your work recognized. And don't forget Clearwater possibilities. 
Riverfront Recapture's Joe Marfuggi Retires

    Joe Marfuggi, a longtime friend of the Waterfront Center, retired this month and we share a link with you about the celebration in his honor.

Joe Marfuggi

    We have known Joe throughout his fruitful career at Riverfront Recapture, Hartford. He has been on hand at a number of conferences sharing his story and also served as an awards juror.  A number of years ago we were privileged to have a private tour of the riverfront with him -- a real treat!  Pictured above is Joe on our tour at the amphitheater.  We noticed  more than once that he stooped to pick up and dispose of litter as we walked the riverfront. That's typical of the caring person he is.

    We also also knew the first director, Jill Diskan, who toured us way back in the early '80's when nothing much was going on -- to say the least. She started with education and events to get ball rolling. The transformation of  the last 30 plus years is astounding. In 1997 Riverfront Recapture deservedly won top honor for their work.

Riverfront Recapture Award Winning Project

    The belvedere bridging the intrusive highway with its steps, stage and landing is one of but many achievements. We salute Joe and wish him well in his next chapter and hope it brings him to DC so we can enjoy more of his company.  

National Trust Focuses on the James River
     The historic, scenic James River and Jamestown face a threat from  Dominion Virginia Power's plans for  major high voltage power lines that would be constructed in and across the river marring forever this beloved, bucolic view shed. Go onto the following links and check out the situation.

         James River                                                                      Power Lines           

    The Down to the Wire Coalition is thrilled to announce that 25,000 people have signed our petition against Dominion Virginia Power’s plan to mar the beautiful James River at Jamestown with their hideous high-voltage power lines. But we can’t stop here.

    We want to see that number continue to grow so that we can show Dominion how much support we have. Would you consider signing the petition and forwarding this email to your friends and family members who care about the James, too? You can also share the link – – on Facebook and Twitter. (Be sure to use hashtag #DownToTheWire when you do.)

    The urgency is real, and there’s so much to lose. To learn more about all that’s at stake, follow our "On the River" video series, where we document all of the James' natural and historic beauty that Dominion’s plan would destroy.

    Join us in taking a stand against Dominion’s high-voltage power lines today.

    Thank you,

    The James River Team at the National Trust

Artist Sean Yoro Creates Waterfront Murals in the New York Harbor
Summertime fun. 

    This in from the website IGNANT: Hawaiian surfer Sean Yoro aka Hula combines his love of surfing and his artistic talent, creating hyperrealistic portraits of bathing women at different seaside locations. His work is inspired by street art and abandoned spaces that he uses as his hard-to-reach canvases. Carefully carrying cans of colored paint on the edge of his board, the New York-based artist applies his half submerged female portraits onto the wall. Find more of his works over on his website.  We could not find their actual locations - if any of you are paddling or motoring  out in the harbor and can pinpoint, let us know. 

Artistic High Trestle Bridge in Iowa 

The High Trestle Bridge

     A bridge is not always just a bridge. This installation surely is an "oh WOW" moment to anyone coming upon it - especially at night. 
To quote from the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation's website:  "The High Trestle Bridge stands 13 stories high and spans ½ mile across the Des Moines River between Madrid and Woodward. The "portals" or vertical elements that form a gateway to the Des Moines River Bridge are sculptural symbols that speak to this geology, the cutting and slicing of nature that forms this river valley. Seen from a distance, they become a destination "icon" that bracket the experience of crossing the river on this expansive trail bridge. Scale is one of the most important elements to the integration of these sculptural features. They must relate in size not only to the length of the span, over 2,300 feet across the river, hut also the height above the river valley, represented by massive columns, some nearly 130 feet tall. These icons visually "focus" the trail and set up the concept of entering a mine. Seams of coal appear in lighted veins in the stacked forms on the bridge landings. One is inside the story, surrounded by the sculptural forms that embody history and geology. The changing geometry of the steel cribbing radiates around you. The viewer moves along the path as though moving through history, through the tunnel of a mine."


Mid-May 2015 Newsletter

   River Action, known for making so many incredible things happen in the Quad Cities, has just launched a Kickstarter fundraising project to help raise a portion of the needed funds for our exciting current project, First Bridge! River Action is hoping to build a pedestrian/bicycle bridge using the historic, original railroad embankment from the first railroad bridge to cross the Mississippi River using Kickstarter, a crowdfunding website.
Here is the direct link to our project page:

    This is the time we need your help in spreading the news about this Kickstarter fundraiser. Please share our project with email friends, social media friends, family, friends, and acquaintances. The only way we will be successful with Kickstarter is for all of us to talk, talk, talk about it; share, share, share about it; and let everyone we come into contact with to know how excited we are about it! Word is spreading fast!

Memphis Rail/Trail
    Connection between downtown Memphis and West Memphis, Arkansas is in the offing with the "Big River Crossing" on the Harahan Bridge. A cantilevered carriageway along an active Union Pacific Railroad line is slated to become a new bike and pedestrian trail (new twist: rail-with-trail). Ultimately the bridge trail, funded in part by a $15-million federal stimulus grant, will be a centerpiece of a multi-use pathways connecting the Main Streets of downtown Memphis and West Memphis. A 6.5 mile Shelby Farms Greenline is already in place. 
For more information: rails to trails, spring summer.15 "Rolling on the River" by Amy French.

    And speaking of Memphis. If you want to keep up with what's happening on the riverfront there visit the web site of Friends of Our Riverfront:

Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Deadline July 1, 2015 
     Get YOUR work recognized. We already have two entries.
2015 Excellence on the Waterfront Jury Members will meet in July in Cape May, New Jersey. We look forward to greeting: 
Jeffrey Parks, Chair, ArtsQuest Foundation, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Collette Crepelle, principal, Eskew + Dumez + Ripple, New Orleans, Louisiana
Charles Flynn, executive director, Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area, Yuma, Arizona
Anne McIlroy, principal, Brook-McIlroy, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
William Wenk, principal, William Wenk Associates, Denver, Colorado

May 2015 Newsletter

The Waterfront Center Celebrates 34 Years!
    On May 1, 2015, the Center celebrates its 34th anniversary and what a run it has been. We look back on 32 conferences, 10 or more topical workshops,18 years of print newsletters, 26 Excellence on the Waterfront awards programs, three books and several booklets and 100's of consulting assignments -- all of which enabled us to be in touch with the ever-expanding waterfront world. Urban waterfronts are by no means passé. If anything, the field is expanding all over the globe. We have met and worked with so many wonderful people who are dedicated to improving their cities along varied waterbodies in countless ways. It has been our privilege as an educational organization to document and share information with you. As we turn the calendar to begin our 35th year, we thank and treasure all of our friends and supporters -- many of whom have been with us since 1981 -- through these many years. Old friends and new, we hope to see many of you in November here in Washington. 
Awards Trivia Results
    In the last blast, we had fun with some of the statistics among the nearly 400 winners and posed the following questions. Now we'll let you know the results: 
         California; Massachusetts; New York and  Washington. 
         New York - 40
         California - 34
         Washington -31
         Massachusetts - 23
         British Columbia or Ontario? 
         Ontario gets the nod with 16 and British Columbia comes in second with 13. 
        Australia; China and United Kingdom.
        It's a tie among all three with 12 awards to each country!
Welcome to our New Intern
    Following in the footsteps of two really smart and capable George Washington University students, Deirdre Clark (now getting a Phd. at the University of Iceland and Ewelina Czapla (now a lawyer hard at work here in D.C.) we introduce Jiangnan (Louise) Lu, an undergraduate civil engineering student who will be joining us in May and helping mainly with researching and verifying the contact information on the awards database project. She is part of the Women's Leadership Program at GWU -- one of 80 women chosen from a pool of 3,000! 
Database Update
    Stewart McKenzie continues to work away up there in Somerville. Meanwhile Ann has completed the task of first selecting from thousands of slides those to be digitized,  then downloading the 700  images that were digitized, sorted them by year and refiled them for the archive. Only about 100 remain to be scanned manually. The end IS in sight. 

    Help us celebrate our anniversary and support  the database project. Send your check to PO Box 53531, Washington, DC 20009. THANK YOU. 

April 2015 Newsletter

Excellence on the Waterfro nt Awards 

    We continue to work on the Interactive Database. The last 700 slides are on their way to be digitized! To reward time spent going bug-eyed at a light table, we are off to eat some mud bugs among other pleasures at the French Quarter Festival.  Should you be in the Big Easy,  we'll be at the Louie Louie stage area April 11 at 2:00 to catch Hot Rod Lincoln, Darryl Berger's band. (See photo from last year's festival. Darryl is center with Hawaiian shirt.) What a venue! Darryl, an early friend of the Center, was the original developer of Jackson Brewery -- a 1987 Excellence on the Waterfront winner. This project, as so many we have been reviewing in the past few months, has evolved over the last quarter century. This evolution will be something we plan to explore after we have gotten though getting all the winners in the database. Some projects are gone, some drastically changed, some improved and renovated, so it will be a fascinating 27-year history. 

Award Trivia Contest

    Meanwhile,  we decided to have some fun with facts and figures. 

    A grand total of 398 awards have been presented since 1987 including 43 Clearwaters and 7 students. Geographically, winners have come from a  total of 35 states from Alabama to Washington, one territory and one disenfranchised jurisdiction, namely the District of Columbia, making a total of 282. 

    Can you guess the number of awards among  the four top-winning states and rank them in order:
California; Massachusetts; New York and  Washington. 

    Our neighbor to the north had a total of 41 awards among six provinces. Who do think gets the gold?
British Columbia or Ontario? 

    The overseas count is 28 countries from Angola  to the United Kingdom. Three countries had double digit-wins. Can you guess the number of awards and rank them:
Australia; China and United Kingdom.

    Send us an email with your guesses ( We will publish the result and more trivia in next e-blast. 


    Stewart is entering another batch and encourages any of you who have won an award between 2004 and 2014 to double check the accuracy of your listing. We will be proofing ourselves but it would be best if you did. Go here and enter the name of your award.

2015 Excellence on the Waterfront Awards

AWARDS CEREMONY: November 6, 2015. 


    Anyone with an interest in what's up in Toronto, should very definitely subscribe to their very informative newsletter. The most recent issue discusses, design competitions, new thinking on the Gardiner Expressway, Daniel's Waterfront a $700 million arts-focused complex, Queen's Quay reconstruction and much more. Go to


    For those who like to follow what's doing in New York and New Jersey, May 7, 2015 is the date for MWA's Annual Meeting: "Shaping your 21st Century Waterfront" aboard the Hornblower Infinity. Waterwire, their periodic newsletter is also very informative. Go to

Wishing you a wonderful, most welcome Spring. Send us YOUR news


March 2015 Newsletter

                                                                      • Awards Ceremony and Gala Dinner
                                                                      • Job Opening at Riverfront Recapture
Check out These Links: 
                                                                      • River Thames Overflows
                                                                      • What's New Down Under
                                                                      • John Oliver Takes on Infrastructure
                                                                      • May 6, 2015 MWA Annual Conference

The 27th Annual Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Ceremony and Reception 
 November 6, 2015, Washington, DC

    Mark your calendars. Friday November 6 the 27th Annual Awards Ceremony will be held at The Churchill Hotel on Connecticut Avenue in Washington, D.C. We will convene at 3:30, with a prompt 4:00 start. The ceremony will be expanded this year to include more details about the winning entries as well as presentations by top honor winner(s) and several of the honor award award recipients. Jeffrey Parks, jury chair will preside.  A celebratory champagne reception at the hotel will follow with bubbly, wine, beer and delicious hors d'oeuvres. 


    A limited number of guest rooms have been blocked at the Hotel. We have secured special rates (the rack rates are in parenthesis to give you an idea of how special the rates are!). The standard king room is $184 ($489) and the junior suite is $209 ($529). The group block will be held until October 6. You must make your own reservations by calling 202 797-2000 and say you are with the Waterfront Center group. The Churchill has stood as an historic landmark on Connecticut Avenue for over one hundred years. Before becoming the Churchill, the property was known as the "Highlands," a luxury Beaux-Arts apartment house constructed in 1906. 

2015 Gala Dinner

    A  multi-course Gala Dinner in honor of the 2015 Winners will be held at 7:30 p.m. across the street from the Churchill in the Board Room off the lobby of the historic 2101 Connecticut Avenue apartment building constructed in 1927. This optional event will help raise funds for the educational mission of the Waterfront Center. An elegant and convivial evening is being planned and all who have attended this dinner in the past have enjoyed the opportunity to socialize with old friends and meet new ones.  These Connecticut Avenue locations are located between the Dupont Circle and Woodley Park METRO stops.

    A mailing will be sent out in the Spring. Meanwhile, we are posting a sign-up form on the website that you can download and send in along with check or credit card information. We will send a confirmation.  

    Awards Ceremony and Reception: $30.00 per person.
    Awards Gala Dinner: $125.00 and $100.00 for a guest
    Combined ticket: $135.00 per person

Job Opening: Riverfront Recapture Seeking a New Leader

    Our good friend Joe Marfuggi who has so skillfully led Riverfront Recapture for decades is retiring and he sent along this notice: 

    Riverfront Recapture is seeking a President and CEO to be a passionate advocate for improving Metro Hartford’s quality of life and urban vitality.  The President and CEO will build upon past organizational successes and provide new, creative leadership with the opportunity to expand on Riverfront Recapture’s impact in the region and make Hartford a better place to live, work and visit.

    Given your experience with Riverfront, we would like to ask for your assistance in reaching individuals who may be interested in this opportunity.  The complete application and contact information for interested candidates may be found at

    All candidate inquiries should be made through the TSNE website.  No applications should be sent directly to the Board or to the Riverfront staff.
Please help us with this important search by sharing the information broadly with your network.  We also encourage you to reach out directly with questions or suggestions on potential candidates or sources to Transition Consultant Michael Negrón<> or TSNE search manager Jodi Dowling at<>

River Thames Broke Out of Its Banks

River Thames bursts it banks leaving London Waterfronts swamped.  See article.

