Just South Of Harlem, The Beautiful Hudson River Park Opens First New Pier In A Decade

September 30, 2020

The Hudson River Park Trust will open Pier 26 on September 30th, 2020, just 30 minutes south from Harlem, the first new public pier to open in the four-mile-long Hudson River Park in a decade. Within the zone initially identified for the 9/11 recovery, the pier now will serve as a vital open space resource for New Yorkers as the city works to recover from the ongoing pandemic.

Located in Tribeca between Hubert and N Moore Streets, Pier 26’s most unique feature is a Tide Deck – an engineered representation of a rocky tidal marsh – for educational and ecological programming. Along with indigenous plantings representing varied coastal communities, the Tide Deck is intended to heighten awareness of the wildlife and habitat found within the Park and the Estuarine Sanctuary included within its borders.

Other features on the new pier include a sunning lawn, a sports court for children’s play, and multiple lounge areas for enjoying river views. The construction of the $37.7 million pier was funded by Citi, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), and the City of New York. Design funds for the tide deck were provided by New York State’s Environmental Protection Fund.

“The incredible transformation of Pier 26 into a world-class ecological, educational, and recreational resource is a testament to the corporate, civic, and community leadership behind this project and an example of the powerful role public-private partnerships can play to help improve quality of life for communities,” said New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner and Hudson River Park Trust Chair Basil Seggos.

“The millions of visitors drawn to Hudson River Park each year will enjoy the pier’s state-of-the-art amenities for generations to come, and with improved access countless children now have the opportunity to learn unforgettable lessons about the Hudson River.”

“Pier 26 is another step in the remarkable evolution of Hudson River Park into a premier open space for all New Yorkers and visitors to enjoy,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been. “The pandemic demonstrates the importance of access to outdoor space, and the completion of this beautiful new space expands that access. Thanks to Citi, Hudson River Park Trust, and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, Pier 26 transforms another section of Manhattan’s post-industrial waterfront into a beacon for well-being and health.”

“We are excited to celebrate the long-awaited opening of Pier 26, right in our own backyard,” said Michael Corbat, CEO of Citi. “Adjacent to our global headquarters, the redesigned pier brings together education, ecology and community and is a much-needed resource where New Yorkers can gather responsibly. We are proud of our relationship with our neighbor, Hudson River Park, and congratulate everyone who played a role in making today possible.”

“The opening of Pier 26 would be cause for celebration anytime, but it is particularly momentous given the challenges of COVID,” said Lower Manhattan Development Corporation Chair Holly Leicht. “Hudson River Park has played such a critical role in revitalizing Lower Manhattan since September 11th, and its place at the heart of this community has never been more apparent than during the pandemic. LMDC is proud to partner with HRPT to fund this latest magical addition to the park, which will connect visitors to the river’s ecology and natural habitat in a truly unique way.”

“Seven years in the making, we are proud to open this entirely unique pier at a time when Hudson River Park has taken on new importance for so many in the face of the current health crisis — providing a much-needed oasis in a city with limited green space,” said Madelyn Wils, President, and CEO of Hudson River Park Trust. “By designing a pier that brings New Yorkers closer to the city’s natural wildlife and habitat, we hope to offer critical hands-on learning opportunities for students, places to play, and plenty of quiet spots for people to take in the nature around them.

And while Pier 26, like the rest of Hudson River Park, was originally conceived as a way to help New York City recover from 9/11, we hope this new pier will play a vital role as we once again look ahead to recovery. Thanks to the hard work and dedication from Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and Citi, we look forward to welcoming families from all over the city to this exciting new park.”

“Congratulations to The Hudson River Park Trust on the opening of Pier 26 today,” said Council Speaker Corey Johnson. “Access to open space remains essential for the public health of all New Yorkers and the pandemic has highlighted the urgent need to always be improving parks and green spaces. The opening of Pier 26 is an exciting and timely addition to New York’s beloved Hudson River Park as our city continues to recover from the coronavirus pandemic’s ongoing impact.”

“The new Pier 26 is a welcome addition to the recreational and educational options available to downtown residents and to all New Yorkers,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “It’s especially great to have it open in the midst of the pandemic when we’ve never needed outdoor options more. This is an important milestone that gets us one step closer to a 100% completed Hudson River Park. Our thanks must go to Citi, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, and the City and State of New York for their funding.”

“Pier 26 will be a great addition to Hudson River Park and the greater TriBeCa and Lower Manhattan neighborhoods,” said Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick. “This year has truly shown how much we should value public open spaces and parks as a respite from indoor activities and responsibilities. I am so happy to see a new park-pier with active and passive recreation options for New Yorkers who come to Hudson River Park. The Tide Deck and ecological programming that will accompany it will bring interactive educational opportunities to our unique waterfront park. This is a bright spot for New York City.”

