From museums and hospitals to bridges and hotels, more than three dozen projects in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut were honored in ENR New York's Best Projects competition this year. The projects span 18 market sector categories and represent an array of construction costs, designs and complexities.

Photo by Matthew Carone Photography
Studying Up: The Bill & Melinda Gates Hall in Ithaca, N.Y., won in the higher education/research category.

This year's competition drew 59 submissions from the tristate region. To be eligible to participate, projects had to meet a number of criteria, not the least of which was to explain how challenges faced during design or construction were managed. Submissions also touted innovation and creativity, and noted how the project helped to elevate industry standards.

An independent panel of six industry leaders judged the main competition, in some cases moving submissions from one market sector category to another that they deemed a better fit. The judges rated each project by how well it met the criteria and then sorted out which, if any, deserved a top prize in a category and which, if any, should receive a merit award. In the end, they chose 39 projects.

As the region's overall best, judges chose the Novartis East Hanover Campus Transformation. They liked many things about this project, which added 1.2 million sq ft of construction and included the coordination of 400 contractors and 5,000 craft workers.

A separate competition, judged by two industry experts, focused solely on safety. The judges weren't interested in projects that met only baseline industry safety requirements. Rather, they sought those that went above and beyond the norm. The top honor in this category went to The Green Lane Building at Kean University in Union, N.J., with an award of merit to Hyatt Times Square in New York City.

More details on each of the project winners follows, along with profiles of the judges. The region's best overall and category winners will now go on to a new round of judging in ENR's national Best of the Best Projects competition. The results of that contest will be announced early next year.

This Year's Winners Are:

Best Project of 2014: Novartis East Hanover Campus Transformation

Best Safety: The Green Lane Building at Kean University
Award of Merit, Safety: Hyatt Times Square (135 W. 45th St.)

Best Airports/Transit: 2nd Ave Subway, 96th St. Station/Contract C 26005
Award of Merit, Airports/Transit: Metro North Embankment Stabilization at Milepost HU43.8

Best Cultural/Worship: Theatre for a New Audience at Polonsky Shakespeare Center

Award of Merit, Cultural/Worship: Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum/Carnegie Mansion
Best Government/Public Buildings: NYC Parks Beach Restoration Modules
Award of Merit, Government/Public Building: Statue of Liberty National Monument Life and Safety Upgrades and Post-Sandy Recovery

Best Green: Novartis Visitor Reception Building
Award of Merit, Green: Fairchild Wheeler Inter-District Magnet Campus
Award of Merit, Green: Washington Square Park/Park House
Best Health Care: Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York

Award of Merit, Health Care: Lawrence +Memorial Hospital Cancer Center
Best Higher Education: Bill & Melinda Gates Hall
Award of Merit, Higher Education: Weill Cornell Medical College’s Belfer Research Building
Best Highways/Bridge: Historic Mystic Movable Bridge Rehabilitation
Award of Merit, Highways/Bridge: Interchange 6 to 9 Widening Program, Interchange 8
Award of Merit, Highways/Bridge: Design/Build Services for the Reconstruction of Ramp MQ at the RFK Bridge, RK-73
Award of Merit, Highways/Bridge: I-84 over Dingle Ridge Road/Rapid Bridge Replacement
Award of Merit, Highways/Bridge: Alexander Hamilton Bridge and Highbridge Interchange Rehab Project

Best Interiors/Tenant Improvement: FDR Presidential Library & Museum
Award of Merit, Interiors/Tenant Improvement: Harman

Award of Merit, Interiors/Tenant Improvement: 1552 Broadway
Award of Merit, Interiors/Tenant Improvement: LS Travel iStore & Porsche Design
Best K-12 Education: PAVE Academy
Best Landscape/Urban Development: LeFrak Center at Lakeside, Prospect Park
Manufacturing: Greenpac
Best Office/Retail/Mixed-Use: Novartis East Hanover Campus Transformation

Award of Merit, Office/Retail/Mixed-Use: Entry Pavilion at Brookfield Place
Award of Merit, Office/Retail/Mixed-Use: 4 World Trade Center
Best Renovation/Restoration: Pier A Restoration
Best Residential/Hospitality: 135 East 79th
Award of Merit, Residential/Hospitality: The Marriott at 1717 Broadway

Award of Merit, Residential/Hospitality: The New York Palace
Best Small Project (Under $10 Million): Monmouth Battlefield State Park Visitor Center
Best Specialty Contracting: Hurricane Sandy Staten Island Residential Repairs

Award of Merit, Specialty Contracting: NYU Langone Sandy Restoration
Award of Merit, Specialty Contracting: 4 New York Plaza
Best Sports/Entertainment: Madison Square Garden Transformation Project

Award of Merit, Sports/Entertainment: Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino      

Best Water/Environment: West Brook Flood Control Project