Sydney's Next Big Project Moving Forward

Construction Progress at Barangaroo South

     3,400 Sydneysiders were among the first to experience Sydney's newest waterfront park enjoying the fireworks at Barangaroo Point on New Year's Eve 31 December 2014.  

Barangaroo South now has an all-time high of over 2,100 construction workers engaged in building this world class precinct. This includes a range of trades and skills including concreters, carpenters, form-workers and steel fixers. In the coming months Barangaroo South will reach a peak of around 2,500 site workers, including services and finishes trades such as plumbers, electricians, painters and gyprockers. These trades are crucial as the project moves towards the final internal fit-out stage of the first commercial tower. 

    Construction has commenced on Dukes Pier at Barangaroo Point. The pier will be 50m long by 10m wide and extends 20m into Nawi Cove.  The extended section of the pier is supported by ten concrete pillars allowing the harbour to pass beneath. The timber pathway follows the newly constructed foreshore of Central Barangaroo and the recently installed seawall.

See Barangaroo, Dukes Pier and Video

John Oliver Takes on Infrastructure - Definitely Worth a Look! 

See here John Oliver's look at infrastructure.

Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance's Annual Conference May 6, 2015

See more about the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance


February 2015 Newsletter

Awards Jury Set
The 2015 Jury is filled and will deliberate July 23- 25 in Cape May, New Jersey. Notice of results will go out in August. 
2015 Excellence on the Waterfront Jury Members: 
Jeffrey Parks, Chair, ArtsQuest Foundation, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Collette Crepelle, principal, Eskew + Dumez + Ripple, New Orleans, Louisiana
Charles Flynn, executive director, Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area, Yuma, Arizona
Anne McIlroy, principal, Brook-McIlroy, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
William Wenk, principal, William Wenk Associates, Denver, Colorado
Help spread the word!
Awards Deadline is July 1, 2015.

Awards Ceremony and Gala Dinner Date Set
    We will have an Awards Ceremony, Reception and Dinner on Friday, November 6 here in Washington, D.C. For non-winners who wish to attend the ceremony and reception only, there will be a modest charge. The dinner will be extra or a combined ticket to attend both ceremony and dinner will be offered. 
    We are currently negotiating with The Churchill Hotel on Connecticut Avenue in central D.C. for the ceremony and reception. We will hold the dinner in the large reception room off the lobby of an historic apartment building. It promises to be a splashy, festive evening with good food and wine.
    We would block rooms at the hotel.  As this is such a departure from what we have been doing for all these years, we really would like to know if any of you might plan to come. Please let us know as soon as possible, yes - no - maybe. E-mail us at:
Possible 2016 Conference in Auckland, New Zealand 
    For a variety of reasons, including lack of staff and one burned-out-after-32-years person who will celebrate her 75th birthday this year, we decided it was time for a year off from conference management. We have been in discussion with Waterfront Auckland about the possibility of cooperating with them in holding a conference there in late summer/early fall of 2016. 
    We would appreciate knowing any of you have possible interest in going to Auckland (with possible side excursions). You'd see first hand the 2012  top honor award-winning Jellicoe Street, North Wharf Promenade and Silo Park among a host of other exciting things. E-mail us indicating your possible interest: 


    Thanks in no small part to Waterfront Auckland's sustaining membership, we will definitely be able to complete this project - maybe even in this calendar year. 
    Stewart has posted on our website all of the awards for years 2005 - 2014. We are about to pick up discs where 8 years worth of award slides have been digitized. These plus the project descriptions will be sent up to Boston and Stewart will do his magic. When these 8 years are added, there will be only 10 left to go. If you are winner from '05 to '14, please proof  your entry. 
    We plan to reach out to all past winners to let them know of the status of the project and to do more fundraising. When completed, "27 Years of Exemplary Waterfronts: A Searchable, Interactive Database," there will be entries for 398 projects, plans, citizen efforts and student work - from all over the world. To which we will add the 2015 winners – and beyond!

         Happy Valentine’s Greeting to the Waterfront World!

And a Special Portrait of Our Intrepid Stewart McKenzie – more than data snowing him under! Boston, February 2015.


January 2015 Newsletter

 •  Award News
      • Jacksonville RFP
             • Tribute to John Lentz
Data Base Project - 25 Years of Exemplary Waterfronts
    We just took another tally: the Excellence on the Waterfront interactive data base, when complete,will document nearly 400 winners! 
The years 2005 - 2014 already on line. We encourage winners in those years to double check we have all the information entered correctly.
    We have rolled up our sleeves and dug into the slide files from 1987 - 2004.  We took 500 images to a company nearby to digitize them, so a big step has been taken. Stewart will then be able to  enter another 8 years. 
2015 Deadline and Program Details
    Deadline: Entries must be postmarked by July 1, 2015.
    The criteria, program requirements and entry forms are posted on the web page. Call 202 337-0356 or email: if you have any questions. 
    Jury Chair for 2015 is Jeff Parks, former executive director of ArtsQuest in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
    This in from Doris Goldlstein of Jacksonville: 
    I was glad to have attended the waterfront conference in October and met so many people with whom I discussed our plans to redevelop the
Jacksonville Landing on the St. Johns River. The Jacksonville Downtown Investment Authority has posted an RFP for the project, with proposals due on February 18:
John Lentz 1936 - 2015
    Earlier this month we were saddened to learn of the death of John Lentz who was a great personal friend and loyal supporter of the Center. Many of you will remember he and his wife Judy dutifully overseeing conference Book Stores. For most of his career John was a senior loan officer at the Export Import Bank of the United States.  However, his real passion was whitewater, wilderness canoeing. He undertook 21 major Canadian paddling expeditions, plus two in Siberia. He was a member of the Explorers Club since 1963. He authored a wonderful book "Tales from the Paddle" which was reviewed in our Wintertime Reads newsletter and revealed just how daring, difficult and dangerous his trips were - but extremely rewarding experiences of the beauty found in these far reaches of Canada. 
    Besides volunteering at the annual conference, he made at least one presentation at a waterfront conference here in DC. He had fun bringing some of his beloved Potomac River -  a river he enjoyed canoeing on -  to the conferences water ceremony. 

L-R:  Pat Roth, Ann Breen and John Lentz                                          


Christmas 2014 Newsletter

Wishing the Waterfront World a Wonderful Holiday Season 

Winterfest on the Delaware River
On November 25 we were delighted to be invited to the preview party launching Winterfest 2014 where we took the above photo of one of the trees. Winterfest was a 2013 Excellence on the Waterfront Award winner. (
 our website to link to a presentation by Groundswell staff at this year's conference). Pictured below are the director of the Delaware Waterfront Development Corporation, Joe Forkin (center) along with Waterfront Center co-director, Dick Rigby (left) and Michael Coyle of Groundswell (right). 

The weather was not to hot nor too cold so we enjoyed exploring the parking lot turned into a winter wonderland. The skating rink pictured below had been on the riverfront for 20 years but 2013 the Delaware Waterfront Development Corporation hired Groundswell to transform the area into a winter playground. 

Woodchips and gravel cover the asphalt. An enormous heated tent welcomes visitors with food and drink and  plenty of picnic tables. Four cosy seating areas  that have the feel of a Montana lodge complete with oversize leather chairs and sofas, fireplaces with oversize photos of Moose over the mantelpieces. Supersize TV screens are positioned at either end of the tent. The whole place invites folks to come, relax and hang out. Games have been provided to entertain kids as shown below. 

Outside of the main tent several  fire pits provide warmth and a spot to toast a marshmallow, more refreshment booths, Colorful plaid wool blankets are strewn around. Wooden rocking chairs are positioned on the heated front porch as pictured below. 

As with the indoor space, the whole area invites visitors to sit back, bask in the thousands of twinkly lights and have fun. 
If you are in Philadelphia this winter, we definitely recommend you head on down to the riverfront. 

Help The Center's Educational Mission - Donate Today

Please keep us in mind as you make your year-end donations. The Center is a 501-C-3 non-profit corporation. Every little bit helps, especially with our awards database project of putting all 380+  Excellence on Waterfront winners onto a freely available on the web. Check out the last ten years that are already up and running

Our address:
The Waterfront Center, PO Box 53351, Washington, DC 20009

A Bright, Happy New Year - 2015


Early December Newsletter


Urban Waterfronts 2014 Presentations/Events and Annual Awards Ceremony on the Web
Check it Out: 
    If you missed our 32nd annual conference in Washington and Baltimore and the Awards Ceremony or if you were there and want to re-visit some of the presentations, go to our web site and find a wealth of information and images. Thanks to Stewart McKenzie for making all this material available in such a timely fashion. 

MAJOR Progress on the Interactive Awards Data Base
Check it Out: 
    Stewart has also been hard at work on the data base. You can now access award winners from 2005 through 2014! If you were among the winners in this batch, we urge you to check out the site and be sure we have all your information entered correctly. 
    The project enters a new phase now as all the visual material from 1987 - 2004 came in the form of slides that need to be digitized. Also, verifying contact information gets harder as we go back in time. But we've come a long way: we are ten years down with 20 more to go. 

Remember the Center - Donate Today
    As you make choices about your year-end charitable gifts, please keep the above-mentioned educational project in mind. We are relying on the waterfront community around the world to help make this invaluable information --  documenting 380+ award winners -- a reality! As we have said more than once: "We will make this happen come hell or high water."  But we do need your help!
Our address:
The Waterfront Center, PO Box 53351, Washington, DC 20009

    To chill out after Urban Waterfronts 2014, we ventured down to Old San Juan where we had not been in 20 years. We basked in warm weather and wandered the many colorful streets of this charming city. Needless to say, we zeroed in on the waterfront and want to share some of the varied images with everyone. 
    We started out to explore the Muralla - the enduring symbol of Puerto Rico  and on the way happened upon a small park with this stunning piece of public art: La Rogativo commemorating a 1797 event. The story has it that the invading British fleet was duped into thinking reinforcements had arrived by a procession of women and priest carrying torches and ringing bells -- the men were busy protecting inland fronts. The British sailed away. 

    The omnipresent wall presents gives you pause not only to to admire the construction itself, patina and a chance to reflect on all the 100s of years of history. The wall that is 45' wide and 40' high in some places was begun in the 16th century and took 200 years to complete. The image of the City Gate gives you an idea of the depth of the wall. One of the many lookout towers - the city's logo - found along the wall.San Juan was well and truly fortified!


    You'll see from the map of Old San Juan a small black circle that indicates the gate where we set off. The walkway, the Paseo de la Princesa, is plenty wide and affords beautiful views, including the one below of the small pier and beach at sunset.


    Around the bend one arrives at the area surrounding the Roots Fountain, a more formal area with period lighting, a huge sculpture and fountain and steps down to the water.


    Meandering further along, approaching the central waterfront where the cruise ship docks dominate, we passed a shaded performance pavilion and came within sight of one of the main terminals. Again the width of the walkway is notable and the balustrades and paving change in tone. The cruise ships bring thousands of tourists into San Juan and nearly overwhelm the streets at times.


   The central waterfront walkway along La Marina Street is functional and unexceptional. Although in one section someone tried to liven things up with bright yellow paint and did provide seating. But a nice surprise was the discovery of new, very modern, sculptural pier head gates and guardhouse.


    We were well-rewarded again as we pressed on and came across with an entirely different environment:the Bahia Urbana in the works since the 1980s. A wide promenade features plantings, shade structures (most welcome in the hot, sunny climate), all manner of seating, water taxis stops, and a jaunty seahorse sculpture. Rather than keep to one standard seating, there are multiple designs.


    The walkway ends at a pedestrian bridge that crosses over to an large open space for events and performances, a cafe, restrooms, food vending punctuated by shade structures and seating along one edge. The highlight, especially for children is the water and sand park.


    In contrast to Bahia Urbana, we ended our day at the fortress El Morro where locals were enjoying sunset, kite flying, picnicking in a gorgeous slice of the public realm overlooking the sea.



Mid October Newsletter

Celebrate With Our 2014 Excellence on the Waterfront Award Winners!

    There are still a few  spaces available for the Gala Dinner November 7 at the historic Dacor Bacon House for 
an evening of fine dining and fun. The gala is always a highlight of the conference and funds raised will help support our Excellence on the Waterfront Database Project described below.

The DACOR Bacon House Dining Room

Database Project Progresses

    Thanks to Stewart McKenzie's diligence, the years 2007 - 2013 have been entered and 2006 is in the works.  If you have not done so already, go onto our website ( and play around. Tell your friends and colleagues about this unique resource. 
     The goal of this project is to create an interactive digital database with information about the roughly 380 projects, plans, citizen efforts and student work  that have won Excellence on the Waterfront Awards beginning in 1987. The database is posted on the Internet as a free resource linked to the Waterfront Center’s existing actively used web site. This unique resource, available nowhere else, is already --  and when completed --  be an invaluable reference for designers, cities, developers, planners, and students. The 27-year record documents some of the best thinking on waterfront planning and design from around the world. 

    The information in the database includes the name of the project, illustrative images, descriptive text, jury comments, and identifying characteristics to allow interactive searches.  The database software allows searches to be made to extract projects of particular interest.

   A fundraising effort is ongoing and is critical as the Center must sort and digitize hundreds of slides that were integral to the  first 17 years of entries. Contact information must also be updated.
Slides From Early Awards Being Sorted 

Urban Waterfronts 2014 - Two Weeks To Go!

It is not too late to sign up.
    Go to and register on line or print out the registration form from the brochure at and email or send it along. You will also be able to register on site although the gala dinner may be sold out. 


October Newletter

Our 32nd Annual International Conference is Shaping Up to be Wonderfully International. 

    There is still plenty of time to register for Urban Waterfronts 2014 which is 3 1/2 weeks away. Register now on line or go to the web site and print out the form.

