if you have been down to the waterfront lately, you might have noticed that the parking lot at Pier 42 is closing at the end of this month.
The signs from Imperial Parking are prominently displayed at the entrance near Montgomery Street. Pier 42 will soon be a construction site. The city’s Economic Development Corp. will be overseeing demolition of the old shed alongside the East River. After years of delays, work is scheduled to begin on an interim park. The idea is to one day build a permanent park, but the city is tens-of-millions of dollars short of the necessary funding.
Your last day to park at Pier 42 is Aug. 31.
Paths to Pier 42/2016.
As we reported earlier in the month, the first phase of the project to turn Pier 42 into a waterfront park has been pushed back once again. It’s now supposed to begin in the fall of this year. So once again this summer, a section of Pier 42 will be activated by local community groups for a series of cultural programs.
State Sen. Daniel Squadron, the NYC Economic Development Corp. (EDC) and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) announced the summer 2017 programming plan today. As in years past, the Paths to Pier 42 coalition and Community Board 3 will be partnering with the city agencies and the senator’s office for the series. The EDC is providing $50,000 in funding for the programs.
The season will kick off with a “City of Water Day” event July 15. There will also be a salsa dancing and music day, fishing clinics, interactive science workshops and arts events. The Paths to Pier 42 coalition includes Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES), Hester Street Collaborative, Two Bridges Neighborhood Council and the Lower East Side Ecology Center.
Squadron and U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer successfully advocated for $28 million from the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. for Pier 42. Construction was supposed to begin early this year. Now responsibility for the project has shifted from the Parks Dept. to the EDC. City officials will appear before Community Board 3’s parks committee July 13 to update the timetable for construction and go over other changes in the project.
The initial phase involves tearing down a large shed and creating an interim park. A larger plan to transform all of Pier 42 is years (perhaps decades) away. It will cost in the neighborhood of $100 million, money that has not yet been allocated.
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.
Paths to Pier 42 spring celebration, 2015.
Last we heard, work was scheduled to begin early next year for the transformation of Pier 42. The area just below East River Park will one day become a new recreational space overseen by the NYC Parks Department. In the meantime, community groups are trying to keep Pier 42 in the public eye. Their next event, a Halloween celebration, takes place this coming weekend.
The event coincides with the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. So Saturday’s waterfront festival is called, “Sandyween.” There will be a Halloween costume contest, a dance contest, face painting and a walking tour to learn about coastal flood protection (here’s info about the walking tour). You can stop by any time Saturday between noon and 4 p.m. The celebration is co-hosted by Paths to Pier 42, a coalition that advocates for waterfront resources; and LES Ready, the community organization created in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
East Side resiliency has been in the news this week. Sociologist Eric Klinenberg wrote a piece for Wired that looked at the importance of strong communities in overcoming devastating natural disasters. Community-based organizations on the Lower East Side have won widespread praise for their quick response to Sandy. They were the real “first responders” in the hours and days after the big storm.
A multi-million dollar project is now underway to protect the neighborhoods along the East River with a series of berms and levees. Klinenberg was the research director for Rebuild by Design, the federal competition to come up with the best flood mitigation schemes. In the article, he touted the ultimate vision, which offered protection for vulnerable residents, but also focused on increasing their access to the waterfront. Here’s part of what he had to say:
The portion of the design proposed for the Lower East Side—which is, for now, the only funded part of the project—lines the waterfront with lushly planted berms that give pedestrians easier access to a slew of amenities on the water’s edge. The berms, which are 18.5 feet at their peak, absorb storm surges when necessary, but their everyday function is just as important: serving as parklands and recreational areas for people who live in an especially gray and unpleasant part of an especially gray city… (The plan) could get steered off course. Late-stage budget cuts could reduce the Lower East Side’s verdant berms to an ugly and imposing seawall, exactly the kind of project that Rebuild by Design was supposed to reject. But so far the plans have wide support from local and federal offices, and other cities around the world have taken notice.
You can read the full article here.
Community programming at Pier 42, 2015.
During the past few years, a portion of Pier 42 was used for pop-up arts and cultural events. It was part of a plan by a local coalition known as “Paths to Pier 42” to reclaim the formerly neglected space near Montgomery Street. The funding ran out in 2015, but now more money has been secured for additional programming this year.
According to State Sen. Daniel Squadron, the NYC Economic Development Corp. has made $50,000 available for the initiative. Here’s more from the senator’s press release:
The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council-spearheaded programming schedule will be part of interim use at the northern portion of the Pier. It will include activities run by Paths to Pier 42 coalition groups, including park greening and clean-up efforts; arts, culture, and ecology activities, and community programming. The programming will kick-off on Saturday, July 23rd with a day of hands-on park improvement activities for all ages. The Paths to Pier 42 coalition includes Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES), Hester Street Collaborative, Two Bridges Neighborhood Council, and the Lower East Side Ecology Center. Since 2013, the “Paths to Pier 42” project has brought neighborhood residents, artists, designers and community organizations together to activate Pier 42 on the Lower East Side Waterfront as a temporary park space with collaborative art installations and public events. A true collaborative effort, the project builds on neighborhood advocacy to create more accessible green, open space on the waterfront by increasing access and programming Pier 42 while it awaits permanent transformation.
