For years we have been waiting and watching for the long-promised transformation of Pier 42 into a waterfront park. The start of construction for the first phase of that project has now been pushed back again. Work is currently anticipated to begin in the fall. There was an opportunity to refocus on Pier 42 yesterday, as State Sen. Daniel Squadron led Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul across the dilapidated site near Montgomery Street.
Squadron has been advocating for the recreational area for at least the past seven years. In 2010, he teamed up with U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer to push for funding from the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. Since that time, $28 million has been allocated. The money will be used to tear down the old storage shed on the pier and establish an interim park. The grand plan for this area will require at least $70 million more from city, state and federal funding sources.
Squadron was only too happy yesterday to talk up the merits of the project with Hochul. Also in attendance was State Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou. “With a path forward for construction this year,” Squadron told us, “I wanted to highlight the tremendous potential for the site, which has been a city, state and federal partnership through the LMDC.”
We learned during yesterday’s tour that the initial construction will be coordinated through the Economic Development Corp. (the Parks Department had previously taken the lead and will still be responsible for maintenance and operations once the recreational area opens). When we last checked in on Pier 42 in the summer of 2016, city officials said construction was scheduled to start in “early 2017.” One factor delaying the project: Planning for the East Side Coastal Resiliency initiative. As part of that massive undertaking, sections of the waterfront alongside Pier 42 will be elevated for flood protection.
A parking facility currently operating from Pier 42 is expected to vacate the property in advance of the shed demolition.
As in summers past, community groups, along with Senator Squadron, are planning a series of public cultural events in a makeshift park on the Pier 42 site. More to come about that sometime soon.