    We are looking forward to greeting old friends (many of them of 25+  years standing) and meeting new attendees amongst whom are delegates from Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Australia, Angola and Canada. We think we have a terrific program for you all. 

Meet Our Speakers 
Panel 2 Genius Loci – The Art of Creating Special Places

    Every community strives to create distinctive waterfront areas, both large and small, beloved and frequented by the public.  Imagination and creativity are essential. Our panelists will tackle the je ne sais quoi that goes into remarkable placemaking – design details, public art, special lighting, landscape treatments, unusual materials, understanding heritage – all this and more.

Stuart Niven, consultant, principal, Melbourne, Australia

     Stuart Niven, a native New Zealander, is the Principal of his own urban design consultancy (Stuart Niven Urban Design), based in Melbourne, Australia.

    He has 28  years of experience in private practice consultancy and in both Local and Central Government.

    He pioneered urban design practice in New Zealand – and was the first urban designer appointed to a New Zealand local government (Wellington, 1992-99).

    He is the former Principal Urban Design Advisor to Australia’s Victorian State Government and Director of it’s Urban Design Unit. As such, he has 10 years experience of working within Central Government as a strategic design advisor in typically complex development situations involving many potential, competing players. His close association with, and understanding of, complex city environments stems from his role as a frequent urban design critic and design negotiator around private market responses or proposals for reviving existing, or establishing new, pieces of city.

    In addition to his Australian experience, he has - for the last 6 years – acted as both a “project establishment” leader and a principal urban design advisor to the Auckland Public Waterfront Project, one of  New Zealand’s largest urban renewal project.  He championed and assisted in the development of a major new waterfront promenade and the establishment of an innovative and effective “place making” resource attached to the daily life and operation of the waterfront’s public spaces.  This project was awarded an Excellence on the Waterfront top honor in the 2012 Awards.
    He has also had recent involvement with the re-establishment of the quake-devastated retail centre of Central Christchurch. His current consultancy commitments take him to  Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, Tonga, Malaysia and New Zealand.

David Fierabend, Principal, Groundswell Design Group

    David has been a devoted student of landscape architecture and garden design for over two decades. His love of nature and the arts finds expression in all of his work. He enjoys collaborating with local artisans on projects because he believes that a range of experience should be brought to each design. David’s award-winning work ranges in scale from residential to commercial and has been featured in Philadelphia Magazine, Style Magazine, and Arts and Antiques Magazine. As an Executive Council Member of the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society, he is committed to the greening of Philadelphia. Notable recent projects include the rooftop Sea Garden at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Morgan’s Pier restaurant on the Delaware Riverfront, and, in coordination with OLIN, Sol Lewitt: Lines in Four Directions in Flowers at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Morgan’s Pier received an Excellence on the Waterfront Award in 2012.

    David holds a Master of Landscape Architecture and Bachelor of Science degrees as well as Certification in Coastal Installation and Maintenance


Late September Newsletter

Early Bird Rate and Conference Hotel Cutoff - October 5
One Week to Go for Savings! 

    Be sure to take advantage of the early bird registration rate and save $100.00 and don't miss out on the great group rate at the Hampton Inn - Washington DC. 202/ 296 1006 and say you are with the Waterfront Center. $149 for a King and $169 for a Double Queen. Free Wi Fi, complimentary hot buffet breakfast, fitness room and pool.  

    You can register for the conference on line or print out the form from our website/use the brochure you may have received and send to Waterfront Center, PO Box 53351, Washington, DC 20009. 
Panel One: Resiliency - The New Imperative
    Sea level rise, floods, hurricanes, and violent storms have impacted waterfront cities around the world. The panelists, drawing on their varied experiences from the aftermaths of earthquake activity in Christchurch, New Zealand, Katrina’s flooding in New Orleans and post-hurricane Sandy in New York, will address how communities, designers and government programs have recovered and planned for the future.
Meet Our Speakers

Collette Creppell

    Collette Creppell, principal/director of urban strategies, Eskew + Dumez + Ripple, New Orleans, has over 25 years of experience as an architect and planner, including the past ten years as university architect and director of campus planning for Tulane University.  Having trained in the architecture offices of Rafael Moneo, Ben Thompson & Associates, and Moshe Safdie in the U.S. and abroad, Mrs. Creppell returned to New Orleans in 1994 to establish an architectural firm Design for Public Spaces and to teach as a clinical assistant professor at Tulane School of Architecture. A former city planner in New York City, she served as Executive Director of the New Orleans City Planning Commission (2001-03). Mrs. Creppell has served as a national awards jury member for the Society of College and University Planning, as Vice Chair of the Board of the New Orleans Building Corporation and on the boards of the Tulane School of Architecture, Benjamin Franklin High School, the New Orleans Charter Science and Math High School, and A Studio in the Woods. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree, cum laude, from Harvard College and a Master of Architecture degree with distinction from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, on whose Alumni Council she sits. Mrs. Creppell is a member of the American Institute of Architects, the Association of University Architects, the Society for College and University Planning, and the American Planning Association.

​Brie Hensold

    Brie, as senior associate with Sasaki Associates, Watertown, Massachusetts is an urban planner and project manager in Sasaki's Urban Studio. Her work encompasses multiple scales and regions, from neighborhood and downtown plans to city-wide parks master plans and riverfront master plans. She has also worked for a number of colleges and universities, and is deeply knowledgeable about the relationships between institutions and their surrounding contexts. She recently participated in post-sandy NY Rising planning team working in a number of NY communities, several in the Hudson Valley.Mostly resiliency planninmg,  project design and selection of key projects  with federal backing - but NY state has put and emphasis on community and innovation as well as resilience.   

    With a passion for understanding and improving cities, Brie brings a focus on integrating people, communities, context, and the human experience to Sasaki's planning and design ideas and projects. She has extensive experience with community engagement processes and an understanding of the complex range of constituencies involved in implementing a successful planning project. Brie is a creative and calm problem solver, whether seeking a solution for a strategic planning concept or an impromptu method for running a public meeting.  

    Brie holds a Master in Urban Planning from Harvard University Graduate School of Design, and a Bachelor of Arts in architectural studies from Rice University.

Rod Marler

     Rod is general manager for development for Waterfront Auckland. He has more than 30 years experience delivering large and complex projects. He joined Waterfront Auckland at its inception November 2010 following an eight-year role as General Manager Design, Westfield New Zealand. He holds a degree in Architecture and an MBA, both from Auckland University.  Rod leads a team of planners, designers, development and project managers to deliver projects across Auckland’s waterfront on behalf of Auckland Council. Rod led the Waterfront Auckland team responsible for delivering the 2012 Waterfront Plan.

    In May 2012 Rod spent 3 months leading the development of the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan and the Blueprint team responsible for the masterplan for the redevelopment of central Christchurch.
In February 2014 Rod was invited to join a Local Government NZ team to assist the Samoan government with the development of a waterfront strategy for Apia. Working with the Samoan planning and urban design team, this will lead to the production of a Waterfront Plan for Apia. Waterfront Auckland won the Top Honor Excellence on the Waterfront Award in 2012 for Jellicoe Street North Wharf Promenade and Silo Park.


Mid September Newsletter
Early Bird Rate and Conference Hotel Cutoff - October 5
    Be sure to take advantage of the early bird registration rate and save $100.00 and don't miss out on the great group rate at the Hampton Inn - Washington DC. 202/ 296 1006 and say you are with the Waterfront Center. $149 for a King and $169 for a Double Queen. Free Wi Fi, complimentary hot buffet breakfast, fitness room and pool.  

Meet Our Speakers - Panel 4

Let's Celebrate! The Special Role of Festivals and Events


    Charlotte De Witt is an events architect who has specialized in waterfront festivals and international events since 1979, working in 30 countries throughout North America, Europe, “Down Under”, Asia, and the Middle East. She has produced some 150 festivals and events. A highly respected industry leader, she has been interviewed by print and broadcast media worldwide. She was the only inductee into the 2009 International Festivals and Events Association Hall of Fame, the highest honor in the industry. Charlotte is Past Chairman of the International Festivals and Events Association (IFEA) and founder/ past President/CEO of IFEA Europe. She lived in Stockholm, Sweden, from 1994-2004.

     Charlotte trademarked and pioneered the concept of Waterfront Festivals® in the United States in the 1970s, bringing arts festivals to the water’s edge as a visitors’ magnet; later worked with the Thames Water Authority, London, and the Stockholm (Sweden) Water Festival, the largest festival in northern Europe, beginning in 1994. Marketed the world’s only Floating Cinema® (Guinness Book of World Records..

    Her event consultations have spanned the globe: Chinese New Year’s in Singapore; Carnival in Nice, France; the Kuala Lumpur International Buskers’ Festival in Malaysia; urban waterfront design in St. Paul, USA; Cape Cod Cultural Center, South Yarmouth, USA; and speaking engagements in Beijing, Brussels, New York City, Singapore, Stockholm, Sydney, Ottawa, Atlanta, Auckland, Reykjavik, Dubai, and Korea.

    Charlotte has produced numerous international event management and marketing conferences throughout Europe. She was an early member of the Center’s Board of Advisors.


    Karen Slaughter-DuPerry, is General Motor’s senior project manager on loan to the Detroit RiverFront Conversancy.  She is working in the areas of project management and Community Outreach. She previously coordinated the efforts of the Detroit Mayor’s East Riverfront Study Group from 2002-2005.

    DuPerry joined GM in 1983 as an architectural designer in the Design Department for Argonaut AEC. During her 11-year assignment, she developed corporate space standards, redeveloped the Truck Product Center in Pontiac and coordinated a master plan for the General Motors Technical Center in Warren, MI and authored the furniture reuse program for the corporation. Upon returning from a two-year overseas sabbatical, she joined the GM Worldwide Real Estate (WRE) in 1997. Within WRE she reported to the Economic Development Department, which is responsible for corporate re- developments and economic investments. She redeveloped an environmentally challenged 84 acre site in New Jersey into a nine hole golf course with a driving range and miniature golf.

    She is a Detroit Native. She is a graduate of the Detroit Public School system (Cass Tech High School- Architecture Department, 1977), University of Michigan (BS in Architecture, 1981) and the University of Michigan (Master of Architecture, 1983). She is also the proud mother of two sons, Imani and Kahlil.


    Joe is president and CEO of the Riverfront Recapture, a nonprofit organization that was created in 1981 to restore public access to the Connecticut River where flood control walls and an interstate highway had isolated Hartford and East Hartford from the river for more than 40 years.  Riverfront Recapture has overseen design and construction of a network of four parks and riverwalks on public land in the two municipalities - and now manages those public spaces for the municipalities.
    Management responsibilities include overseeing maintenance of the parks and programming a wide variety of events and activities on the Riverfront.  More than 800,000 visitors a year come to the Riverfront parks each year to enjoy a full calendar of free activity, including concerts, festivals, and sporting events - or to walk, jog, or bike along the beautiful natural greenway.  A series of international festivals celebrates the region's rich cultural diversity with the Taste of the Caribbean and Jerk Festival, the Riverfront Dragon Boat and Asian Festival, a Latin Jazz and Salsa Festival, and the Pipes in the Valley Celtic Festival. In 1997 Riverfront Recapture was awarded Top Honor from our Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Program jury. 
A native of Vermont, Joe has lived in Hartford for more than 40 years.  He holds a BA degree from the University of Connecticut and an MA in Communications from Stanford University.


The Waterfront Center Final Conference Program and Speaker Biographies

     We are pleased to present what we think will be an engaging and informative program drawing on projects and geography from around the world. The speakers are all committed, seasoned practitioners sharing a passion about waterfronts and waterfront issues. They will be eager to share their experiences and answer your questions. We are looking for a lively, interactive dialogue!

 Urban Waterfronts 2014: Making Connections

  Final Program

 Panel One:  Resiliency – The New Imperative

     Sea level rise, floods, hurricanes, and violent storms have impacted waterfront cities around the world. The panelists, drawing on their varied experiences from the aftermaths of earthquake activity in Christchurch, New Zealand, Katrina’s flooding in New Orleans and post-hurricane Sandy in New York and New Jersey, will address how communities, designers and government programs have recovered and planned for the future.

Moderator: Barry Hersh, N.Y.U. Schack Institute of  Real Estate, New York, N.Y.

Post Sandy: Rebuilding by Design: Brie Hensold, senior associate, Sasaki Associates, Watertown, Massachusetts

Addressing Multiple Crises in Christchurch: Rod Marler, general manager development, Waterfront Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

Lessons from Katrina and Strategies for the Future: Colette Crepell, principal Eskew+ Dumez +Ripple, New Orleans, Louisiana

Panel 2 – Genius Loci – The Art of Creating Special Places

     Every community strives to create distinctive waterfront areas, both large and small, beloved and frequented by the public.  Imagination and creativity are essential. Our panelists will tackle the je ne sais quoi that goes into remarkable placemaking –  design details, public art, special lighting, landscape treatments, unusual materials, understanding heritage – all this and more.

 Moderator: Ed Freer, principal, Smith Group JJR, Madison, Wisconsin

The Art of Making Things Distinctive Down Under: Stuart Niven, Melbourne, Australia

Philadelphia’s Riverfront Pop-Ups – Loaded with Personality: David Fierabend ,principal, Groundswell Design Group, Hopewell, New Jersey

Reflecting on Decades of Placemaking: Douglas Campbell, principal, Campbell & Campbell, Santa Barbara, California

 Panel 3 – Deciding on the Right Mix

    Whether it is a large swath of shoreline frontage with multiple acres or just a few, each community must grapple with what is the right mix of uses or maybe even just one. Our panelists with years of experience in the field will reflect on their work with civic leaders, private interests, design professionals and the community in finding the right solutions. Ideally the right mix enriches each community’s waterfront respecting the environmental aspects as well as cultural and commercial considerations while avoiding cookie-cutter approaches. Speakers will touch everything from massively day-lighting a river in Pueblo, Colorado to projects on Lake Union in Seattle and Port Angeles, Washington, among others.

