Squadron, Parks, Community Groups Open Pier 42 Waterfront Park for Interim Use

LES Waterfront Alliance, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, CB3, Squadron, Parks Kick Off Paths to Pier 42 Installation with Waterfront Community Day

Squadron, Schumer Secured Funds for Redevelopment of Pier; New Park Will Create Continuous Green Ribbon Around Lower Manhattan

NEW YORK -- Today, State Senator Daniel Squadron, Manhattan Borough Parks Commissioner William Castro, the Lower East Side Waterfront Alliance, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and Community Board 3 opened part of the new waterfront park at Pier 42 on the Lower East Side for interim recreational use with a Waterfront Community Day and the launch of Paths to Pier 42, a series of art, educational, and design installations along the East River waterfront throughout the summer of 2013.

Today's opening makes a section of the pier accessible to the public, as planning for the redevelopment of the pier into a full waterfront park proceeds. The public, for the first time, is now able to visit Pier 42, with the northern section between the greenway and the waterfront open for interim use. The space has been partially resurfaced and picnic tables have been installed for public use so that visitors can take advantage of the East River waterfront.

In November 2011, Senator Squadron and U.S. Senator Charles Schumer announced that they secured Lower Manhattan Development Corporation funding for the redevelopment of Pier 42, which currently houses an abandoned warehouse and a parking lot. This will create a continuous green ribbon around Lower Manhattan, connecting the East and West Sides and providing the Lower East Side and Chinatown communities with much-needed open space.

Senator Squadron and the Parks Department have been working with Community Board 3 and the Lower East Side Waterfront Alliance to plan interim recreational use of the pier as the community planning process for permanent design continues. The Parks Department and its design consultant, Mathews Nielsen landscape architects, have held a series of outreach meetings with Community Board 3 and community leaders, residents, and local students to solicit input on permanent design programming for the new park space. They will be presenting master plan alternatives for the new park to the CB3 Parks Committee at a public meeting on Thursday, May 9 at 6:30PM at 30 Delancey Street.

The Community Day held today at Pier 42 is part of the New Museum's Idea City Festival and features activities centered on community, art, and ecology along the East River waterfront. It is the public’s introduction to the Paths to Pier 42 project, which aims to increase access to and create temporary public uses of the waterfront from the Brooklyn Bridge to East River Park while the Pier 42 permanent design process is underway. Today’s event encourages visitors to explore the site, and initiates a community design process that will inform a schedule of summer programming and art and design installations that will officially launch on July 20.  Learn more at http://pathstopier42.com.

The Lower East Side Waterfront Alliance includes CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities, Good Old Lower East Side, Hester Street Collaborative, Lower East Side Ecology Center, and Two Bridges Neighborhood Council. Leroy Street Studio and dlandstudio have been working with the Waterfront Alliance on temporary overall site improvements.

"For years, Pier 42 sat nearly abandoned, blocking access to the waterfront in a community that needed it,” said Senator Daniel Squadron. “Now, families can finally enjoy a picnic on the pier or a walk along the waterfront. And the innovative Paths to Pier 42 installation will make our waterfront even more accessible for all who visit. This interim recreational use on Pier 42 is a big step forward as we build the real, world-class waterfront park for which we've long fought and complete a Harbor Park -- a central park for the center of our city. And this is only the beginning. Our community planning process will continue so that residents can make their voices heard on Pier 42's final design. Thank you to Senator Schumer, the Parks Department, our colleagues in government, CB3, LMCC, and the Lower East Side Waterfront Alliance for making today possible."

“For too many years the warehouse and parking lot on Pier 42 was a bulky dam holding back a huge reservoir of local residents seeking to walk, run, play and gaze along this magnificent shoreline,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “Today marks the kick-off for a new beginning at the once-blighted Pier 42 – one that will create a ribbon of green around the tip of Manhattan – and I am pleased we broke the logjam and delivered for this terrific project. Thank to you Senator Squadron, Speaker Silver, the LMDC and NYC Parks for their hard work in making sure that at least a portion of the pier is open to the public before the summer season.”

