Volume 23, Number 9 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | July 9 - 15, 2010
Downtown Express photo by John Bayles
Pier 25 (at bottom) is nearing completion, while Pier 26 (on top) languishes due to a lack of funds.
Pier 25 on schedule, 26 in need of funds
BY Michael Mandelkern
After five years of construction, Pier 25 and its surrounding area are slated to open to the public in October while the future of its neighbor, Pier 26, remains uncertain.
The new Pier 25 will keep some its original attractions, including mini-golf and beach volleyball, with the addition of a playground, water taxi station and turf field for active and recreational play.
Pier 25 is “going to look like other parts of Hudson River Park,” said David Katz, vice president of marketing and events for the Hudson River Park Trust.
The wooden foundation of Pier 25 was decomposing and the structure was becoming a borderline safety hazard.
“[Pier 25] had to be rebuilt — this is definitely an upgrade,” said Katz. “It’s going to be stable.” According to him Pier 25 is at “the tail end” of construction.
Although it will shed its shoddy-yet-homely look for a modernized appearance, Katz anticipates that the pier will remain a fixture in the community.
“The charm comes from the people that are there, not the inanimate objects. Maybe they’ll bring back those old feelings,” he said.
There will be a basketball court and skate park in the Tribeca Upland, a recreational and active play area situated at the piers' bulkheads.
The H.R.P.T. covers infrastructure costs, such as electricity and building, and will hold a public bidding process for operational control of Pier 25 sometime this summer with a formal announcement on the H.R.P.T.’s website.
The operator sets prices for concessions and decides what food to serve, makes capital improvements, determines admission prices for activities, sets opening and closing hours and decides when large groups in the community have access to its facilities.
“It’s a give and take process. It still reflects on the Trust, so we’ll be watching more of what they are doing,” said Katz.
Once the bidding process begins, it takes roughly one month for the H.R.P.T. to select an operator.
Bob Townley, executive director of the Manhattan Youth Downtown Community Center, operated Pier 25 from 1994 until it went under construction in 2005. At the time, Manhattan Youth had complete control of Pier 25 but Katz insisted that the new operator would not “run wild,” solidifying the H.R.P.T.’s role in its development.
As for Pier 26, funding seems to be the hold up. There isn’t enough money yet to open the planned estuarium, a hands-on ecology wet lab, despite a $5 million grant the H.R.P.T. received solely for the project.
“We had hoped to have more money before times got so tough, but everyone’s struggling so we’re grateful for what we can get,” said Noreen Doyle, executive vice president of the H.R.P.T.
There is currently $6 million available, equally allocated from the city and state, to build a boathouse and café on Pier 26. However, there is no set date for completion because the H.R.P.T. is still assessing its finances for the project.
While the Tribeca Upland at Pier 25, which will include the skate park and basketball court, will be ready in the fall, the dog run and surrounding area for Pier 26 may still be under construction at year’s end. If there is leftover funding from the $6 million towards Pier 26, it will be diverted into the Tribeca Upland area.