Moderator: Mike Krieger, Of Counsel, Dunn & Lambert, Mahwah, New Jersey

Historic Arkansas Riverwalk of Pueblo – Transformational and Catalytic: Don Brandes, principal, Matrix Design Group, Denver, Colorado

Lessons from Northwest Waterfronts: Mark Hinshaw, principal, LMN Architects, Seattle, Washington

Yuma’s Colorado Riverfront Offers a Little Bit of Everything: Charles Flynn, executive director, Yuma Crossing National Area, Yuma, Arizona

 Panel 4 :  Let’s Celebrate ! The Special Role of Festivals and Events

    Ray Bradbury once observed: “The peculiar thing about festivals and celebrations of course is that before they begin you often say: Why bother! And when they end you ask what in hell was that about? But once they have started and once they are in full feather-fling and eruption, what a lark!” 

    Lots of planning and hard work go into creating memorable happenings of all kinds for people to enjoy their waterfront – in an out of the water. Fireworks, films, races, educational events, clean-ups, big bands, silly parades, bagpipes, bugles, bikes, barbeque contests, Octoberfests, dancing, singing, you name it – all in the name of  “public happiness.” Gain insights into the behind-the-scenes world of organizing, marketing, and managing these events from some of the best in the business.

Moderator: Jim August, CEO, The Forks North Portage Partnership, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Tips and Tidbits from Festivals Large and Small from Around the World: Charlotte DeWitt, president, International Events, Boston, Massachusetts

From Dragon Boats, Bass Tournaments to  Bagpipes – What It Takes to Fill Out a Calendar: Joe Marfuggi, executive director, Riverfront Recapture, Hartford, Connecticut

Lots of People, Lots of Love on the Detroit Riverfront: Karen Slaughter-DuPerry, Projects/Community Outreach Executive, The Detroit RiverFront Conservancy, Detroit, Michigan

 Meet Our Speakers - Panel 3: Choosing the Right Mix


    Don Brandes was the founder and president of Design Studios West, Inc. In 2012, Matrix Design Group, Inc. (Matrix) acquired Design Studios West, Inc. As Vice President, Shareholder and Director of Urban Design and Landscape Architecture Don actively leads all multi-disciplinary projects and is responsible for project programming, conceptual planning and design, and final project design review. Don’s planning and design passion continues to focus on urban design, waterfront design, resort and land development, and complex mixed-use downtown development projects. His book, “Developing Difficult Sites, Solutions for Builders and Developers”, is published by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) in Washington DC. Don holds a Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Colorado. In 2008, he won an Excellence on the Waterfront award for the Historic Arkansas Riverwalk (HARP) of Pueblo.


    Charles Flynn has served as the Executive Director of the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area Corporation since its inception in 2000. Under his leadership, the Heritage Area is guiding $100 million of public and private investment along the Lower Colorado River. Flynn graduated from Stanford University in 1974 with a BA/MA in American History. He worked for Mayor Edward Koch of New York from 1974-1981. From 1981-1993, he served as CEO of a family-owned resort in western Pennsylvania, during which time he also served on City Council in Meadville, Pa. From 1994 to 1999, he led a $25 million riverfront redevelopment project in Wheeling, West Virginia. He is married to Ann Walker, and they have two children -- Brendan, age 25 and Adam, age 22.


    Mark Hinshaw is the Director of Urban Design for LMN Architects in Seattle. For over twenty-five years, he has been responsible for a wide range of projects in large cities, suburban centers, and small towns. From 1982-1990, he was Principal Urban Designer for the City of Bellevue, WA, helping guide its transformation from a nondescript collection of strip centers to an intense, mixed use, transit-oriented urban center. Hinshaw lectures widely on the subject of urban design at conferences and workshops. Between 1992 and 2004, he wrote a regular column on architecture and urban design for The Seattle Times. His has authored two books: Citistate Seattle: Shaping a Modern Metropolis (1999) and True Urbanism: Living In and Near the Center (2007).

Early September Newsletter

The World of Waterfronts
The Searchable Interactive Data Base of Excellence on the Waterfront Honor Award Winners 1987 - 2013 Hits Its First Milestone  

    Kudos to Stewart McKenzie for getting five years of award winners up on the website. By clicking on the prototype at  you can now access and view projects from 2009 through 2013 including images, project descriptions, jury comments and contact information. You can sort by country, city, project type, and category.  The search engine also scans the text of the project descriptions and jury comments and will give a result if the search word is found there.  The search page can be found here.

    The Center continues to raise funds to realize the dream of making all 27 years of winners numbering over 380 projects, plans, citizen efforts and student  work freely available to those working and studying about waterfronts around the world.  It will be an invaluable, unique resource. 

    We encourage all winners from these past five years to check their entries and let us know if we need to update or make any changes to your listing. 

Urban Waterfronts 2014 - Early Bird and Hotel Cutoff is October 5
    Register on-line or by mail this month to receive the lower registration fee of $295 and save $100.

    Special conference hotel rates at the Hampton Inn - Washington, DC are available until October 5 as well. This is an extraordinary deal -- $149.00 for a beautiful centrally located hotel in DC within walking distance of the American Institute of Architects Headquarters. Call direct at 202/296-1006. 

Along the Waterfront in  Wellington, NZ A Spotlight on Public Art

    When we journeyed to Wellington this past March, we had not been there for 18 years. Our first trips were memorable indeed including conducting a community participatory workshop with many of the citizens. We will report on the waterfront generally in our next issue but for now we want to focus on some of the public art to be found as you wander along this beautiful harbor. Our hope in the coming year is to begin writing more about art of all kinds on the world's waterfronts - a favorite topic that we have been following for over 30 years. 

    Whenever you return to a place, you always wonder how has it changed or will something you loved have been wrecked. And thus it was as we walked down to find the memorable City to Sea Bridge. Emerging from the Library, yes thankfully, there it was. As you move from the library you first catch a glimpse through the large stone wedge of the Maori-inspired totems drawing you forward. The artful bridge itself, installed in 1994,  is the work of noted Maori artist, Paratene Matchett and makes crossing the busy arterial road that separates the city from the harbor a really enjoyable experience. The big fish that punctuates the final descent points you whimsically towards the water. 

    Wellington's waterfront has an abundance of history and this is celebrated in numerous ways including retention of old cranes, nautical artifacts, a Wellington Harbour Board logo and interpretive signage. 

    Dotted along at the waterfront are delightful quotes from 23 New Zealand authors found in expected and unexpected of places comprising  a "Writers Walk." The sculptures are the work of noted typographer, Catherine Griffiths. Visit: for lots of images and more information. Pictured below are some samples including the one on the wall behind the boys cannon-balling in the water - not an everyday sight on most waterfronts!  

    Wellington's waterfront is notable for the amount of seating of all kinds provided for people to hang out. The two girls pictured not only get close to the water but enjoy a close up view of  this oversize sea urchin sculpture, Nga Kina, by Michel Tuffery that interacts with the tides. 

    Speaking of hanging out: one prominent piece is "Solace in the Wind" where our swimmer is literally hanging over the water - poetically buoyed and held in place by the wind. 

    For sheer fun -- and function -- you can't beat these two bright red, rest rooms - affectionately called "lobster loos." They received third prize in Design Curial's Oscars for restrooms ( Takes a certain boldness and sense of humor to make a gesture like this. 

Happy September! 

August Newsletter

2014 Excellence on the Waterfront Jury Deliberations Completed

2014 Awards Jury
Back row is Mike Dawson, Margot Long,
Front row l - r   Joel Mills, Chair, Luis de Matos and Jeff Parks

    The 2014 awards jury met in Cape May, New Jersey and after a review of the entries, discussions and debates selected seven projects, two plans, one Clearwater and one student award. This year's crop shows a diverse range in geography, city size and project types. The winners will be announced November 7 during Urban Waterfronts 2014: Making Connections, our 32 annual international conference to be held at the American Institute of Architects (AIA) headquarters in Washington, D.C. The ceremony is a highlight of our annual meeting and is followed by a champagne reception honoring this year's winners to be held at the historic Octagon House next to AIA. An optional gala dinner will be held at the Dacor Bacon house built in 1824-25. A limited number of tickets are available. Proceeds from the benefit will be used for the Center's Excellence on the Waterfront  interactive database project that when complete will feature the 380 award winners beginning in 1987.  For information on the Conference and Gala Dinner:

A Columnist Reflects on the Industrial Waterfront

    Don Brunell writing for The Columbian on August 12, makes the case for the likes of a Georgia Pacific mill in Camas, Washington. His column "Washington View: Harmony is Possible on the Waterfront" makes a  very good case that industry can be a good neighbor and one should think twice about getting rid of "eyesores." He references Kohler, Wisconsin as an example of what a great neighbor an industry can be. Kohler has been in the community for over a hundred years. The industry co-exists with resorts, golf courses, schools and many other uses. 

New Developments on Portland Maine's Waterfront

   For followers of working waterfront issues a recent item on Google may be of interest. "New Building on Maine Wharf Reflects Portland's Changing Waterfront," by Randy Billings in the August 7 Portland Press Herald. In brief: 
    A new building is rising on Maine Wharf on the central Portland waterfront. It stands out from the older fishing industry-characterful structures. The contemporary building will house a restaurant on the ground floor and offices space with water view on upper floors. 
    The building development symbolizes Portland's changing waterfront, once the very well-protected domain of the fishing industry. Portland was featured in Breen and Rigby's 1985 book: Caution: Working Waterfront - The impact of change on  marine enterprises and is available through our Website: A series of zoning changes have opened the door to more offices and tourist-based development. Read about all this and more here.

Brooklyn Bridge Park as an Oasis and a Point of Controversy

    The joys of the Brooklyn Bridge Park are beautifully described by Anne Raver in a July 25, 2014 article in the New York Times:  "Hey, Mister, I've Got a Park I Can Sell You."  The park's plan received an honor award in 2009 and the park itself an award in 2013. The present  park is the culmination of some 30 years of effort beginning in the early 1980's when a group of citizens were able to thwart the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's plans to sell its six  piers.Today the park comprises 85 acres and six re-claimed piers hosting numerous recreational uses, gardens, beaches, greenery and places to touch the water. Designer Michael Van Valkenburgh gave homage to Mickey Murphy who died at 82 in 2002. She was a tireless citizen activist. He recalled her saying in a public meeting  in 1999 something like: " I want to be able to go down to the East River at night and put my feet in the water and see the reflection of the moon." He then realized "The nature of the park is the river." That citizen effort, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Coalition and especially Mickey Murphy were recognized with the Clearwater Award in 2000. 
    One of selling points to get the park built was a public-private partnership  to allow housing to be constructed on Pier Six to help fund the endeavor. The Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation was recently about to go to bid. Then Mayor DeBlasio saw an opportunity to provide affordable housing as part of the mix which has set of  a whole new battle. The details are outlined in an August 3, 2014 New York Times piece: The Battle of Brooklyn Park by Liz Robbins.

July 4th Newsletter

In the spirit of the Fourth of July, the Waterfront Center wishes everyone a wonderful holiday weekend  filled with friends, family and above all fun - waterfront fun if you can have it! 

A New Bright, Happy Waterfront Spot on the Delaware! 

    Philadelphia's Delaware River waterfront and in particular Penn's Landing, has been a very long time reaching its full potential - at least 35 years.  Of course the area does have 17 lanes of highway to deal with and many off again on again proposals that never gained traction. On the plus side, Its programming has drawn hundreds/thousands to the river over the years.  However, the overall design was of another more, heavy-handed era. New energy seems to be afoot and plans are in the works so things may well look up - it may well be a new day. 

    KABOOM! Just in time for the July 4th weekend in the City that justifiably celebrates the Declaration of Independence and our right to pursue happiness comes the spanking new Spruce Street Harbor Park -- as colorful and joyous as any ooh and aah show of fireworks.  The Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, in collaboration with the team from Groundswell and others, has delivered to the citizens of the City of Brotherly Love a special swath of public realm they can't help but  eagerly embrace during the summer of 2014. Spruce Street Harbor Park has been inserted amidst the original Christopher Columbus Park at Penn's Landing. The new design vernacular builds on the nautical and industrial history of the river with lots of wood, metal, corrugated tin and recycled materials. 

    We visited the park just days after its kick-off on June 27. It is scheduled to be open in July and August. For those unable to see it this year, we offer a quick glimpse. Despite the 100+ degrees of heat, we hope you'll see why enjoyed ourselves. We met a very enthusiastic young staff member, watched maintenance crew hard at work, workers polishing off details, security personnel and people hanging out relaxing. We overheard two older women friends who had never been in a hammock: one said to the other that it was so much fun and told her pal to take off her shoes and swing.   

The beautiful, shady grove of trees is now features 37 hammocks. It is as if those knitting artists suddenly decided on string. Ever-changing LED "icicles" drop down from the limbs day and night. Nighttime effect especially magical.  



What are hammocks for? Snoozing and relaxing - summertime.  Concession containers in background.  


Over two dozen colorful deck chairs set out on a grassy knoll afford views of the waterfront scene. 



Along the water's edge a boardwalk has been constructed with containers used for such things as an arcade (shown here) and food stalls. A bocce court (shown here) and a shuffleboard court are provided for fun and games. You will notice the earlier, heavier design in granite and metal in the foreground. Also, the knitters' art at the base of the flagpoles.


The focal point of the park is a floating garden with its lush vegetation. The river pond is enclosed by joining three 80" x 30" barges. A closer view of the garden shows its painterly qualities.  The decks of the barges combine wood and sand floors. Each barge offers a different experience as shown below:  



Smaller, intimate seating has been incorporated along with vegetation for folks to sit back and sip their beer.Even pillows have been provided for many of  the Adirondack chairs.  


A row of the Adirondack chairs for viewing the pond, umbrellas, twinkly lights in the trees and multi-colored bistro chairs and tables that scattered over the entire park, providing seating for 80, add to the ambiance.



