Hey Harlem, The Hudson River Park Trust Just Reopened The Chelsea Waterside Park

June 15, 2023

The Hudson River Park Trust announced today the reopening of Hudson River Park’s newly renovated Chelsea Waterside Park section just 40 minutes from Harlem.

The extensive overhaul of the space reimagines this heavily used section of the Park through the thoughtful addition of new features and plants. The park area now includes a new public restroom, a permanent picnic area with lighting for evening use, an expanded and refreshed synthetic turf sports field, and an expanded dog run with water features and separate areas for small and large dogs.

Designed by Abel Bainnson Butz, LLP and CDR Design Studio Architects under the direction of the Trust, the refreshed park area creates more usable spaces for visitors while also prioritizing expanding green spaces and plantings through the reduction of paved areas. 

The new Chelsea Waterside Park was designed with environmental sustainability in mind. The striking new restroom façade uses granite and wood salvaged from pathways and walls previously located on the site. Solar panels and skylights were also incorporated into the restroom design, and low-energy LED lighting was installed at the sports field. In an earlier phase of the project, limestone cattle head sculptures were incorporated into water features at the playground after being reclaimed from a historic meatpacking district business, the New York Butchers’ Dressed Meat Company, whose building was demolished in 1991.  

“Today’s reopening of Chelsea Waterside Park affirms Hudson River Park’s commitment to providing visitors with high-quality public spaces that meet our community’s recreational needs while also being sensitive to the environment,” said Noreen Doyle, President & CEO of the Hudson River Park Trust. “We thank Council Member Erik Bottcher and the entire City Council, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, Manhattan Community Board 4, the Chelsea Waterside Park Association, our private sector partners at Douglaston Development and Lalezarian Properties, and all the elected officials and community partners who supported our efforts to secure the funding needed to bring this much-needed expansion and renovation plan to life.”  

“Chelsea Waterside Park’s renovation is just in time for New Yorkers to take full advantage of the recreation and relaxation opportunities along the waterfront at Hudson River Park this summer,” said Congressman Jerry Nadler. “Expanding residents and visitors’ access to open spaces while utilizing greener design frameworks is not only a benefit to the West Side but the entire city of New York.”

“Public green spaces in Manhattan are some of our city’s most precious resources,” said State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal. “The newly renovated Chelsea Waterside Park will serve as a respite from the hustle and bustle of the city for many of my constituents. I’m looking forward to bringing my daughters to play on the brand new turf area and greenery, and I’m grateful to The Hudson River Park Trust for making our city a little greener.”

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“The reopening of the Chelsea Waterside Park is wonderful news for the community,” said Assemblymember Tony Simone. “Having worked for Hudson River Park Friends for years, I know well how valuable it is to have sustainable and accessible green space, and this new park will be an important asset for Chelsea and all of New York City for years to come.”

“The new Chelsea Waterside Park not only enhances the beauty of the beloved Hudson River Park but also offers new and exciting features for visitors of all ages,” said New York City Council Member Erik Bottcher. “This park will serve as a monument to the memory of Bob Trentlyon and Zazel Loven, who both dedicated years of their lives to making Chelsea Waterside Park one of the most special green spaces in New York. I want to thank HRPT for their continued partnership in making the park a hub of community life and an oasis for all who appreciate the joy of our precious greenspace. I also would like to thank my colleagues in government and Community Board 4 for their help in stewardship of the park and waterfronts.” 

“Congratulations to Hudson River Park and its team of designers on an extraordinary refresh of Chelsea Waterside Park!” said Jeffrey LeFrancois, Chair of Manhattan Community Board 4. “This park is a community gem, and the updated design reflects an impressive understanding of how to bring community needs and beautiful design together. And there are bathrooms! Community Board 4 is extremely grateful that the final design of the bathroom building includes recycled materials and sustainable elements to ensure a minimal carbon footprint while providing new high-quality public facilities.” 

The new and improved Chelsea Waterside Park incorporates feedback from the Chelsea Waterside Park Association, Community Board 4, and members of the public who collectively expressed their wishes for the expanded dog run, the permanent picnic area, the improved sports field, a greener park, and especially the long-awaited public restroom building through the Trust’s consultative design process. Alpine Construction Landscaping, Athletic Fields of America, Inc., and E.W. Howell, Inc. performed the construction services under the supervision of DACK Consulting Solutions, Inc.

The improvements at Chelsea Waterside Park were accomplished in two phases, with the area reopening today costing approximately $15.2 million including design and construction management. The New York City Council, now represented by Council Member Erik Bottcher, contributed $5.2 million, the Manhattan Borough President’s Office, now represented by Borough President Mark Levine, contributed $225,000, and the Trust provided the balance of nearly $9 million with funding received from its earlier sale of some development rights to Douglaston and Lalezarian through a zoning action completed in 2018.  

In 2018, The Trust upgraded and renovated the park’s playground with the addition of a custom-designed, multi-colored 64-foot wooden slide in the shape of a Pipefish, one of many fish species that live within Park waters. This earlier construction phase was funded by Hudson River Park Friends’ Board and generous donors, with additional support from State Senator Brad Hoylman, former Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried, former Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and former City Council Speaker Corey Johnson. An important community asset within Hudson River Park, Chelsea Waterside Park was originally constructed by the NYS Department of Transportation as part of the Route 9A reconstruction project in 2000. 

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the creation of Hudson River Park. Later this summer, Gansevoort Peninsula will open to the public with a resilient rocky sand bluff, kayak launch, sports field, dog run, adult fitness area, pedestrian promenades, and a salt marsh on the northern edge. The Park’s northernmost public pier, Pier 97, will also open in 2023, delivering an exciting playground, ball sports zone, overlook, and sunset deck. The Pier 26 Science Playground is also currently under construction and will open in late fall 2023. 

The Hudson River Park Trust

The Hudson River Park Trust is a partnership between New York State and City charged with the design, construction, and operation of the four-mile Hudson River Park, which currently attracts more than 17 million visits annually. Both the Trust and the park itself are governed by the Hudson River Park Act, a 1998 law that established the park and its requirements. Guided by a vision for a magnificent waterfront park, the Trust continues to advance park construction and ensure the park’s future financial self-sufficiency by developing the remaining commercial nodes.


If you’re ready to hang out in the park you can arrive at the park in 40 minutes leaving from Harlem. right on time to take advantage of new features and plants, a new public restroom, a picnic area with lighting, an expanded and refreshed synthetic turf sports field, and an expanded dog run with water features and separate areas for small and large dogs and more.

Photo credit: Hudson River Park Trust.

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