This was the scene a year ago at Pier 42 — a rally organized by U.S. Senator Charles Schumer and State Senator Daniel Squadron to urge the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. (LMDC) to fund the revitalization of the East River Waterfront. Tomorrow morning you can expect a very similar photo op at the pier, which is now being used as a parking lot. Almost exactly a year after that initial rally/news happening, the politicians will be back on the Lower East Side for a big announcement: the LMDC is poised to allocate $14 million of its remaining 9/11 recovery funds to refurbishing Pier 42.
In a story given exclusively this evening to the Wall Street Journal (full text hidden behind the dreaded paywall), Schumer boasts, “this is the missing link in the dream of having a ribbon park around Lower Manhattan.” The LMDC, which has about $20 million left to spend, will take up the funding issue on Monday. The $14 million will be enough to demolish a 600 foot shed that sits on Pier 42. The grand plan of turning the stretch of waterfront into a park is expected to cost about $42 million. Finding the rest of the money will be a tall order at a time in which government at all levels is straining to fund even essential services.
But there’s no denying the decision is a big win for the Lower East Side. The community board and a coalition of neighborhood groups have complained bitterly about the city’s heavy emphasis on West Side projects, as sections of the East River waterfront languished.
Squadron, who was once a Schumer aide, has made Pier 42 revitalization a major priority. He told the Journal the shed demolition would likely be completed nect year. The LMDC grant will “provide funds to allow the Parks Department to conduct a ‘community-based master plan process’ for the final design of the pier,” the newspaper reported.