Cantilevered off the end of a barge are 5, 6" x 10" connected over-water net "lounges" complete with throw pillows. The young woman shown here is obviously enjoying the experience. The SSHP staff member we spoke to recounted relaxing, gazing up at the fireworks as one awesome, unforgettable time.


The third barge houses the food and beer concessions housed in old containers. Whatever metal chosen for the gangplanks was not - unbelievably - HOT to the touch on this very hot day. The boardwalk, deck chair installation in the background. Happy orange and yellow flags announce something fun going on.  


The Waterfront Center 2014 Conference Brochure

The Water front Center 2014 Conference Brochure is on the website see

The Waterfront Center 2014 Awards Submission Deadline

Changed to July 10, 2014

May Day Newsletter

May Day 2014
The Waterfront Center Celebrates 33rd Anniversary

   As we reflect on 33 years, we did take on some challenges and faced disappointments that all non-profits do, but we feel extremely grateful for all the wonderful individuals we have met and communities we have been privileged to serve.

    As we turn the calendar on a New Year we look forward to the annual international conference and the awards program but our big excitement involves the Excellence on the Waterfront Interactive Data Base project. There are over 340 projects, plans, citizen efforts and student work that have been recognized since 1987. Once complete this will be an extraordinary and unique resource for those in the field.

    Stewart McKenzie, now based in Somerville, MA, continues to work his magic on our website and has been busily putting  the last three years of winners up on the web as a prototype with plans for improving and refining it for the user. He is working backwards from 2013. As a piece of history, the image collection made a major shift around 2005 from 35mm slides to power points and digital images. That leaves about 18 years of slide sleeves to alphabetize, organize by year, and select best images to digitize.


     As Lao Tsu observed:



    Back here in DC the elves - in their cute little shoes -  are busy getting this collection in order.  Just to give you a smile and an idea of the scope, we thought we'd share a couple of  images. First of the roughly 245 slide sleeves we are going through and then a glance at some of the loose slides that have been discovered in all sorts of places that need to incorporated. Let's hope Teddy the cat doesn't walk all over these!


    Happy May Day to one and all whether you are celebrating ancient rituals of flowers or remembering the more political event - both were in mind as we signed of our incorporation papers May 1,  1981. And then there is the more nautical meaning of "May Day" - meaning help needed. We continue to need all the help we can get to continue our mission and most especially getting to the end of the thousand miles our task represents! All donations gratefully received.

Don't forget the awards deadline: July 1 and hope to see you at the conference!

Late April Newsletter - Aukland II

Auckland's Central Waterfront - Part II

    Our previous newsletter offered glimpses of the Wynyard Quarter area, site of  the 2012 Excellence on the Waterfront top honor award-winning Jellicoe Street, North Wharf Promenade and Silo Park and clearly, for the moment, the jewel in the waterfront crown. However, Waterfront Auckland is working away on many of the  remaining sections of their central waterfront. 

    The central waterfront is bracketed on the east by Harbour Bridge Park and  the Westhaven Marina, one of the largest in the world, and on the west by the Port of Auckland. The waterfront in between bustles with activities both in the water and upland with lots of restaurants and bars as well as the Maritime Museum. This account takes in but a portion of what's to be seen. 

Westhaven Marina and Harbour Bridge Park

View of the mammoth bustling Westhaven marina being enjoyed from an outdoor cafe. Note the security gate is a notch way above the more typical chain link variety. 

A major walkway along the shoreline of  the marina is under construction will greatly enhance the public's ability to have access around the harbor.

Harbour Bridge Park, close by the Marina area, has lots of potential and is due for an upgrade. 

Port of Auckland

View of the Port of Auckland's major holdings and container operations at the western edge of the Central Waterfront. 

Wynyard Crossing

The pedestrian lift bridge, Wynyard Crossing, opened around 2011, finally allowed easy access along the entire waterfront from the spanking new Wynyard Quarter to previously developed areas. This connection enabled Aucklanders to experience their exciting new public realm which they took to immediately in droves.

  Viaduct Harbour
In the 1990's Viaduct Harbour and related housing, commercial development and marinas were constructed to support the America's Cup defense, bringing new life to the waterfront. 

Apartments along the Viaduct Harbour offer spectacular water views for the occupants. The pedestrian  experience in the precinct has a somewhat sterile feel about it.

Most of Viaduct Harbour offers plenty of waterfront walkways. A series of descriptive interpretive plaques placed along the walkway describe some of the area's history and culture . The paving design takes its inspiration from a Maori pattern based on the flounder.

Prince's Wharf


Prince's Wharf a huge presence, if not overwhelming, houses a series of residences, cafes and a Hilton Hotel. It lacks any meaningful public access around or at the end of the wharf and appears to have  somehow slipped through any sort of design review. The interior roadway is downright claustrophobic. Note the historic Ferry Terminal building to the left.

Queen's Wharf

Queen's Wharf has a long and storied history in the City. The present wharf constructed in the early 20th century juts out about a quarter of a mile into the harbor offering commanding views. While dwarfed by the enormous cruise ship in this photo, the wharf covers 7 acres. The wave-like structure in the foreground, The Cloud,was built as a temporary installation to support the 2011 Rugby World Cup and is used for exhibitions, conferences, public events and the like. Some or all of it will have to come down and what the future holds is a question Waterfront Auckland must grapple with. 


The Cloud's interior provides an enormous amount of space. When we visited they had set up table tennis and indoor games. At the far end, providing spectacular views from air-conditioned spaces that are used for meetings, receptions and social events. 
Ample space has been provided at the foot of the wharf for public access and enjoyment. Waterfront Auckland and their designers have really done a great job of providing imaginative and comfortable seating for people to relax, soak up the sun and take in the views. These lounges are but on example. Another cruise ship and Prince's wharf can be seen in the background.

Queen's Wharf Communter Ferry Terminal is slated to be replaced with newer facilities nearby. Once removed it will open up views of the historic Ferry Terminal Building.  

Shed 10, constructed in the early part of the 20th Century, stands in testimony to the maritime history of the wharf. Today it serves as an embarkation and debarkation facility for the cruise ships. The beautifully restored interior also is used for various kinds of events. A similar Shed 11 has been dismantled and remains in storage until a new use can be found for it on the wharf.  

The metal cut-out of a woman in her Sunday best circa 1915 and accompanying historic photo is one of number of similar interpretive features -  both artistic and educational - alongside Shed 10.

Close to the entrance of the Queen's Wharf is this clever, container-themed information booth.   

The Wharf is home to all manner of temporary happenings. What better way to celebrate our last evening than visiting the pop up "cafe" tasting some famous New Zealand wines by Stoneleigh amidst an exhibit of  landscape greenery. 

Photo credits: The Waterfront Center  

Early April Newsletter

Urban Waterfronts 2014 - November 7 - 8

A Festive Friday Evening in Store

    We are pleased to announce we have been able arrange our Friday social events in two very unique, distinguished Washington properties. Friday's Champagne Reception honoring the 2014 Excellence on the Waterfront Award winners will be held in the Octagon House across the courtyard from the American Institute of Architect headquarters where our Friday conference will convene. The reception is included in the conference fee.

The Octagon House

    The Octagon House, also known as the Col. John Tayloe III House, was designed by William Thornton, the first architect of the U.S. Capitol, and built between 1799 and 1801. Colonel John Tayloe III was reputed to be the richest Virginian plantation owner of his time. When British troops were advancing on Washington, D.C., the Tayloes approached the French ambassador and offered use of their home as the French embassy, which he accepted. The Octagon House survived the War of 1812. In 1814, Colonel Tayloe also offered the use of his home to President James Madison and his wife, Dolley, for a temporary "Executive Mansion" after the burning of the White House by the British.
    Today, AIA Legacy, the non-profit arm of the AIA, owns The Octagon House, having taken over stewardship of the museum from the American Architectural Foundation in 2007. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960.

The DACOR Bacon House

Friday night's Gala Dinner will take place in the DACOR Bacon House, also known as the Ringgold-Carroll House. Now occupied by the Diplomatic and Consular Officers Retired (DACOR), the house is one of Washington's hidden gems. 


The DACOR Bacon House Garden

If the weather cooperates, we will be able to have drinks in the spacious brick garden. 

The DACOR Bacon House Dining Room
    Dinner will be held in elegant second floor rooms. The house was built in 1824-1825 by Tench Ringgold, a close friend of President James Monroe.  Mr. Ringgold was U.S. Marshal for the District of Columbia. During the years 1831-33, Chief Justice John Marshall and a number of  Associate Justices resided here . Several other members of the Supreme Court boarded at 1801 F Street over the years.
    In 1911 Pittsburgh heiress Alice Copley Thaw, the former Countess of Yarmouth, purchased the house and engaged architect J. H. de Sibour to modernize it, including wiring the premises for electricity. Before she could occupy the renovated house, she married Geoffrey Whitney and established her residence in New York.  For the next decade she rented the house to several prominent figures, including Senator and Mrs. Medill McCormick, brother of Colonel Bertie McCormick of the Chicago Tribune, and Congressman and Mrs. Robert Low Bacon. The Bacons bought the house in 1925. Mrs. Bacon continued living in the house after her husband’s death in 1938 until 1980, when she died at the age of 89.  The house is beautifully furnished with many of her art objects, paintings, and family portraits. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
    The Gala Dinner is an optional event and there is an additional charge for the multi-course dinner with wine included. Seating will be limited. The Gala serves as a fundraising event for the Center's Excellence on the Waterfront Interactive Database Project that will put 370+ award winners on out Web site to be freely available to anyone interested. 


    Deadline for this year's awards program is July 1, 2014. Entries must be postmarked by that date. Visit for details and entry forms.


Spring Newsletter

2014 Excellence on the Waterfront Jury Panel Complete

Joel Mills, director, American Institute of Architects/Communities by Design, jury chair, Washington, D.C.
Mike Dawson, CEO,  River Alliance.Columbia, South Carolina
Luis Cantante de Matos, chief engineer,  Luanda Waterfront Project, Luanda, Angola
Margot Long, principal, PWL Partnership Landscape Architects, Inc., Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada 
Jeff Parks, president, ArtsQuest, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Deadline for entries: postmarked July 1, 2014
Visit the website for details.

Waterfront Travels: Auckland, New Zealand - Part One  AB/DR

    The 2012 awards jury selected Jellicoe Street, North Wharf Promenade and Silo Park on Auckland's waterfront to receive top honor.  After first-hand inspection last month, we are happy to report it IS a real winner. Our first evening in Auckland we wandered down to the waterfront and witnessed everything in full swing. A crowd was gathering to watch a movie projected on a preserved silo;there were food carts and trucks; picnic tables; kids playing in the playground, splashing in the splash pool, and people milling about generally enjoying themselves. This part of the waterfront boasts both fabulous public realm and waterfront industry cheek by jowl. The overall design deftly celebrates the industrial heritage incorporating artifacts along with modern urban design. Care was taken to make the project sustainable.

Splash pool in foreground with greenery that is found in abundance. Brightly painted fences partly in front of working silos.The large gantry in the background provides a great spot to look out over the scene.

Closer view of the gantry, nautically themed public art,  rain garden and informal seating.

Children's whimsical playground.

The North Wharf area featuring a major public promenade is reminiscent of a seaside boardwalk and on the nights we were
there enjoying one of many restaurants and waterfront holes we watched hundreds of people of all ages parading by to see and be seen.
The Viaduct Events center sports a scalloped roof line.

These colorful "crates" distinguish the public area and the private cafes double as seating. A dozen or so restaurants and bars cater to a variety of tastes  and pocketbook - gelato to oysters on the half shell.



The Karanga kiosk, one of several such installations using containers, is perhaps the most elaborate. Features include a large TV screen, an interactive interpretive center and a green roof. Another container was fitted out with a children's library and lots of comfortable seating.


Informal seating near the children's library.


Sleek movable chaise lounges provide a nice spot to take in the sun. Viaduct Harbour and housing in the background.


Not far from the Karanga plaza and kiosk is a set of steps allowing folks to relax or maybe dip their tow in the water.


One of the best ways to take in a waterfront is from the water and our trip was made all the more pleasurable in the company of some
of Waterfront Auckland's terrific and fun-loving staff. L. to R. Brenna Waghorn; Alan Gray; Dick Rigby; Mathew Twose; Gail Mazur; Ashley Vivier; Ralph Webster; Ann Breen; Jo Warren and Frith Walker.


And one of the chief benefits of poking around in the harbour was spotting these truly funky old slipways that give a real authentic note. Let's hope they don't completely disappear.


April Newsletter
Conference Hotel - Urban Waterfronts 2014

    We are delighted to announce that we have selected  the Hampton Inn - Washington DC/White House as our conference hotel. We are able to offer a fabulous deal at a perfect, downtown location on H Street between 17th and 18th Street NW a few blocks from where we will meet (AIA Headquarters 1735 New York Avenue) on Friday, November 7.  A limited number of sleeping rooms have been blocked for the "Waterfront Center Group." This is not your standard Hampton Inn -- it is an urban, upscale version. The regular room rate is three times what we are able to offer our delegates. 

     The hotel opened in June of 2013 occupying the former Kiplinger Report offices.  It is very close to two Metro stops. For the more adventurous, there is a bike share rack about a block away. 

RATES: $149.00 for a King Room and $169 for a Double Queen plus tax.
The cutoff is October 5, 2014 for these rates. 
On line registration is available (Here) or you can call 202 296 1006. You need to indicate you are with the Waterfront Center Group. We have rooms blocked November 5, 6,7, 8 and 9. There is very limited availability November 5 and 9. 

    These rates include the following:

    Complimentary High Speed Internet Access 
    Complimentary Hot Buffet Breakfast
    On site Business and Fitness Centers; plus a Pool
    24-Hour Beverage Bar in the lobby offering coffee and teas
    On-site Guest Laundry Facilities
    A Suite Shop has everything that you might need at your home away from home.You can pick up meals to microwave, snacks and beverages or travel items to tidy up. 
    Valet parking: $30.00 plus tax

    The comfortable lobby area is perfect for gathering with friends (beer and wine available to purchase in the Suite Shop) or to plug in your computer. For those who enjoy a cocktail or a bite to eat, there are plenty of establishments nearby including a very spiffy, quiet bar across the street off the lobby of the AKA residential hotel. 

