Last summer of discontent on Pier 26 as Wils apologizes

The band fun. performed on Pier 26 July 22.   Downtown Express photo by Cynthia Magnus

The band fun. performed on Pier 26 July 22. Downtown Express photo by Cynthia Magnus

BY JOSH ROGERS | Hudson River Park Trust president and C.E.O. Madelyn Wils said the Pier 26 summer concert series will not be back next summer, and apologized to her Tribeca neighbors who had complained about the noise.

“We are unhappy that the community is so divided, therefore the series will not return to this location,” Wils wrote in an Aug. 2 letter to residents who objected to the series. “What was meant to be a positive experience has ended up disturbing many of our neighbors, and we apologize for that and ask for your patience and understanding during the remaining four concerts.”

She said tickets have already been sold for these concerts, which cannot be canceled due to contractual obligations with the concerts’ producer, The Bowery Presents. The last concert on the pier near North Moore St. will be Sept. 7.

Many residents of nearby Independence Plaza North, which faces the pier and Route 9A, had complained about the noise at a Community Board 1 meeting last month. The Trust has held many concerts in the park over the years, but I.P.N. is different than most of the residences that face the park because the buildings are high rises. The Trust has hired an acoustics expert to help plan next year’s concerts at a different location.

Wils, also wrote: “While our staff has heard from many people including Tribeca residents who are enjoying the experience of listening to this caliber of music from the beautiful Pier 26 setting, we are unhappy that the community is so divided….”

THE FULL TEXT OF MADELYN WILS’ AUG. 2 LETTER TO RESIDENTS:
On behalf of the Hudson River Park Trust, I am reaching out to update you on the latest developments regarding the Summer Concert Series at Pier 26.

First, we have heard your concerns and have determined that we will not schedule this concert series on Pier 26 again next summer. For many years, HRPT has produced successful concerts with amplified sound on other park piers—namely Pier 54 and Pier 84. Based on our positive experiences there, we entered into as a pilot program, a one-season partnership with The Bowery Presents. We viewed the concert series as a way to enliven and bring a quality music series to an unfinished pier. We did not realize that sound from Pier 26 with this speaker configuration would reverberate in surrounding buildings to the degree that has been reported by many of our neighbors.

While our staff has heard from many people including Tribeca residents who are enjoying the experience of listening to this caliber of music from the beautiful Pier 26 setting, we are unhappy that the community is so divided, therefore the series will not return to this location.

Many of you already know from conversations with me and other members of our senior staff that our contract with The Bowery Presents extends for the rest of the season, and tickets have already been sold for another four concerts. While their contract allowed them to produce a fifth additional concert, we received their commitment this week that they will relinquish their right to do so. Accordingly, the last concert date is September 7th.

We have hired a highly regarded acoustic consultant which is working with us, The Bowery Presents and the NYC Department of Environmental Protection to propose and develop mitigation. Sound levels at recent concerts have been reduced significantly as well.

What was meant to be a positive experience has ended up disturbing many of our neighbors, and we apologize for that and ask for your patience and understanding during the remaining four concerts. Moving forward, our goal is to bring unique and broad-ranging programming that serves Tribeca residents, as well as others in New York City. Your feedback is essential to ensuring we are serving the community well, and we look forward to hearing from you about what we do well, and more importantly, what we can do better.

We hope to see you at our other free cultural offerings—including our RiverFlicks, Big City Fishing, MoonDance, Summer of Fitness, and River Tots programs, among others.

As always, please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns at 311, info@hudsonriverpark.org, or (212) 627-2020.

Sincerely,

Madelyn Wils
President and CEO, Hudson River Park Trust

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