Preview of Pier 42 Waterfront Park Space and Re-development
It was under crisp sunshine early yesterday afternoon that State Senator Daniel Squadron, Manhattan Parks Commish Bill Castro, and project manager Doug Nash collectively led an exclusive press preview of Pier 42. What presently exists as eight acres of public parking, abandoned warehouse, and overgrown lots will eventually blossom into a vast public waterfront park. But let’s first revel in the brilliant photogenic quality of this decrepit Lower East Side pier.
Moving on. Last November, Squadron and Senator Chuck Schumer announced that $17 million in funding had been secured for the re-development of Pier 42, which would create a “unified harbor park” for residents. This last slice of untouched waterfront property is the proverbial keystone to completion of a contiguous “green ribbon” around the bulge of Lower Manhattan. It essentially connects the east and west sides.
Landscape architect Mathews Nielsen is on board for the project (they were part of the Stuy Town beautification). What we learned yesterday is that developers are seemingly keen on tearing down the decaying shed. Tests are necessary for the current piles and caps to determine stability of the slab, and the bulkhead strengthened as necessary. But proposals are still in the most early stage of planning. The first step is the outreach phase – engaging in dialogue with Community Board 3, the Hester Street Collaborative, and the neighborhood at large. Kickoff session is the October 4 CB3 meeting at the Hamilton Fish Rec Center, when discussions will begin on the design process.
Until a master plan is put to paper and ground is actually broken, though, the HSC is working to install a temporary park for interim use (remember Waterfront on Wheels?). To achieve that end, a “Waterfront Community Day” is scheduled for November 3 in the northernmost lot of Pier 42, which will open the gates to the public for the first time. The goal is to solicit ideas from the community about the best way to utilize the land until the project is fully underway. The parcel will be cleaned up and safety-proofed for the occasion.