    We were very excited to make this discovery and we think you will be too.! 


Co-Director Breen Visits the Toronto Waterfront

    It had been 16 years since co-directer Breen visited Toronto when the Center held its annual  conference there with the cooperation of the Waterfront Regeneration Trust (then a Crown Corporation) and assistance from David Crombie and Suzanne Barrett. The Waterfront Regeneration Trust has spun off and is now a non-profit organization working on the ambitious Great Lakes Trail (see previous newsletter). 

     A vivid impression upon first driving through the city this visit is forest of high-rise apartment towers seemingly everywhere. But with sights set for the waterfront and Marlaine Koehler's generous offer to guide me we set off for a stroll through the snow.


These urns artfully filled with evergreens lend a colorful touch on the patio outside our luncheon spot. Rather than sad looking empty planters, this kind of greenery seemed to enliven public space throughout downtown Toronto. 


After lunch we struck out for Sugar Beach, so named as it across from the huge Redpath Sugar Factory - a gritty working waterfront facility which also houses a small museum. Note high-rise buildings in background. 


Snow stands in for the summer sand at Sugar Beach itself with its jaunty permanent pink umbrellas complete with icicle fringe!  


A touch of funk still can be found on the waterfront.  Alexandros World Famous Gyros looks like it would be a fun, informal spot to take in the views. 


Biking is popular on Toronto's waterfront as it is on the Great Lakes Trail. This memorial tribute to a popular Torontonian Jack Laytham features a tandem bike - good for photo ops. Inscription reads "Jack's Got Your Back." 


Wintery glimpse of a gathering of ducks in the chilly air and a silhouette of abstract public art installation.  


An a-typical photo of one of the wave decks you have no doubt seen photos of in design magazines. No walking on the waves this time! Habitat restoration occurs beneath the decks.  

 Toronto Harbour Police Headquarters (an Excellence on the Waterfront award winner) with colorful boats in the foreground. 


H2O Beach features yellow umbrellas and was our last stop as light giving way. No sitting in the  sun to enjoy the view this visit - maybe next time. 


Co-Director Breen Addresses Waterfront Regeneration Trust Meeting

    Over 100 people were in attendance on February 3, when Ann Breen delivered a keynote presentation at the Waterfront Trail Partners Meeting in Burlington, Ontario. The Great Lakes Waterfront Trail is the very ambitious project of the non-profit Trust headed up by Marlaine Kohler. Lest we forget, the Great Lakes is the largest group of freshwater lakes on earth and a very long term dream is extend the trail around all the lakes! Currently the trail is more than 1,400 kilometers involving roughly 70 communities along Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. The trail continues to grow embracing new partners all the time. While much of the trail is on paved surfaces conducive to mostly to biking, other parts of the trial follow the shoreline or go through the growing inventory of waterfront parks. A long-term goal is to have as much off road options as possible serving a wide variety of users. The meeting was enlivened by short "lightning round" presentations from 7 partner organizations; the results of a recent land use survey;tips on marketing and communications and a rollout of the Trust's new very interactive, dynamic web site. www/

     In 2013, there were over 140 small to very large projects in the works (24 proposed, 70 planned and 47 completed). For more information such as State of the Waterfront Trail 2013, visit the trail's website.

    The 7th annual  Great Waterfront Trail Adventure will be held August 11-15 this summer. The annual 5 to 8 day cycling holiday which  it serves to promote the trail, introduce cyclists to the waterfront communities and their attractions. 

    The Partner's meeting wound up with a reception in the waterfront hotel's Beaver and Bulldog bar with beautiful views of the Lake Ontario and the newly installed access pier. The pier with its spiral beacon that is illuminated at nigh provides a real focal point as well as affording visitors a chance to get out over the water. 

Mid-afternoon sunlight bounces off the pier's beacon.                                       Sunset's glow mellows the beacon's bright metal.

View of Lake Ontario's snowy landscape from the hotel.


A Tribute to Pete Seeger

A Tribute to Pete Seeger
1919 - 2014
    The waterfront community was saddened to learn of the death of legendary folksinger, Pete Seeger -- a great proponent of clean water, maritime and environmental education and -- waterfronts. Pete was remarkable in so many ways not the least of which he actually answered your letters - himself! When we decided we wanted to give an award for citizen efforts, we wrote to see if he would let us name the award in his honor. He modestly replied,  "no" but that we could call it the Clearwater Award  to recognize the importance of grassroots, volunteer efforts by individuals and organizations to better the urban waterfront environment in their communities and protect natural resources, especially water. Through the Clearwater Award,  the Center will continue to honor the work of Pete Seeger and his colleagues. 

    In 2006, celebrating  the 20th anniversary of the Excellence on the Waterfront Awards program, we wanted to do something special for our Clearwater winners. We wrote to Pete and asked if we could make a short film about his work on the Hudson and for him to  salute to our Clearwater winners. With his kind permission and the able assistance of my friend, documentary filmmaker, Martin Spinelli and his crew, we spent an unforgettable afternoon on the banks of the Hudson outside the Beacon Sloop Club filming the interview AND most memorably having a private concert! A number of you may remember this film which we showed in Seattle and again in DC. We may try to fit it in this year somehow for those who missed it. 

    Below is a list of Clearwater winners 1994-2013 and a reproduction of Pete's signature with his beloved banjo drawing. 
I am sure all of the winners were especially touched when they learned of his death. 

 The Clearwater Award 

The Clearwater Award was inaugurated by The Waterfront Center to recognize the importance of grassroots, volunteer efforts by individuals and organizations to better the urban waterfront environment in their communities and protect natural resources, especially water. In naming the award, the Center wished to honor the work of Pete Seeger and his colleagues who founded the non-profit organization, Clearwater, whose primary mission is to clean up the Hudson River.  With their kind permission we were able to call the honor  “The Clearwater Award.”  


Anacostia River Cleanup, Washington, DC

The Annual Waterway Cleanup, Broward County, Florida

Bandra Bandstand and Carter Road Waterfront Development, Mumbai, India

Beth Nicholson, Save the Harbor/Save the Bay, Boston, Massachusetts

Birdsong Wetlands Restoration, Norfolk, Virginia

The Brooklyn Bridge Park Coalition, Brooklyn, New York

The Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, Brooklyn, New York

Center for Wooden Boats, Lake Union, Seattle, Washington

Champions of the Truckee Citizen Effort, Reno, Nevada

Cherry Tree Association, Bronx, New York

Chicksaw Bluffs Conservancy, Memphis, Tennessee

Coalition to Save Hempstead Harbor, Hempstead Harbor, Long Island Sound, New York

The Confluence Project, Vancouver, Washington

Creekside Park and Linda McKenna Boxx, Latrobe, Pennsylvania

Duwamish Valley Vision Map & Report, Seattle, Washington

Esplanade 2020 A vision for the Future: The Ad-Hoc Esplanade 2020 Work Group, Boston, Massachusetts

Friends of Our Riverfront, Memphis, Tennessee

Friends of the Riverfront, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Greening of the Great River Park, St. Paul, Minnesota

Hackensack Riverkeeper, Inc., Teaneck, New Jersey

Healthy River, Healthy Communities, San Diego, California

Heron’s Head Park/A Program of Literacy for Environmental Justice,

 San Francisco, California

International Marine Association for the Protection of Aquatic Life (I’MAPAL), Seattle, Washington

Jeffrey V. Bibb, Clarksville, Tennessee

Northwest Marine Center, Port Townsend Washington

Oakland-Alameda Waterfront Maps Project, Oakland, California

Oregon Maritime Center and Museum, Portland, Oregon

The Parks Council, Access to the Little Red Lighthouse, New York, New York

Penn’s Landing Forums, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Rattray Marsh Protection, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

Richard K. Mills/Hackensack River Stories, Teaneck, New Jersey

River Action, Inc., Quad Cities of Iowa and Illinois

Riverfront East Alliance, Detroit, Michigan

Save Vallejo’s Waterfront, Vallejo, California

Scenic Hudson’s Great River Sweep Volunteers, Poughkeepsie, New York

Society for the Protection of the Harbour, Hong Kong, China

Sylvia McLauglin, Save the San Francisco Bay, Berkeley, California

Trails for Richmond Action Committee (TRAC), Richmond, California

Vicki Beiriger Richmond, Kansas City, Missouri

Voices and Visions of Village Life, Pataxent, Warwick and Cranston, Rhode Island - Holly Ewald and Michael Bell, Warwick, Rhode Island

Women’s Quiet Battle for Blue Sky and Clear Water, Tobata Women’s Association and the City of Kitakyushu, Japan

    Don't forget, if you know of a person or group you think should be recognized, July 1 is the deadline for awards submittals. While there is no entry fee for the Clearwater Award but we do accept donations. 


January2014 Newsletter

Washington, January 6, 2014

     Today in some parts of the world it is the Feast of The Epiphany, the Three Kings Day or Twelfth Night. And in the spirit of the gift-giving Kings, we wish to thank all who have supported us so generously.

     People on the street are still wishing Happy New Year. In that spirit we quote Akiko Bush in a recent New York Times Op-Ed:

      “Perhaps it is possible to imagine year’s end as having some temporal edge effect, to see it as a place where desire and expectation intersect with actuality. And to look at this time of year as an interval during which one is suddenly more attentive to that friction between the finished and the unfinished, the energy that lies between the done and the undone. “

     We wish everyone a joyous and productive 2014 going forward with new – and unfinished - work ahead.


 Allen Eskew, New Orleans Architect, Died in December

    We were greatly saddened to hear of the death of Allen who was a great friend and supporter of the Center. He was a most gifted and talented designer who gave 100% and then some to his beloved New Orleans and above all the riverfront. His firm Eskew + Dumez + Ripple won AIA firm of the year award two days after his death. See link below for full biography and summary of his work.

 Waterfront Center Recollections

    We first met Allen in 1989 in Boston at the first of six Aquarium Planning and Management Workshops we conducted. The audience was composed of not only of those wanting learn about the subject but to our delight some of the best minds in the business, his being one of them, who wanted to generally exchange ideas. It was an incredibly stimulating time. Allen, as all who knew him, loved good food. At that same meeting we discovered that, before the age of all sorts of gadgets, he could produce a small paper list in tiny typeface of his favorite New Orleans restaurants should anyone inquire. On that note, we fondly recall many fun and delicious meals over the years with Allen, especially at the Upperline, where we always try to return.

    We invited Allen to serve on our Board of Advisors, which he did for many years as well as participating as an awards jury member in 1991 and jury chair in 1992. In 1994, Allen generously agreed to help us take the annual conference on the road for the first time to -- New Orleans -- opening doors and putting together a great pre-conference New Orleans workshop and generally making that meeting a huge success.


Waterfront Center Board of Advisors Meeting in 1992

Standing: left to right: Barbara Kauffman; Allen Eskew; Richard Bartholomew; David Benn; Joe Schachter; Don Hunter

Seated: Grant Jones; Barry Hersh; Becky Kurdle; Harriet Saperstein; Charlotte DeWitt and Mike Krieger.


     In 2001 he received an Excellence on the Waterfront Honor Award for the South Carolina Aquarium that architecturally celebrates the industrial waterfront. In 2002 we also had the privilege of working along side him as part of a charrette in Baton Rouge.

     He was a frequent conference attendee and speaker – most memorably at our 2005 meeting in Savannah. We doubt anyone who was in the audience will ever forget his eloquence and bluntness about the effects of Katrina and its aftermath. His images were searing and often shocking. As board member Di Talty from Sydney commented upon learning of his death that his presentation “was profound. His passing is a great loss.” It is testament to his devotion to the waterfront community that he took the time and effort to travel to Savannah to make this keynote.


Waterfront Center's 20th Anniversary Gala Dinner 2002
Seated left: Allen Eskew and Karen Fiene; Charles Norris seated to Allen's right

     Allen’s various offices never strayed from his abiding passion, the river. Before moving to his Canal Place aerie commanding incredible views of the Mississippi and the city, we recall visiting his studio near the French market where you could look out and really get a sense of the passing boat traffic. On our last trip in 2012 to New Orleans we had a wonderful visit as always and he shared not only his latest projects and plans for the riverfront but telling us how much he was enjoying time with his grandson. As we left the office he showed us an incredible model of the riverfront and parts of the city – his life’s work still to be done. So it is all the sadder for the city of New Orleans and the waterfront world to have this wonderful mind and talent cut short. 

      A special Memorial Fund in Allen’s honor is being set up through the Greater New Orleans Foundation which you can Google.

Link to full description of his life and work:


Wintertime Reads Newsletter

Wintertime Reads for Water Rats!

Two New Books about Boats and a Reminder of a Classic Comment

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame and illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard.
The classic book for children - young and old. An excerpt: 

Mole inquires as he is about to get into Rat's boat: "Is it nice and all that?"
"Nice? It's the only thing, said the Water Rat solemnly...Believe me, my young friend,
there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about
in boats. Simply messing," he went on dreamily: "messing -- about -- in -- boats; -- messing." 

    The following just-released books take "messing about with boats" to a whole new level: one about wilderness canoeing and the other about seafaring ships and more. Both depict big doses of passion, perseverance, desire for exploration, adventure and a love of history. And above all these are about amazing people.

    This winter, curl up by a fire, take some exceptional journeys and
vicariously delve into some mighty rough eddies, shoals and unknown waters -- real and figurative. 

A Dream of Tall Ships: How New Yorkers Came Together to Save the City's Sailing-Ship Waterfront by Peter and Norma Stanford.

Hardcover, 596 pages with color and black and white illustrations. $34.95, plus shipping. Published by Sea History Press. 914 737 7878. 

    The publication of this book about South Street Seaport could not be timelier as the future of this historic corner of New York is embattled once again (see references below). 

