Public Hearing Jan. 15 on Lower East Side Bridging Berm Plan

Revamping the East River Waterfront: A Multi-Faceted Plan

Update: Pier 35 Eco-Park Project

A few weeks ago, a reader sent along fresh photos showing some signs of work near Pier 35 on the East River.  As you may recall, the city is transforming the pier (located near Jefferson Street) into an eco-park and recreational area, but the work has not progressed all that swiftly.  In the last several days, Lower Manhattan Info published new details about the project.

Photos: Something’s Happening at Pier 35!

We received some photos yesterday from a Lower East Side resident indicating some progress at Pier 35, located just north of the Manhattan Bridge.  Reconstructive work has been underway, haltingly, for the past few years, and is expected to continue through next year. The ultimate plan is to create an “Eco Park” and recreational area.  The resident who sent these photos indicated he hadn’t seen any visible signs of work being done on Pier 35 in about a year.

There’s, of course, a lot of work being done on the waterfront.  Recently Basketball City opened in a portion of Pier 36, just to the north of Pier 35.  This fall the Parks Department and Community Board 3 will begin a “visioning” process for a park planned at Pier 42 at Montgomery Street. The final stretch of the promenade, just below the Williamsburg Bridge, opened in the last couple of weeks.

First Meeting to Plan for Pier 42 Park Marked by Both Optimism and Skepticism

Pier 42, at the end of Montgomery Street, is ready for its makeover.

Members of the community who turned out last night to hear about the future of Pier 42, on the East River Waterfront, seemed generally hopeful but more than a little wary.  It was the first meeting with Parks Department officials, who will be overseeing the refurbishment of the long neglected public space.  While there was genuine excitement that years of vigorous advocacy had finally paid off, longtime residents made it clear they have doubts about the city’s ability to get the job done.

At the urging of U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer and State Senator Daniel Squadron, the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. recently awarded nearly $16 million to demolish a large abandoned shed on Pier 42 and to complete a planning and design process for a new park.  The project was first envisioned many years ago, but was unfunded. The pier has been used for parking and storage during the last couple of years.

The Union Rat Visits the East River

Basketball City along the East River at Montgomery Street is hosting the union rat this morning.

 

Funding Approved for Pier 42 and East River Waterfront

A rendering of one proposal for Pier 42 along the East River.

Two major projects along the East River waterfront moved one step closer to reality this morning, when the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation voted officially to fund them.

As we’ve been expecting, the redevelopment of Pier 42 was allotted $14 million, while another $1.9 million was tagged for the completion of the East River Waterfront Park.

Both projects have been championed  by state Sen. Daniel Squadron and U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, who announced last fall that they had secured a promise of the funding. Today’s vote made it official and set the stage for the planning process to formally begin; a public meeting is scheduled for next month.

“This funding will be a step toward the world-class waterfront and open space we’ve long fought for, while continuing the revitalization of Lower Manhattan,” Squadron said in a prepared statement after the vote. “By connecting Lower Manhattan’s waterfront parks, it will create a ‘continuous green ribbon’ and move us a big step closer to a Harbor Park – a central park for the center of our city.”

Formal Decision on Pier 42 Park Funding Expected Today

Friday's news conference at Pier 42.

This morning, the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. is expected to vote in favor of allocating $14 million for the creation of a new park at Pier 42, just north of Montgomery Street. The news broke Thursday night and was confirmed in a Friday afternoon news conference by U.S. Senator Charles Schumer and State Senator Daniel Squadron.

The money will be used to demolish a 600 foot dilapidated shed and to stabilize the pier. The total price tag for the park is expected to exceed $40 million.   Standing on the pier, Schumer said the rest of the money “could potentially come from additional LMDC financing if it becomes available, or from the city.”   Squadron added that he hopes the shed will have been knocked down by “this time next year.”  He suggested a park could be a reality in about five years.

New Section of East River Esplanade Opens

Mayor Bloomberg and local elected representatives opened the new stretch of waterfront park this afternoon.

The first section of the new East River Waterfront Esplanade opened this afternoon between Wall Street and Maiden Lane, offering downtown Manhattan residents a preview of a $165 million, 4-year-long project that eventually will transform two miles of shoreline into public recreational space.

“The new East River Waterfront Esplanade is the newest jewel on New York City’s magnificent harbor,” Bloomberg said in a prepared statement. “One of the goals of the waterfront plan we unveiled earlier this year is to reconnect New Yorkers to New York City’s more than 500 miles of waterfront and make it part of their everyday lives, and the new esplanade will help do that for Lower Manhattan’s tens of thousands of residents, 300,000-plus workers and millions of visitors.”

Port Authority Agrees Not to Use Pier 42 as WTC Staging Area

The Port Authority has agreed to drop plans to use Pier 42 (at the end of Montgomery Street) as a staging area for the construction of the World Trade Center site. According to a news release from Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s office, the neighborhood would have “faced vastly increased levels of congestion and pollution” and up to 60 truck trips a day, if the plan had been implemented.

Silver, State Senator Dan Squadron, City Councilmember Rosie Mendez and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer took the community’s concerns to the Port Authority. Their discussions resulted in the new plan announced yesterday. Contractors will now rely on a “day of delivery” procedure to get supplies to the work site, relying on what the release called “real-time ordering and delivery of construction materials.”

“I, along with other leaders on the Lower East Side, fought and won a commitment by the city to transform the East River waterfront into the community treasure that it was always meant to be,” said Silver. “Given the pace of the World Trade Center project, I could not stand by and watch the East River waterfront be used as a construction site in perpetuity. The community deserves what was promised to them and that is public recreational space on the waterfront–not hard hats and cement trucks.”

According to the Economic Development Corporation, Pier 42 will one day be revitalized and put to “public use as an urban beach and boat launch.” It’s included in the second phase of East River Waterfront Esplanade and Piers Project.