Squadron, Schumer, Parks Announce Pier 42 Waterfront Park to Open for Interim Use May 4

Daniel L. Squadron

February 26, 2013

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

CB3, LES Waterfront Alliance, Hester Street Collaborative, LMCC, Squadron, Parks Plan Recreation, Community Day on Pier 42

NEW YORK -- Today, State Senator Daniel Squadron, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, and the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation announced that a section of the new waterfront park at Pier 42 on the Lower East Side will open to the public for interim recreational use on May 4, 2013, as the planning for the redevelopment of the pier into a full park proceeds.

In November 2011, a year after launching their effort to obtain funds from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation for the project, Senator Squadron and Senator Schumer announced that they secured 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 Hester Street Collaborative 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 been holding a series of outreach meetings with Community Board 3 and community leaders, residents, and local students to solicit input on design programming for the new park space.

On May 4th, the public will, for the first time, be able to visit Pier 42 as the northern section between the greenway and the waterfront opens for interim use. The space will be resurfaced ahead of the opening, picnic tables will be installed for public use, and a connection to East River Park (which is just north of Pier 42) will be created so that visitors can take advantage of the entire East River waterfront.

A community day is also planned for May 4, sponsored by the Lower East Side Waterfront Alliance and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council in partnership with Senator Squadron and the Parks Department. The community day will kick off "Paths to Pier 42," a series of art, educational, and design installations along the East River waterfront throughout the summer of 2013.

State Senator Daniel Squadron said, "In only a few short months, families will be able to enjoy a picnic on the pier or a walk along the waterfront. 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 the Parks Department and the City, Senator Schumer, CB3, Hester Street Collaborative, the Lower East Side Waterfront Alliance, and LMCC for partnering to make interim use and an incredible Pier 42 waterfront park a reality."

“Securing the funding for Pier 42 redevelopment was a home run for Lower Manhattan and all New Yorkers, and opening the Pier for interim use is the first step to completing the grand green ribbon around Downtown,”  said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “Pier 42 is finally transforming from a blighted, abandoned warehouse into a beautiful open green-space for children, families and individuals on the Lower East Side. With access to spectacular views of the East River, Pier 42 is the perfect location for this new recreational area and I am happy to have taken part in the revitalization process with my partners, Senator Daniel Squadron, Speaker Silver and NYC Parks. I look forward to visiting the Pier 42 Waterfront Park when it officially opens to the public.”

“One of the hallmarks of the Bloomberg Administration has been the citywide effort to provide New Yorkers with increased access to the waterfront,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Veronica M. White.  “We are thrilled that this spring, Pier 42 will once again spring to life for interim recreational use.  We are grateful to U.S. Senator Schumer and State Senator Squadron for their advocacy for this waterfront park, and we salute our partners in the community for their collaboration in planning the design of this emerging open space.”  

Gigi Li, Chair of Community Board 3, said, "The whole community is very excited to be able to use Pier 42 this summer while planning the future design of the park. This is one of the most beautiful views of the waterfront, and it will be a destination spot within our community for all to enjoy. We are thrilled that Senator Squadron and Senator Schumer were able to secure funding so quickly so that this unused and derelict waterfront land can be reclaimed and appreciated by all."

“We are working closely with our community partners to create access to the waterfront this summer through an initiative called Paths to Pier 42 , which will culminate in a series of temporary art and design installations and programming at the waterfront. This work will be developed through  a collaboration between community based organizations and artist/designer teams and aim to catalyze and sustain engagement around the renovation of Pier 42. The artist/designer teams will be tasked with addressing the issues of waterfront and neighborhood resiliency raised by Hurricane Sandy," said Anne Frederick, Executive Director of Hester Street Collaborative.

"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.

"Chinatown and Lower East Side residents have been at the forefront of advocating for more public space along the East River Waterfront.  We commend the Parks Department and Senator Squadron's office for recognizing the need for open community space that is accessible and free.  We look forward to continued collaboration beyond May 4th in ensuring that the waterfront can be enjoyed by all community residents," said Jason Chan, Project Coordinator for CAAAV.

"The Lower East Side Ecology Center is excited about the interim uses of Pier 42 this summer. We will be happy to see residents and visitors enjoying the use of the long neglected pier as an entry way into our East River Park and as a connection to both the neighborhood up Montgomery St and the East River Esplanade to the south.  We look forward to working with 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," said Daniel Tainow, Education Director of the Lower East Side Ecology Center.

"For Two Bridges, the project is an opportunity to highlight neighborhood ecology and history, and is a means to engage residents in an important conversation about the past, present and future of their waterfront community. Paths to Pier 42 reconnects the neighborhood to the waterfront, while creating opportunities for residents to explore the current, pressing issues in their community, including development pressure, social, economic and environmental justice,  and climate change," said Kerri Culhane, Associate Director of Two Bridges Neighborhood Council.