    Peter and Norma Stanford chronicle an astounding 11-year saga that began in 1965 with a Sunday walk around Fulton Street Fish Market and the spotting of a schooner with a Gloucester pedigree that sowed the seeds of their dream of creating a seaport museum complete with a small fleet of sailing ships to capture the glory days of the East River port. The boldness of the vision and the complexity of the tasks involved are remarkable. They wanted to create a museum, save an historic district with its old buildings PLUS find old ship hulks to overhaul and bring to New York. Whether or not you are a sailor of any stripe, you will relish Peter and Norma's love of ships and sailing and the descriptions of arduous reconstructions, Mayor's cup races and tall ship visits -- never mind the thrill of seeing their own restored ships arriving from points as far as Argentina. All described with a richness of vocabulary as well as humor evident throughout. When the Argentine full rigged Libertad arrived in New York the captain eschewed the bureaucracy and defiantly berthed at South Street, our authors comment that it was an act that served as" a strong testament of the seamanly, stand-together spirit that defies pettifogging jacks-in-office."

    If you love cities, historic preservation and waterfront authenticity you'll appreciate their passion for fighting to keep Schermerhorn Row, built in 1811, from a wrecking ball, including the idea of selling "air rights transactions" -- a new idea at the time -- and generally trying to create a place of human scale in the shadow of towering Wall Street. Then there are descriptions of travels including the waterfront of San Francisco where they were inspired by the mission and accomplishments of the San Francisco Maritime Museum. Its founder Karl Kortum became a great ally. It was Karl who found them the Wavertree in Buenos Aires that led to trips there. It was out of respect for Karl's work that Peter added becoming president of the Maritime Historical Society to his to do list in the summer of 1970 to which an astonished Norma, aware of their already full plate, relented "Oh, what the hell."

    The story includes a behind-scenes look at establishing and maintaining a non-profit organization; setting up the Pioneer Program of sail-training school for teen-age youth; organizing festivals, events and educational programs. One of the great characters in the book is their good friend, the garbage hauler, Joe Cantalupo, who famously said: "Other museums are for people, or about people...This museum is people." And the scads of people who vividly parade through these pages come from all walks of life: old salts to old money, museum experts to bartenders, folk singers to painters, from a mayor to a tugboat fleet owner and scores of volunteers. A lot of good times were had whether in waterfront bars like Sloppy Louie's, the historic India House (attendees at our New York conference will remember our dinner there), or aboard ships celebrating accomplishments big and small. We'd like to raise a glass of bubbly to salute the telling of this story by one tenacious, terrific team, Peter and Norma. You will too. 

South Street Seaport Update

    The intervening 37 years have seen many ups and downs in South Street which would take a rather long article to detail.  Most recently, post hurricane Sandy, a lot of repair and reconstruction has gone on. The museum happily reported its reopening and return of some of the ships. However, a new battle is raging over future land uses in the area. For updates: and refer the December 3 e-newsletter Waterwire from the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance ( "The Battle for South Street Seaport."

Tales from the Paddle: A Canoeist's Memoires of Wilderness Trips in Canada and Russia by John W. Lentz (available from Amazon).

Hardcover, 223 pages with color illustrations and appendices. $25.00.

    Author John Lentz, in this exceptional book, chronicles his 21 major expeditions of adventure canoeing in the wilderness areas of northern Canada as well as Russia. Choosing a series of vignettes, rather than a long narrative, the reader leaps from one tale to the next entering a world full of real life exploration, discovery and a host of interesting characters. His first wilderness trip nearly was his last due to hypothermia but he was rescued by fellow canoeists - a harrowing account. To the uninitiated the sheer physicality involved is incredible - portaging long distances with heavy gear, scouting and gauging the how's and where's of navigating the dangerous rocks and whitewater, enduring cold, getting plenty wet and paddling, paddling, paddling. He describes the beauty of the landscapes and encounters with all sorts of wildlife: muskox, the ever-present insects (Northwest Territories Air Force), an astounding sighting of a massive herd of caribou, all manner of birds as well as a close call with a mother bear and her cub. History threads its way through the tales. John, a great lover of history, has collected 2,500 volumes on Canadian wilderness and refers back to the journals of some of the early explorers as these modern-day paddlers retrace some of their predecessors' paths. One such journal led to the discovery of a cache of1820's artifacts. John details anecdotes, many of them humorous, with customs officers, airplane pilots, Johnny Smallboy and other Native Americans, Misha, a Russian guide, to name a few. He describes with great affection his intrepid fellow companions, many of whom became lifelong friends. At the the first Wilderness and Canoeing Symposium in 1986, a few dozen of his fellow paddlers gathered in a friend's living room, today 500 gather in a Toronto auditorium. In the appendices John lists his major trips, his published work and a suggested reading list. 

He quotes a poem written by his friend and fellow traveler, George Luste, that is most fitting:

'We came to the North with canoes
and the summer sun...
and were swallowed into the land...
so lonely...
so beautiful.'


Early December Newsletter

Early December Wishes

    Wishing the Waterfront Community All Good Wishes for the upcoming Holiday Season and Happy 2014!
    We are ever thankful for the interest and support from our waterfront friends and colleagues from around the world.  As you begin to consider your year-end giving, please keep the Center in mind and help us continue the many facets of our educational mission. Your much-appreciated, tax-deductible donation will help in so many ways!
#1. Searchable Interactive Database Project and Prototype. Funds will help us achieve the dream of making information and images on all 370+ Excellence on the Waterfront Award winners freely available to anyone interested. This will be a unique resource available nowhere else. A prototype of how it will work can be found on our Web site. Check it out at!
#2. 2014 Award Deadline for Entries is July 1, 2014. Entry forms and guidelines will be available in early January. 
#3. E-Newsletters. If you have not done so, sign up for our periodic, illustrated e-newsletters. See past copies by clicking on Newsletters. We
have been getting good reactions from our waterfront travel and news updates. 
#4. 2013 Awards Presentation. Click on Awards and scroll down and click the photo of the cover of the 2013 awards booklet of top honor winner Ocean Beach Plan. You'll see images of the winning projects and plans, the awards recipients, text and names of the firms and organizations submitting. 
#5 Urban Waterfronts 2013: Creative Collaborations. Click on PPTs and you can choose from a wealth of information available on the powerpoints that speakers have generously made available. You can select from three past conferences as well. 
#7. Staff and Volunteers. We wish to recognize and  thank Stewart McKenzie, our webmeister for is dedicated work on the database and the Web site. We congratulate Ewelina Czpala on receiving her law degree and appreciate the fact that she finds time to help us out! Kathleen Ewing for stepping in to help with some of this year's conference details. We also want to acknowledge our board of advisers for their continued interest - volunteers all -- as well as special friends, the Roth's and the Lentz's. 
    Etc. .....We also have nearly 33 years of materials to archive both print and visual and books we want to write and public participation in community decision lack of tasks. Your donation will help us do all these things and continue to spread the word about the importance of public access to and along waterfronts, promoting public participation, paying keen attention to the needs of the working waterfront and promoting Excellence on the Waterfront. 
    You can donate online at or by check at The Waterfront Center, PO Box 53351, Washington, DC 20009

Ann Breen and Dick Rigby, co-founders/co-directors


November 2013 Newsletter

River Action's Placemaking in the Quad Cities of Iowa and Illinois
    Urban Waterfronts 2013 wrapped up with two tours on Saturday afternoon.  One visited the Nahant Marsh and the other took in the extensive artworks that are scattered around the Quad Cities communities in Iowa and Illinois. 
    Below are some images of the places we visited with River Action director, Kathy Wine, who narrated.  For directors Breen and Rigby it was trip down memory lane seeing some of the works they had visited over 20 years ago.  


Credit Island Sunday in the Park
    First stop was to Credit Island to see the Sunday in the Park installation. This whimsical  replication of the famed Seurat painting uses life-size sculptures that bring a smile.  

Tree of Life
    The Mississippi and tributaries depicted as a Tree of Life with metal and concrete panels celebrating the flora and fauna.
The Navigation Steps
    Bettendorf's riverfront staircase features engraved metal stanchions depicting the lock and dams up and down the Mississippi to create an educational experience for those ascending or descending the staircase.
    This abstraction "Eddy" found along the riverfront is coincidentally the name of River Action's periodic magazine and every year the organization gives out awards named the Eddy Award.
Peace Garden

    This story circle entitled Peace Garden celebrates Native American themes was created and installed by people on Campbell's Island. 

Riverway Kiosk
    One of the many Riverway Kiosks to be found along the trails in the Quad Cities adds distinctiveness and offers information and interpretation. 
Riverway Milemarker
    Milemarkers have been placed along the riverfront in the Quad Cities.

River Action "Retain the Rain" Program
    River Action has had an ambitious "Retain the Rain" Program (anyone interested should google River Action and
log onto the very information-packed site). Demonstration gardens have been installed where people can learn and
see "rain gardens," stormwater retention  areas and the like.

Great River Brewery
    Many attendees will recall the great micro-brews they discovered in the Quad Cities and more than a few frequented the Great River Brewery's outdoor seating area where they sampled the good beers while listening to the trains roll by crossing the Mississippi. 

Urban Waterfronts 2013 - Creative Collaborations a Success

Attendees came from as far away as Angola and Auckland to join colleagues in Davenport enjoying a fact-filled program and fun social events at Modern Woodmen Ballpark and the Figge Art Museum as well as a delicious catfish fry. 

Ann Breen and Kathy Wine -- all smiles

Dick Rigby, 2013 jury chair Eric Burchill from Halifax and board member, Ed Freer

John Dalzell from Waterfront Auckland chats with founding board member Mike Krieger chat with board member Mike Dawson in the background

Stay tuned to the web site for 2014 instructions and entry form.
Want information on the 2013 winners, visit the web site:

The Waterfront Center and The Upper Mississippi River Conference
One Day Flash Sale

Register and learn more at


September 2013 Newsletter

September Newsletter
• Conference
• America's Cup
• 2014 Excellence on the Waterfront Award Deadline

Urban Waterfronts 2013 and Upper Mississippi River Conferences: Creative Collaborations
September 25 - 28, 2013
THREE WEEKS TO GO. Sign up today.
    It is not too late to sign up and be part of our 31st conference along the mighty Mississippi at the RiverCenter in Davenport, Iowa, for what promises to be an exciting event. Lots of educational sessions, tours, the 2013 Excellence on the Waterfront Awards ceremony and plenty of time to get to know colleagues and friends at the social events. You have the option of also attending the Upper Mississippi River Conference as well. These events comprise a unique opportunity to learn about the upper Mississippi region as well as projects across North America.
 Waterfront Walks - AB/DR
America's Cup: Front and Center in San Francisco

    September is the big month for the America's Cup Races. The very high-tech racing boats and the slim number of competitors have drawn a lot of criticism from local columnists. For all the hype, the event has not lived up to the promised bonanza. The Cup has a very big presence on the downtown waterfront occupying Piers 27/29. America's Cup Park as it is known includes one large performance venue with bleacher seating, bars, restaurants, a shop, jumbotron screens for viewers to watch events and lots of public access. Below are some pictures to give you an idea of the colorful venue. Google America's Cup for full run-down.

America's Cup Park with "lawn" and chaise lounges reminiscent of giant bean bag mattresses.
Second story outdoor bar and bleacher seating for concerts in the background.

One of two jumbotrons that bring the action to the people who are obviously enjoying their lounges.

A wide promenade runs the full length of the pier. Bars, restaurants, coffee shops, race and press headquarters are housed in the shed like structure - many open air with inviting outdoor seating.

Two of the youth boats that will be part of a special event moored in the bay.

 2014 Excellence on the Waterfront Awards
July 1, 2014 is the Deadline for Submittals

    Joel Mills, director, Communities by Design, The American Institute of Architects, Washington, District of Columbia will be the 2014 jury chair. Stay tuned to the web site for details and updates on jury members. 


August 2013 Newsletter
Urban Waterfronts 2013 and Upper Mississippi River Conferences: Creative Collaborations
FOUR WEEKS TO GO. Sign up today.
    Join us along the mighty Mississippi at the RiverCenter in Davenport, Iowa, for what promises to be an exciting event. Lots of educational sessions, tours, the 2013 Excellence on the Waterfront Awards ceremony and plenty of time to get to know colleagues and friends at the social events. These events comprise a unique opportunity to learn about the upper Mississippi region as well as projects across North Amerca. 
Waterfront Walks - AB/DR
 A Peek Behind the Scenes at Fisherman's Wharf  
    Fifty years years ago, Ann remembers eating her first abalone at a Fisherman's Wharf eatery and drinking that famous Irish coffee at Buena Vista Cafe. That was about what there was for tourists back then. Today we could  barely navigate the waterfront sidewalks on a picture-perfect day for all the hundreds of people shopping, eating and enjoying the bay views. We'll share more of our impressions of that scene another day. 
    As a reminder that we will again be featuring the working waterfront during this year's conference, we wanted to share some images of the gritty and sometimes humorous behind-the- scenes images that can found amidst all the touristic hustle, bustle. 

Fisherman's Wharf Office Building on the Pier

Businesses at 2907 Jones Street - Fisherman's Wharf

Attractive and informative interpretive signage as part of the Portwalk

Scoma's Fish Receiving
Charter fishing boat being observed by kids who took in a nice catch on their trip

Ship Chandler Mural and vendors

Alioto's welcomes visitors to see their crab tanks

A little history and humor evident

Smiling fish brings a smile

The Center's symbol - the bollard - as artifact

Conference Early Bird Deadline

Less than two weeks left to SAVE:
Urban Waterfront 2013 and Upper Mississippi River Joint Conferences
Early Bird Deadline for Registration and Special Hotel Room Rates  AUGUST 24

Sign up and Save Money. Stay tuned for new program additions and corrections that will be posted on our web site in the next week along with the latest
program information.
Register online at
See Conference brochure at


Midsummer Newsletter

 Waterfront Travels in Pennsylvania -- AB/DR

    A Walk along a Portion of the North Shore beside Pittsburgh's Ohio and Allegheny Rivers

    In mid-May we joined our friend and former board member Arthur Ziegler along with his colleague Mike Sriprasert both of Pittsburgh History &  Landmarks Foundation for a stroll along the Ohio and Allegheny across from the downtown. We walked from the relatively new Rivers Casino, past the Science Center and the popular baseball stadium ending at the foot of  the Fort Duquesne Bridge.  Below are some images we took along the way. First up on the river side of the casino is a grassy, stepped down amphitheater. The casino went to some effort to afford river views with a glass curtain wall. Unfortunately, since the amphitheater was first installed, large metal stadium seating units have been erected -- which may be there because of the popularity of the venue and may be only temporary -- but they are an unsightly intrusion.

