Pier 42 is a new park space that opened in the summer of 2013. Paths to Pier 42 brings art, design, and educational installations created in collaboration with neighborhood residents, and a series of public events to the Lower East Side Waterfront. The project builds on neighborhood advocacy to create more accessible green, open space on the waterfront, by increasing access and creating public uses of Pier 42 while it awaits permanent transformation over the next several years.
Join us in May and June for workshops and activities with artists and designers to help imagine and realize what the site can become. In July, celebrate completed art and design projects with community members, partner organizations and artists, and a summer schedule of free public events. Enjoy the park through the end of November with family and friends, for picnics, outdoor games, or simply relaxing by the river.
Pier 42 was built on the East River waterfront in 1967 as a newsprint terminal, later importing bananas for an affiliate of Dole. It was the last operating cargo pier in Manhattan, closing in 1987 (read the New York Times article on Pier 42 here). Since then, the pier has been unused and inaccessible to residents nearby.
Between 2008-2009 the Lower East Side Waterfront Alliance engaged community members in the Lower East Side and Chinatown in order to develop a community vision for the East River waterfront and Pier 42, creating an alternate proposal to the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC)’s plan for redevelopment. The EDC’s plan, which included proposals for high-end uses for this public land, was not seen as responsive to community needs and had the potential to increase the pace of gentrification in the neighborhood.
The resulting community plan, titled “A People’s Plan for the East River Waterfront,” presented a different vision for Pier 42, one embraced by nearby community members. Shortly afterward, funding was secured to kick start the process for converting Pier 42 into public parkland, including a “community master planning” process.
Since the long-term master planning process will take several years, the LES Waterfront Alliance and its partners the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, State Senator Daniel Squadron, and the NYC Dept of Parks & Recreation, are using art and design to catalyze and sustain public engagement around the renovation of Pier 42. Summer 2013 marked the start of Paths to Pier 42, a series of temporary programs that give residents access to the Pier, increase foot traffic along corridors between the waterfront and neighborhood, serve as recommendations for the full capital renovation plan, and address the vulnerability of the waterfront due to climate change and storm surges. Click here for more on the Future of Pier 42.