Volume 19 • Issue 6 | June 23-29, 2006

Limited Tribeca Hudson Park work begins

Downtown Express photo by Jefferson Siegel
A jogger passes by the Tribeca section of the Hudson River Park. The governor and mayor are expected to attend a groundbreaking ceremony July 6.

By David Spett

About five years ago, Queens resident Paul Forro, now 71, discovered Hudson River Park. His wife had just died, and he started walking in the park to pass the time

Two or three times a week, Forro takes the subway to Battery Park City and walks north. Typically, he said, he walks to 23rd St. and takes the bus across town.

“If I’m feeling ambitious, sometimes I walk to 42nd St.,” he said. “I do it in the wintertime, too.”

Forro notices the construction in the park’s Tribeca section and looks forward to its completion. His only gripe is that his favorite hot dog stand in the park has closed.

The official groundbreaking on the Tribeca section – which extends from Chambers St. to Clarkson St. – will occur Thursday, July 6. Actual construction to the site began late in 2005 but had to stop because the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development had not yet approved funding. Limited construction resumed again early in June, after HUD’s approval.

Christopher Martin, Hudson River Park Trust’s spokesperson, said the $70-million project on the Tribeca section, officially called Segment 3, will take about three years.

Governor George Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg will attend the official groundbreaking at N. Moore St. at 2 p.m. Thursday.

As part of the construction, decks on the aging Piers 25 and 26 will be completely remade and extended, and Pier 25 will become the longest pier in Hudson River Park. The piers will contain gardens, a volleyball court, miniature golf course and recreation space made of field turf. The turf will be the same as the turf on Pier 40, and no programming will be scheduled for the field, allowing anyone to use it at any time.

“People can actually throw a Frisbee, kick a ball around, etc.,” Martin said.

While the pier decks will be rebuilt will with new piles, Martin said the park is required to leave the wooden piles in place. The Hudson River near Tribeca is an estuary, and fish use the area for breeding. Construction workers will drive new cement piles to support the piers. Martin said the pier decks will be removed and pile driving will begin within the next month.

The walkway along the Hudson River will be repaved, with grass and trees added between it and West St. The path for pedestrians will look similar to the walkway north of the Tribeca section, from Clarkson St. to Horatio St.

A new basketball court, skate park, dog run, dance floor and restaurant will be built, and new tennis courts have already been constructed.

A significant amount of equipment can be observed in the park, but there has been only limited work appears on the piers and the walkway. The $70 million for the project was provided by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, or L.M.D.C., a state-city corporation that disburses federal funding with the approval of HUD. Martin said Rep. Jerrold Nadler was integral in securing $5 million for the project.

Architecture firms working on the project are Mathews Nielsen, Sasaki Associates and Weiss and Yoes.

Some Tribeca residents, including Hudson River Park Trust’s board of directors member Julie Nadel, have expressed concern that Pier 25 may lose its community feel when it is rebuilt.

The work that Bob Townley, executive director of Manhattan Youth, completed on Pier 25 gave it a lot of charm, Nadel said.
“We all got used to what that pier was,” she said. “We’ll have to adapt, but I’m sure it will be fine.”

Martin also expressed optimism about the project.

“This is a major effort to rebuild the Downtown area after 9/11,” he said. “It will add an amenity for the plethora of families that are there now. It will be a destination for people all over the city.”

Despite the construction, Manhattan Youth’s programs from Pier 25, including the art shack and snack bar, are still open. They have moved just north of Chambers St. along Hudson River Park’s walkway.


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