If you weren't happy with the big box stores that could be hitting the Lower East Side as part of the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA), what do you think about the idea of topping them off with a massive artificial mountain? That's what designer Ju-Hyun Kim proposes with Manhattan Mountain, a snowy slope that would hide the unsightly retailers slated to move into the area and attract tourists to a unique urban skiing experience.
The elevated park would create a new natural environment for plant life as well as a habitat for birds, butterflies and small animals. Kim imagines the mountain would be covered with rich grasses, and even a forest. Plus, New Yorkers would be able to experience activities they’d never think a city could provide like hiking, mountain biking, climbing, skiing and snowboarding.
Positioned on a platform, the Manhattan Mountain park would be in direct sunlight and free from noise and cars. In winter, the mountain would be transformed into a snowboard, sledding and skiing destination, accessible to everyone in the city. A residential tower that would rise from the mountain would give residents a unique urban living experience, combining the benefits of living in the city with the beauty of living in a mountainous area.
To support the Manhattan Mountain, both physically and financially, Kim designed a series of big box stores like Target, Best Buy and IKEA, hidden beneath the park. Kim feels Manhattan lacks the conveniences that these stores provide, so bringing them to the Lower East Side would stimulate the economy of the area, providing hundreds of jobs. But since the design of these stores conflict with the architecture of Manhattan, hiding them beneath the Mountain is a solution to incorporate their presence into the cityscape.