- In Pictures
- Meat Market
- Union Square
BY ALINE REYNOLDS | As the crumbling East River waterfront continues to receive a makeover, one particular portion is in for a significant overhaul thanks to a government grant approved last month.
The city’s wish to revamp Pier 42, between Gouverneur and Jackson Sts., didn’t seem plausible in 2010, when officials announced that the funds to launch the project simply weren’t available. But last month, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation approved $14 million for the pier’s redevelopment.
“The good news is that’s enough to really get started in a big way,” said state Senator Daniel Squadron, who along with U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer helped to secure this financial sum. “The bad news is, we’ve got to get started and make it so great that we can pull in the rest of the dollars we need to do a full build-out of Pier 42.”
The project will entail demolishing an abandoned pier shed to pave way for a community-friendly waterfront amenity, the specifics of which have yet to be determined, said Lawrence Mauro, program manager of the Parks Department’s Lower Manhattan projects. Mauro, along with Bill Castro, the Manhattan borough Parks commissioner, and project manager Douglas Nash, appeared before Community Board 3 last Wed., Feb. 22 to give an overview of the scope of the project. In the spring, the Parks Department will hire a design consultant to brainstorm ideas with the community and help see the plans through to fruition.
“This pier shed sits right at the fulcrum of a turn in the river that basically blocks the entire view south,” Mauro said. “This really will have a transformative effect on connecting each one of these different projects to all come together here,” he said of the disconnected waterfront esplanades along the Lower East Side.
A main goal of the Pier 42 project, Mauro explained, is to provide better access to the waterfront at Montgomery St. — something several neighborhood residents in attendance complained there wasn’t enough of.
More generally, the residents stressed the need for continued community input at the process moves forward.
“It won’t work unless everybody really participates,” said Susan Stetzer, district manager of C.B. 3.
Removing the old pier shed and thereby enhancing visibility of the waterfront is an “exciting idea,” Stetzer added. “I know people want to propose programming, which I think is another great idea,” she said. “Hiring and creating jobs for our community is very important.”
While most community members weren’t set on a specific plan, some already were. Aixa Torres, the Smith Houses Resident Association president, knew what she was hoping for.
“I want an Olympic-sized pool,” Torres declared, saying it was an amenity the Lower East Side is lacking. “I’m diabetic — need to go to a pool, and I haven’t been going.”
The project is slated for completion in 2016, but Parks officials said they are shooting for an even earlier completion date.
“Everyone is promising to help us drive this at a quicker pace than our normal, realistic city procurement and design time frame,” Mauro said.
Parks will appear again before C.B. 3 in April to solicit further feedback on the plan.