Rivers Casino

Stadium seating blocks the view

    The stretch of riverfront's walkway along the shoreline was an early installation dating to the l980's, so it is no doubt ripe for some sprucing up in the future. A very large sculpture  of the city's  beloved Mr. Rogers is rather unfortunately positioned high above the walkway (seen on the left of the photo). One wishes for a tribute to his highly imaginary world in the manner of the Alice in Wonderland installation in Central Park or Peter Pan in London's Kensington Gardens or a more modern whimsical interpretation.  It would be grand to have a space that kids could actually touch and interact with. If such a place doesn't exist, maybe there is still room in Pittsburgh.

Mr. Rogers (high up in the distance)

    We were a little dismayed to see the lack of visual access along portions of the walkways.  One little way station has a cement wall blocking views for anyone sitting on the benches provided. 
Cement walls block the view

    A newer installation exhibits more interesting paving treatment and a handsome bench although it faces away from the river.

A view of the river, though not from the bench

    The only real possible cafe scene occurs upland on the first floor of an office building. A large grove of trees obscures most of the views of the river. Given the beautiful river and the dramatic downtown skyline, it is all the more a pity.
Cafes, no river views

    A handsome way-finding map of the riverfront and a very attractive pier affording access over the river

Way finding map

Pier with river views

    Next time we are in Pittsburgh we'll continue our explorations.

Pilgrimage to 2012 Excellence on the Waterfront Honor Award Winner: Morgan's Pier
Delaware River, Philadelphia

    In mid-July we journeyed to the City of Brotherly Love to meet up with our good friends
Nick Falk of Urbed, who many of you may have heard at previous conference (pictured below) and Esther Caplin who were over from London.

Nick Falk
    It being a hot, humid summer day we decided to take a trip to visit Morgan's Pier (221 N. Columbus Blvd.) for lunch and check it out. The beer garden on a pier sits below the Ben Franklin Bridge with commanding views of the Delaware. The low-key facility with a lot of recycled materials cleverly used for walls, tables, planters and decoration is very welcoming.
Morgan's Pier beer garden

    Details include:  traditional beer garden linden trees, lots of plantings, colorful umbrellas and cushions, cooling misters set up the the bar areas, booths and picnic tables that all blend together for a comfortable, casual waterfront experience. In addition to the excellent food available from the kitchen, beer and beverages from the bard, hot dog and ice cream vendors were on deck. At night it must be magical with the lights playing off the water. You can't beat the feeling of being over water. Above all it's low-key fun, even a little funky, and we need that on our waterfronts. We'll go back sometime and try it again. Designer David Fierabrand of Groundswell Design was pleased we enjoyed ourselves and recommends his new installation in Center City: the Pop Up Beer Garden (313 S. Broad St.)
Morgan's Pier beer garden

Urban Waterfront 2013 and Upper Mississippi River Joint Conferences
Early Bird Deadline for Registration and Special Hotel Room Rates  AUGUST 24

Sign up and Save Money. Stay tuned for new program additions and corrections that will be posted on our web site
in the next week along with the latest program information.


Lady Liberty Newsletter

Celebrate the Re-Opening of the Statue of Liberty 

    Many of you may recall these memorable moments prior to our gala dinner in New York in 2011 --  the eve of when the Statue was closed for repairs. As reported in the Press of Atlantic City, this July 4th the Statue will re-open after a $30 million-dollar upgrade to the crown and millions more in post-Sandy recovery. The 12-acre island was flooded with surges as high as 8 feet but Lady Liberty was spared. Hundreds of National Park Service workers from all over America spent weeks cleaning mud and debris, plus numerous other recovery efforts. The statue was dedicated in 1886 and welcomes about 3.5 million visitors. Hooray and we envy those in New York who will witness this 2013 celebration. 
Passaic River Coalition Mourns the Loss of  Director Ella Fillapone 
    Ella Fillapone, a longtime supporter of the Waterfront Center, died June 21. For 43 years she worked tirelessly in protecting the Passaic River Watershed to improve the water supply and environment of northern New Jersey. As part of her legacy, over 1500 acres have been protected in perpetuity for future generations to enjoy. We had the pleasure of Ella's expertise when she served on our 201l Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Jury. 

Photo Credit: Ann Breen

    She is pictured here second from the left next to Chris Carlson, jury chair and Jim August and Rick Barrett.  Ella was the epitome of a dedicated citizen working tirelessly for the good of her community and her beloved Passaic River. 

Urban Waterfronts 2013 Early Bird Cut-Off Date: August 24

    The early bird cut-off date for both conference registration and special hotel room rates is August 24. If attending the Waterfront Center conference you save $100 and for the combined Upper Mississippi River Conference/Urban Waterfronts 2013 you save $60.  Special hotel rates are $104 at the Radisson (563 322 2200) or $139 at the historic Hotel Blackhawk (888 525 4455). Make your reservations directly and mention the Waterfront Conference to get the special rate.  Act today, the block is limited. 


Summer Solstice Newsletter

    Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Deadline Approaches!  Entries must be postmarked by June 28! Be sure to send to the Cape May, New Jersey address as instructed on the entry form.

    Visit  Questions: call 609 884 7997 in New Jersey – The Center’s summer home.

Happy Summer – Celebrate Solstice

Waterfront Travels – AB/DR

Nothing says summer more than outdoor eating - especially on the waterfront - and ice cream!

Nobody seems to love ice cream any time of day or night more than Croatians as we observed on a recent trip to several historic cities on the Adriatic coast.

 We share some photos of these fascinating waterfront places as a nod to summer pleasures.

The Roman Emperor Diocletian built his vast retirement palace in Split around 300 BC.

The history of many eras is layered upon layer making for fascinating walks through the old town. A wide and lengthy seafront promenade offers lots of seating and cafes.

    A newer portion of public realm recently opened (it was nearing completion when we were there) offers a more modern approach to the design details.

    The new waterfront park celebrates the numerous Croatian Olympians whose names are imbedded in the paving.

Dubrovnik, dating to the 7th century, is a storied old city that has truly bounced back from the devastating bombing it experienced in the early ‘90s.

Tourists by the thousands flock to visit the Old Town with its famous walls and forts, beautiful architecture, churches and museums.

The waterfront boasts a bustling restaurant scene, lots of boats and a walkway.

The nearby charming town of Cavtat dates back the Greeks and Romans and is a quiet contrast to Dubrovnik.  Its waterfront affords great opportunities for seafood dining and  strolling.


Photo Credits:  Ann Breen



June Newsletter


Click Here To See Brochure

Register Online

Check out to get a look at the 2013 "Creative Collaborations" conferences to be held in Davenport, Iowa on the Mississippi River. Early bird rates extend until  August 24. Special hotel rates apply until August 24 as well. If you are sure you will be attending, reserve now to be sure to take advantage of the $104/per night at the Radisson Quad Cities (563-322-2200) and $139/per night and the recently restored Hotel Blackhawk (888-525-4455) -  an historic property. You must phone the hotels directly. A limited number of rooms have been blocked so act today!

Hotel Blackhawk
You can register for the conference online by clicking on the "Register Online" link above, by mail by filling the form in the "Brochure" link above or by calling River Action at 563-322-2969.

REMINDER: Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Deadline is JUNE 28. 
Visit Awards for entry forms and details. 


Boston Newsletter

Center Celebrates in Cambridge
    Center Board Member Charles Norris and his wife Diane co-hosted a get-together at their home in April in anticipation of the Center’s 32nd birthday May 1st. Long-time supporters and friends had a marvelous evening. Co-director Rigby, in “B” hat, hugs old friends Charlotte DeWitt and Marc Older. Charlotte was an early pioneer organizing waterfront festivals in Gloucester and Newburyport in the 1980s before moving to the international scene. Marc Older was with the Boston Redevelopment Authority back in those early days and is now consulting on his own. 

Dick Rigby, Charlotte DeWitt and Marc Older
    Charles Norris, a long-time Center Advisor is pictured with another of our old friends, Vivien Li, president of The Boston Harbor Association. Charley has also been a close advisor to TBHA. 

Charles Norris and Vivien Li
    Diane Norris, artist and architect, is pictured with Peter Kuttner, of Cambridge 7 Associates.  Peter served on our 2011 awards jury.  C7 is recipient a several Excellence on the Waterfront awards. 

Peter Kuttner and Diane Norris
    Co-director Breen is shown with the man behind our web pages, Stewart McKenzie and his wife Ricki. 

Ricki McKenzie, Stewart McKenzie and Ann Breen

May 2013

Baltimore Looks to Update the Inner Harbor
    The Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore and the Greater Baltimore Committee have begun a major study of the Inner Harbor and have hired the design firm Ayers Saint Gross to evaluate and make recommendations. The study will also include other reaches of the harbor.  Laurie Schwartz, executive director of the Partnership, allows as how the city has changed significantly over the last 40 years since the first portions of the Inner Harbor were opened and feels the area needs a re-evaluation. Those involved in the study have begun seeking ideas from the local community and stakeholders. In mid-April the Partnership hired Waterfront Center directors Ann Breen and Dick Rigby to take part in an all-day workshop that included a tour of the area and a brainstorming session. Center co-director Breen presented a specially-prepared hour-long illustrated presentation of waterfront examples from around the world to help stimulate the afternoon discussion. 

Recent Additions to the Harbor:

    Pierces Park, designed by Susan Flanigan, is another initiative of the Waterfront Partnership, now up and running. on the Inner Harbor. The park is a memorial to Pierce Flanigan, a local businessman and community leader who was a Partnership board member. The park includes locally designed and fabricated sculpture and landscape features designed to encourage play as seen in the accompanying photos. Visit

  Pierces Park in Baltimore's Inner Harbor 

Photo credit:  Ann Breen


    Floating Wetlands have also been installed in the waters of the Inner Harbor. These constructed wetlands help offset the hardscape along the shoreline helping to regain some the ecosystem benefits typically provided by wetlands including improved water quality and habitat for ducks and fish. Pictured here is an interpretive sign on the promenade that helps the visitor understand the workings of the floating wetlands. 


Floating Wetlands in Baltimore's Inner Harbor

Photo credit:  Ann Breen

26th Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Program.
June 28 is the deadline for the submittals. Visit /awards
Waterfronts 2013 – September 26-28 – Davenport, Iowa
Look for the 31st annual conference flyer to be in the mails soon.
This year’s added bonus is the chance to be part of the 6th annual Upper Mississippi River Conference to take place September 25-27.
Note:  The photographs of the Gloucester MA Harbor Walk shown in the previous newsletter were taken by Charles Norris.


April 2013

Gloucester’s Harborwalk – a Real Treat

    In early April, Sarah Garcia, harbor planning director, City of Gloucester, Massachusetts gave directors, Ann Breen and Dick Rigby, Center Board Member, Charles Norris and Center webmaster, Stewart McKenzie and his wife Ricki a tour of the new HarborWalk in the city and along the harbor. This innovative interpretive walkway offers 42 “story moments” that share the history and contemporary culture of this historic seaport. Illustrations and explanation panels are mounted on granite piles. Added features include maps and the ability to use your smartphone to send a vintage photo postcard to friends and family. With your phone you can also access recordings of everything from poetry readings to bird calls. Visit The HarborWalk was designed by Cambridge Seven Associates, Inc. , an early sponsor of Urban Waterfronts 2013 to be held in Davenport September 26-28. Sarah Garcia will be making a presentation at the conference, Saturday, September 28 about the city’s issues with protecting and enhancing this historic working waterfront. 





Photographs by Charles Norris

March 2013 


The Center conference opens Thursday night, September 26, and runs to Saturday afternoon, the 28th. In addition to our diverse program lineup, the conference will offer an opening Water Ceremony, two receptions, the conference luncheon, Continental breakfasts and coffees– all included in the low conference registration fee. The first announcement of the 2013 “Excellence on the Waterfront” honor awards comes Friday afternoon, Sept. 27, followed by a champagne reception. There will be tours offered on Saturday afternoon as well.

The program lineup is as follows:

• Creative Collaborations – Getting to Yes with Multiple Players

• The Mixed-Use Waterfront – Complex Undertakings in Cities Large and Small

• The Public Realm and the Role of Cultural Attractions – Waterfront Attractions for the People

• The Working Waterfront – A Favorite Topic of the Waterfront Center for 30 Years

• Environmental Considerations and Solutions – Design With Nature, or Else!

Sessions will be held at the Quad Cities River Center in downtown Davenport. It is connected to the two conference hotels: The Hotel Blackhawk and the Radisson, which are offering special conference rates until August 24.

Creative Collaborations is the title of the joint conferences of the Center and River Action Inc. of the Quad Cities. Its conference opens Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 25 with a reception, exhibits and a catfish fry. Its sessions run Thursday and Friday mornings and will cover the recreational river, the working waterfront, riverfront development and the Mississippi watershed, plus tours on Thursday afternoon .
A joint admission allows delegates to attend both conferences.

The conferences will provide a chance to take aboard the significant accomplishments along the Quad Cities riverfronts of the last 30 years, including a river trail connecting eight communities, an educational facility in a marsh, a 25-year-old bridge lighting well ahead of its time plus a major way-finding program and public art installations.