“With more and more New Yorkers recognizing the value of publicly accessible open space as a public health resource, I am proud to join Hudson River Park Trust and Lower Manhattan residents to celebrate the opening of Pier 26,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. “By incorporating elements from the surrounding ecosystem into its design, as well as recreation space and seating areas, the Pier provides children, families, and seniors ample opportunities to enjoy it to the fullest. I invite all New Yorkers to stop by and take advantage of this wonderful new addition to Hudson River Park.”

“The opening of Pier 26 – the first new park pier in 10 years – is great achievement for the city and a huge benefit to families all up and down the West Side,” said Hudson River Park Friends Chair Mike Novogratz. “For these neighborhoods, where green space is in short supply, the park is more important than ever. And during the pandemic, you can multiply that by a hundred.

The design offers plenty to do for everyone. People can play sports on the new field, learn about the river’s ecology at the Tide Deck, or watch the sunset over the river from a lounge chair. I’m proud to welcome every New Yorker to Pier 26 and want to thank the Trust, Citi and our government partners for this terrific new addition to Hudson River Park, which I’m thrilled to support.”

Pier 26, designed by the award-winning landscape architecture firm OLIN, intricately weaves active and passive recreation space throughout. The Pier’s defining feature is its 15,000-square-foot Tide Deck – the first of its kind in New York City. The Deck has been planted with native shrubs, trees and grasses intended to mimic the wetlands that once existed along the Hudson River shoreline and is part of a coastal area that regularly floods with the daily tidal cycle, giving plants and wildlife vital nourishment from the river.

An elevated cantilevered walkway above the Deck provides spectacular city and river views, while the Deck itself will be accessible for guided tours and educational experiences led by the Park’s staff. This important riverfront access point will help support the educational programming offered by the Trust’s environmental education and scientific programming arm, the River Project, for more than 30,000 kids and adults every year.

The Pier also features a short habitat walk that leads visitors through five native ecological zones: woodland forest, coastal grassland, maritime scrub, rocky tidal zone, and the Hudson River. And a nearby sunning lawn and sports play area with boardwalks and seating areas offer park-goers ample seating and recreation space.

Finally, Pier 26’s upland is already home to the popular City Vineyard restaurant and wine bar, and Downtown Boathouse, which has provided free kayaking for half a million people since its inception. These features, along with the pier infrastructure, were completed in 2013 as part of a previous construction phase with funding from LMDC and the City of New York while the balance of the pier awaited additional funding.

In the future, the upland area immediately east of Pier 26 will also include a specialized science-themed playground of more than 4,000 square feet, designed by OLIN and with play features by the Danish playground design firm Monstrum, which helped design Hudson River Park’s pipefish playground in Chelsea Waterside Park. The play area will include larger-than-life play features in the forms of native and endangered Sturgeon species found in the Hudson River.

The playground will join the Trust’s planned estuarium on the adjacent upland to complete the Tribeca section of Hudson River Park. The estuarium – a research and education center featuring live Hudson River fish to be run by the Trust’s River Project and focused on river ecology – is in its fundraising stage.

Pier 26 was developed and is operated by the Hudson River Park Trust, a New York State public benefit corporation charged with the design, construction and stewardship of Hudson River Park, which runs from just north of Chambers to 59th Street. The Park is open daily from 6:00 AM to 1:00 AM.

The opening of Pier 26 comes as the Trust spearheads approximately $1 billion in public/private partnerships in ongoing construction toward completion of the Park. Construction is nearing completion on Little Island, the planned public park pier and performance space once known as Pier55 and expected to open next summer. That project was made possible through funding from the Diller-Von Furstenberg Family Foundation, and represents the largest single donation to a park in the history of the State, along with the City of New York. Work is also ongoing at Pier 57, a mixed-use development by RXR Realty/Youngwoo and anchored by Google, which will include more than three acres of public open space, including a rooftop park and perimeter esplanade – also expected to open next year.

At the same time, the Trust plans to break ground by next spring on three additional public park projects: Gansevoort Peninsula, which will provide direct waterfront access for the public with a resilient beachfront and with the largest single greenspace in Hudson River Park; Pier 97, which will include a lawn, playground, sunset plaza, and youth soccer fields, along with an esplanade connection to Riverside Park South; and a reconfiguration of Chelsea Waterside Park.

Finally, the Whitney Museum of American Art is building “Day’s End” by David Hammons on the southern edge of Gansevoort Peninsula in partnership with the Trust, which will be one of the country’s largest public art projects upon completion late this year.

The opening of Pier 26 marks an important post-9/11 rebuilding milestone for Lower Manhattan. In 2010, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation funded construction of piers 25 and 26 as part of its ongoing rebuilding efforts in the neighborhood. The adjacent Pier 25 is the most heavily used pier in Hudson River Park.

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. 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.

Photo Credit: 1-6) Max Guliani for Hudson River Park.

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