Volume 21, Number 9 | THE NEWSPAPER OF LOWER MANHATTAN | July 11 - 17, 2008

Downtown Express photos by Lorenzo Ciniglio

Two sculptures by Mark Gibian, above, were brought into the Hudson River Park’s Tribeca section last month. Part of the section may open by July 23.

Section of Tribeca’s park section to open this month

Bruce Springsteen was singing “these are better days” on the radio recently as contractors were putting some of the final touches on part of the Hudson River Park. The first part of the park’s Tribeca section is almost done and could open in two weeks.

The Tribeca piers closed three years ago and are still at least two years away from reopening, but just to the north, the area between Laight St. and Pier 40 is almost done.

The opening ceremony could be as soon as July 23, said Chris Martin, spokesperson for the Hudson River Park Trust, the state-city public authority building the riverside park.

Martin said the most “intriguing and interesting” part of this section is the sloping nature walk, with its flowers, plants and trees common to the Hudson Valley. He said you have to go back centuries to when the Dutch ruled to find a time when the city had similar green space.

The section will also feature two galvanized steel sculptures by Mark Gibian, an artist based in Williamsburg who also has work on display in the City Hall subway station. One of the park sculptures is a love seat. The other is a curvy piece inspired by a skeletal fish, an almost ladder-like structure. Gibian acknowledged his “son would probably try to climb on it,” but said he hoped park visitors will restrain themselves.

He said he has discussed putting wire on it with the Trust but he hopes that won’t be necessary.

Martin said “certainly we’ll not allow people to climb on it and we’ll take whatever precautions we need to take.”

The pieces arrived last month, about seven years after Gibian was first contacted to design work for the section.

“I didn’t think it was going to happen,” he said.

The five mile long park has had many starts and stops along the way. In 2005, the Trust closed Piers 25 and 26 in Tribeca for what it thought would be three years that it would take to demolish and rebuild two stronger piers. But the $70 million of financing from the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. took longer to get, and by the time the money came through the section’s costs had risen. This year’s state budget had $21 million for the park, which freed up a matching allocation from the city.

The Trust now believes it has enough to complete most of the Tribeca and Chelsea sections of the park but the openings have been pushed back to 2010.

-- Josh Rogers




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