Volume 80, Number 24 | November 11 - 17, 2010
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Rebirth of a pier
The first snowflakes fell upon the city on Monday and with them came an instant realization that summer is long gone. But at the end of North Moore St. in Tribeca, there exists a promise of the next heat wave and the fun that will come along with it.
The reopening of Pier 25 should give everyone in the community something to look forward to, a beacon of what lies around the corner after the city thaws from another winter.
Not to say we shouldn’t take advantage of every sunny day from now until then and venture to the end of the new pier for a tranquil moment of serenity, or head over to play some mini golf (you can grip a putter quite well in mittens, by the way). On the contrary, the pier is open and hot dogs will once again be devoured, even in the cold. But the fruit of the Hudson River Park Trust’s labor will become most evident when the temperatures rise.
The pier boasts a host of amenities, like the new mini-golf course that is actually 18 holes, three stellar beach volleyball courts, an indoor snack bar and a playground for the little ones, complete with a climbing wall. There is also a new skate park, as well as a turf athletic field, the latter which is something the area desperately needed. All of the features make it clear that the Trust did its homework and reached out to the community to see what people wanted the pier to encompass. And the new upland area, when complete, will be a perfect spot for the Trust’s summer concerts and films.
There are plenty of people to thank for this new waterfront jewel. Funding for the $40 million project came from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and the Friends of Hudson River Park, among others. And it should be noted that in the middle of a recession, which officially began in 2007, the Trust never gave up and pushed forward with its plan to create a truly special experience for kids, adults and seniors alike.
The Trust also did its due diligence as it pertains to the operator of the pier. The Trust did not go the way of Yankee Stadium, replacing a relic of the past with something totally foreign (read: sushi at a baseball game?). No, the Trust managed to find a way to bring a sense of continuity to the project by awarding the contract to Manhattan Youth, the same organization that ran the pier before it was demolished and that provided generations of community members with a trove of precious memories. The end result manages to connect the past with the present and future. Now Manhattan Youth will have the opportunity to provide an entirely new generation with the same.
As it stands, Manhattan Youth will be running the mini golf, the beach volleyball and the concession stand. (The group’s director, Bob Townley, has assured us the hot dogs will not be replaced with sushi.) But moving forward, we hope Manhattan Youth’s presence on the pier can be expanded. Like the pier itself, which is more than just a place to play by the Hudson River, Manhattan Youth is a community presence that is more than just a youth organization.
It is clearly a new Pier 25. For instance, the new mini-golf course could be considered the Shinnecock Hills of the putt-putt world. But by having Manhattan Youth back on the pier, the Trust has re-established a rhythm within the Lower Manhattan community.