A plan unveiled by Mayor Michael Bloomberg aims to put landlubber New Yorkers back in touch with the resource that surrounds them – the city's sometimes glittering but too-often-ignored waterfront, all 520 miles of it.
Calling his blueprint "Vision 2020", Mr Bloomberg predicted the 10-year project would become "one of the most sweeping transformations of any urban waterfront in the world".
The project, with a budget of $3bn (£1.9bn), represents a big change in emphasis since Mr Bloomberg infuriated preservationists a few years ago by ceding a historic area of old shipping piers in Brooklyn to accommodate the city's first Ikea mega-store.
A priority will be upgrading the city's sewage system, which becomes overwhelmed during rainstorms. The city will also complete esplanade parks on both sides of Manhattan, create new parks and protect wetlands.
"New York City has more miles of waterfront than Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago and Portland combined, but for decades, too many neighbourhoods have been blocked off from it," Mr Bloomberg said.