There’s a $100 million plan to one day create a new permanent park at Pier 42. So far, $28 million has been allocated for the first phase of the project. The start of construction has been repeatedly delayed but is now scheduled for early 2017.
Pier 42; interim park rendering by Mathews Nielsen.
The Lower East Side got some good news this morning when the board of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. (LMDC) voted to allocate another $12 million for a new park at Pier 42.
In 2012, the agency created to administer 9/11 recovery funds set aside $16 million for a large recreational area on the dilapidated pier. Today it added $7 million from a settlement fund tied to the fatal 2007 fire at the Deutsche Bank building. The LMDC also shifted $5 million to Pier 42 from unspent funds originally allocated to other projects, including the pavilion in Columbus Park. All told, there’s now about $28 million for the first phase of the park, located just to the north of Montgomery Street.
U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer and State Sen. Daniel Squadron, who have long advocated for Pier 42 funding, released a joint statement this afternoon:
This gives all of New York 12 million more reasons to celebrate. We’ve worked together since 2010 to make a park at Pier 42 a reality. In 2012 we secured $16 million. And we have seen successful interim use the last three summers. This funding is a big step in our long push for a Harbor Park — a Central Park for the center of our city, and an emerald ribbon around Manhattan, which will be so important for the local community and the whole borough.
The grand plan for Pier 42 is expected to cost nearly $100 million. The current funding will pay for an interim park. According to LMDC documents, almost $6 million will be devoted to the demolition of a large shed that’s obstructing views of the East River. Initial plans called for planting grass and trees and building a 7-foot-high knoll. Additional funding will pay for a comfort station (bathrooms) and a playground. Construction was supposed to begin this spring, but design delays forced the city to push it back to January of 2017.
The lawsuit settlement created a $50 million fund for new projects. Other Lower East Side initiatives receiving allocations today include:
- East River Esplanade – $10 million for construction of a new sidewalk, paving and curbs for a section of the esplanade from the Brooklyn Bridge to Catherine Slip.
- Brooklyn Bridge Beach – $5 million for sidewalk paving and curb construction along the waterfront from Peck Slip to the Brooklyn Bridge. An LMDC handout stated, “the project will include the installation of new railings and site furnishings while creating limited beach access near the Brooklyn Bridge.” The city has already committed $7 million for the project.
- University Settlement – $1,126,850 for facility improvements at the Houston Street Center and the agency’s headquarters at 184 Eldridge St.
While allocations were made today, the LMDC board will weigh in once again as plans for various projects progress and contracts are drawn up. David Emil, the organization’s president, reiterated in remarks before the board that the LMDC will be “winding down” during the next couple of years as the last funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development are spent.
Pier 42; interim park rendering by Mathews Nielsen.
As we reported earlier today, the federal government is awarding New York City $176 million to create a flood barrier and new recreational amenities from Montgomery Street to Battery Park. This afternoon, we have some news about another waterfront project — a Pier 42 park.
Until recently, plans were underway to begin the first phase of construction this coming spring. Four years ago, the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. (LMDC) allocated $16 million to begin transforming the site just to the north of Montgomery Street.
A spokesperson for the NYC Parks Department tells The Lo-Down that “design and planning issues,” especially the environmental review of the site, have delayed the project. The city’s new estimated start date is January of 2017.
The first phase of construction involves creating an interim park. The plan is to tear down most of a large storage shed, remove asphalt, plant grass and trees and establish a 7-foot-high knoll. The overall project, expected to cost at least $94 million, remains unfunded. Last year, the LMDC suggested it would allocate another $7 million to Pier 42, but the board has not yet voted on the proposal.
Paths to Pier 42 spring celebration, 2015.
This past summer, several local non-profit organizations wrapped up a three-year initiative called Paths to Pier 42 in anticipation of the start of construction. Paths to Pier 42 was initiated by the Hester Street Collaborative, GOLES, Two Bridges Neighborhood Council and CAAAV. They transformed a section of the pier into a recreational space and sponsored all sorts of arts projects, performances and community events there. The idea was to reclaim the derelict public space for the neighborhood and to keep attention focused on the park planning process.
But given the new delay, the Parks Department is asking the groups to brings Paths to Pier 42 back to life for another season. A few weeks ago, we met with Dylan House and Anna Pelavan of Hester Street Collaborative to talk about the road ahead for Pier 42.
The programming they helped develop was designed to give voice to the people who live along the waterfront, a predominantly low-income community. During a three-year period, the partners utilized about $500,000 in funding to support 15 artist/design teams and to run Paths to Pier 42’s engagement programs. They’re now looking at how the space can be activated once again this spring and summer. While it will be tricky in the absence of any additional funding, they’re optimistic about finding creative ways to keep the pier lively throughout the spring and summer months.
The LMDC funding was secured with the help of U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer and State Sen Daniel Squadron. At various times during the last several years, they have urged the city to move forward with a fully funded Pier 42 project as quickly as possible.
Monday, May 11, 2015 | Here’s a shot from Pier 42 this past weekend. More photos coming up later from the “Paths to Pier 42″ spring celebration | Weather: A mix of clouds and sun today with a high near 80 | Send us your photos and tips | On This Date: Irving Berlin was born in 1888, and as the Times notes, moved to the Lower East Side when he was 5 | Subscribe to our daily email.