By Francesca Trianni
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Manhattan, an island with miles of waterfront, will finally get its own beach.
Just minutes from Wall Street, the Empire State Building and other landmarks that define New York City, a playground of sand and surf will be created out of a strip of fenced-off wasteland in the southern tip of the island.
The $7 million Brooklyn Bridge Beach plan, whose details were unveiled on Thursday, covers 11,000 square feet area under the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge, at the mouth of the East River.
One caveat is the sewage-tainted water, which most New Yorkers consider too polluted to swim in.
"We're embracing the great power of our rivers," City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said as she announced the plan's funding, with the Brooklyn Bridge in the background.
"Our rivers were part of what made us the greatest city in the world and now we are reclaiming them for economic development and for recreation, but also for protection."
With fresh lessons from superstorm Sandy, which caused $50 billion in damages and economic losses in New York state, the project will create salt marsh planters and wetlands that would serve as buffer against future storms and flooding.
The area will also feature terraced seating, a kayak launch, a spot for fishing, tree-lined walkways and concession stands.
"If we can bring this plan to fruition right here in Manhattan, this could be a model for the rest of the world," said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.
The plan, initiated three years ago, is funded by the Manhattan Borough President's office in collaboration with the City Council.
While the main provisions to build Brooklyn Bridge Beach have secured funding, the larger, more complex plan of revitalizing Manhattan's East Side waterfront, between the Brooklyn Bridge and East 38th street, would require raising additional capital.
(Reporting by Francesca Trianni; Editing by Richard Chang)