Pier 40 Partnership

In my spare time this summer, I’ve been working on something important. I’ve been part of a group of community and business leaders in lower Manhattan who are working to explore alternatives to the current proposals to redevelop Pier 40. Our group is called Pier 40 Partnership.

Pier 40 is the closest thing that lower Manhattan has to Central Park. It is 15 acres of outdoor recreation space surrounded by 1.2 million square feet of underused space that is in need of repair. This picture shows the vast amount of green space inside and on the roof of Pier 40 that is available for outdoor recreation.

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Pier 40 is owned by the Hudson River Park Trust, the organization that has given us the amazing waterfront park that runs from Battery Park to the Upper West Side. It is the greatest thing that has happened to the west side of Manhattan since I moved to the city 25 years ago.

Pier 40 was given to the Trust by the State of NY in the Hudson River Park Act which created the Hudson River Park. Pier 40 is supposed to provide much of the income required to keep up the entire park.

And so the Hudson River Park Trust has been trying for the past five years to find a way to redevelop the Pier, fix it up, and produce much needed income to maintain the park. All of this is a great thing.

But the problem is that all of the proposals that have been made to date, including the two that are on the table right now, ignore the fact that Pier 40 is the the largest and most expandable available space for active recreation in lower manhattan. The developers are rightly focused on generating a return on the investment they’ll make in fixing up the Pier. So they propose things like a Performing Arts Center that includes Cirque du Soleil. Inevitably the developers propose turning a park that is a central part of the downtown community into another South Street Seaport. And these proposals result in universal community rejection. The current proposals on the table have been rejected by the community boards, the working group appointed by the advisory board of the Trust, and many of the elected officials who represent the lower manhattan community.

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Pier 40 Partnership believes there’s a better way to accomplish all of the things the Trust needs and all of the things the community wants. It will take a combination of creative land use planning, and some private fundraising to help the Trust make the needed repairs that cannot wait any longer. If you are interested in learning more about Pier 40 Partnership and how you can help, send me an email and I’ll let you know how you can do that.