The Hudson River Park's offer will be in full bloom this year with the opening of not only the much anticipated Little Island, but also a new 5.6-acre recreational space atop Pier 76, located at West 38th Street and 12th Avenue.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that New York State has begun Phase 1 of Pier 76's transformation—a plan more than two decades stalled—which will include the partial demolition of the former 245,000-square-foot NYPD impound parking facility currently on site, and the creation of an interim public recreation space that includes a walking area and outdoor flexible space, as well as river-facing benches. The impound facility's steel skeleton will be temporarily left intact to provide the new park with shade.
The $20 million project also includes environmental abatement, repaving, and installation of railings and lighting; work will be completed on an expedited schedule to allow for an ambitious opening date of June 1.
"COVID highlighted the importance of outdoor recreational spaces for New Yorkers, and it is critical that we expand open space as we continue to build back better," Governor Cuomo said in a statement. "After more than 20 years of inaction, the transformation of Pier 76 will convert a blight on Manhattan's western shore into a crown jewel for the Hudson River Park and create a beloved urban recreational space that will be enjoyed by all for generations to come."
Pier 76 will offer much-welcomed open space to one of Manhattan's fastest-growing and most touristed quarters. According to U.S. Census figures, Manhattan Community Districts 4 and 5, which includes Chelsea, Clinton and the adjoining Midtown Business District, has increased by 27 percent since 2000 to more than 167,000 residents.
Planning for the long-term use of Pier 76 will be done by the Hudson River Park Trust, a joint city-state partnership that is expected to lease the pier from State Parks. The trust currently manages 550-acre Hudson River Park under long-term property leases with New York City or the state.
Pier 76 is one of more than $1 billion worth of recreational projects recently completed or currently underway along the Hudson River, including Pier 26, a 2.5-acre destination with a lawn, sports court and a Tide Deck that opened in September 2020; Little Island, a 2.4-acre park and performance venue perched atop a series of undulating pots that emerge from the river (slated to open next month); Pier 57, a 633,000-square-foot mixed-use development anchored by Google that will generate three acres of open public space; Pier 97, a playground, sunset plaza, and promenade; and finally, a rehauled Chelsea Waterside Park.
Pier 76 also represents an important piece of Governor Cuomo’s proposal to rehaul Midtown West, which includes an extension of the High Line, a new mixed-use commercial center across from an expanded Javits Center (now underway), a new Port Authority Bus Terminal, and a revamped Penn Station under his sweeping Empire Station Complex Plan.