“As we work to develop Pier 42 into New York City’s newest waterfront park, we are pleased to open the site for interim use,” said Manhattan Parks Commissioner William Castro.  “Saturday’s Community Day is a great opportunity for New Yorkers to visit Pier 42 and enjoy activities along the East River waterfront.”

Rep. Nydia M. Velazquez said, “Opening this section of Pier 42 will mean additional recreational options for NYC residents and visitors alike. I’m pleased to see this valuable community resource come on line and look forward to its further redevelopment.”   

"I am thrilled that our community will have access to new, public open space on Pier 42 and I look forward to expanding this valuable waterfront park,” said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. “Today’s opening marks a critical milestone in realizing our vision of a seamless green space along the water connecting the east and west sides of Lower Manhattan. By opening access to the East River, we are providing much-needed open space for our Chinatown and Lower East Side neighbors. I want to thank Senator Schumer and Senator Squadron for their efforts in helping to open Pier 42 to the public."

"Pier 42 is a shining example of how long-underutilized spaces can be repurposed for the public good,” said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. “I commend State Senator Daniel Squadron and the partnering community organizations for their strong commitment to this project. It’s another positive step in revitalizing the East River waterfront and will bring much needed open space to this community."

“I commend the tireless efforts of all parties—including State Senator Squadron, Community Board 3 and the Lower East Side Waterfront Alliance—who have united to ensure that our community will have a substantial and flourishing new open space in time for the late spring and summer months,” said Councilwoman Rosie Mendez. “I am excited that Pier 42 in now available for community enjoyment while plans for the full-scale development of a pioneering waterfront park continue to move forward.” 

“Pier 42 is a great example of community and elected officials working together to achieve community priorities,” said Community Board 3 Chair Gigi Li. “CB 3 heard from the community that access and use of Pier 42 was a priority.  CB 3 in turn listed this as the number 1 capital budget priority for the community.  Senator Squadron worked very closely with the Board and other elected officials to make this funding happen. This is real participatory budgeting. We are especially appreciative of Senator Squadron for working so closely with the CB and that Senator Schumer and Congresswoman Velazquez brought in federal money for our waterfront.”

“On Saturday we will kick off the pilot year of Paths to Pier 42. Paths to Pier 42 will bring together community members, activists, artists and designers to collaborate on a pop-up park at Pier 42,” said Anne Frederick, Executive Director of Hester Street Collaborative. “Art and design installations, programming and events will help to activate the waterfront and create access for local residents.

“Pier 42, created with direct input from neighborhood residents, is a valuable community resource that will serve as a living laboratory for Two Bridges’ place-based science education and design curriculum,” said Christine Keefe, PhD, ecologist, educator and Director of Community Programs for Two Bridges Neighborhood Council. “Through community-centered waterfront programs like Paths to Pier 42, we hope to engage neighborhood residents in an essential conversation about the environmental and social issues that affect them directly."

“As the volunteer stewardship and environmental education organization for East River Park, the Lower East Side Ecology Center is excited to open Pier 42 for residents' involvement in the creation of new public space along the East River,” said Daniel Tainow, Education Director at the Lower East Side Ecology Center. “We look forward to working with the artists, designers and residents to create exhibits that will further our environmental education and stewardship efforts as well as the programs of our partners in the Lower East Side Waterfront Alliance, while at the same time promoting the inclusion of residents in the long term planning being run by Community Board 3 and the Parks Department.

“As a long-time Chinatown resident, I've never been asked how I would like to see community space be used before I came to CAAAV.  After years of organizing for open and public space, I am happy to be here with everyone today enjoying the space and look forward to our continued work together,” said Fu Ko Poon, member of CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities.

"LMCC is proud to be a part of the Lower East Side Waterfront Alliance as this series of temporary art, educational, and design installations and public events unfolds along the East River Waterfront. In context of the last 40 years that LMCC has remained committed to advancing artist careers, providing audiences with transformational experiences and creating partnerships within communities, Paths to Pier 42 is an exemplary project as well as a singular opportunity for the City to envision future uses of the waterfront," said Sam Miller, President of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.