Hudson River Park
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|Hudson River Park|
Greenwich Village portion
|Location||Manhattan, New York City|
|Operated by||State of New York
City of New York
Hudson River Park Trust
Hudson River Park is a waterside park on the North River (Hudson River), and is the part of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway that extends from 59th Street south to Battery Park in the New York City borough of Manhattan. It is a joint New York State and New York City collaboration, and is a 550-acre (2.2 km2) park stretching 4.5 miles, the biggest in Manhattan after Central Park. The park arose as part of the West Side Highway replacement project in the wake of the abandoned Westway plan.
Bicycle and pedestrian paths, spanning the park north to south, open up the waterfront for recreational use. The park includes tennis and soccer fields, batting cages, children's playground, dog run, and many other features. The parkland also incorporates several rebuilt North River piers along its length, formerly used for shipping. Hudson River Park connects many other recreational sites and landmarks including Battery Park at its south end; Battery Park City; the World Trade Center and surroundings; the World Financial Center and Winter Garden; Chelsea Piers; Piers 40, 57, 63 (site of historic ships Lightship Frying Pan and Fireboat John J. Harney), and 66; and Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum; at its north end it becomes Riverside Park. It runs through the Manhattan neighborhoods of Lower Manhattan (including Battery Park City, World Trade Center, and Tribeca), Greenwich Village, Meatpacking District, Chelsea, and Midtown West (which includes Hudson Yards and Hell's Kitchen/Clinton).
What is now Hudson River Park emerged from the failed 1980s redevelopment of the West Side Highway known as the Westway, which would have laid parkland on top of an underground highway. The right-of-way would have demolished the existing Piers and replaced it with landfill. The project was abandoned in 1985. A new plan for development was announced in 1992 by then-Governor Mario Cuomo and then-Mayor David Dinkins, targeting the Jacob Javits Center, Chelsea Piers, and Pier 40 as key locations for commercial development. The 1992 memorandum also created the Hudson River Park Corporation as a government agency, constituted of members appointed by the governor and mayor. The plan was signed into law in September 1998 by Governor George Pataki, dividing ownership of the land between New York State (the southern half from Battery Park to 35th Street) and the City (the northern half to 59th Street). Both halves were leased to the joint entity now known as the Hudson River Park Trust. The plan also guaranteed that half of several locations, including Pier 40, Pier 76, and Pier 84, would be reserved for parkland.
Parts of the Hudson River Park remained without power in the months after Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. As a result, the Hudson River Park temporarily limited hours after nightfall in the park. Before Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, the park's paths alongside the river remained open until 1am ET. After Hurricane Sandy, the park worked to return to normal operating hours once they restored power to affected areas.
Recreational facilities of many kinds are located throughout Hudson River Park, catering to organized and individual sports, leisure activities, and activities for children. A defining physical feature of Hudson River Park is the 5.0-mile bike and running path that runs the park’s length, connecting northward to Riverside Park South at West 59th Street and southward to Battery Park.
Scattered throughout the park are numerous fields and courts, with Chelsea Waterside Park (at West 23rd Street and 11th Avenue) being one center of sports activity. The park contains a sports field, basketball court, a playground with water features during the summer months, and a dog run named “Best of New York” by New York Magazine in May 2005. Pier 84 at West 44th Street is also packed with activities. Free fishing with Big City Fishing is available on the pier as well as rowing, boat building, and other maritime related activities, including a water taxi stop. Also on the pier are a dog run and playground, and the casual restaurant PD O’Hurleys. Other sporting facilities include basketball courts at Canal Street and another at Harrison Street, Tennis courts south of Pier 40 between Houston and Canal Streets, and a temporary skate park at West 30th Street. The Trapeze School of New York operates on the roof of Pier 40.
The largest sporting complex in Hudson River Park is the Chelsea Piers Sports and Entertainment Complex, which holds a variety of athletic spaces. Chelsea Piers sports a batting cage, bowling lanes, playing fields, a driving range, an ice skating rink, rock climbing facilities, and gymnastics space, among other exercise and fitness related spaces. Along with these indoor recreational facilities, Chelsea Piers offers boating activities and several restaurants on premises.
In keeping with the maritime heritage of the park, Hudson River Park has opportunities for outrigger canoeing on Pier 66 at West 26th Street, rowing and sailing on Piers 40 and 66, and free kayaking on Piers 96, 66, and 40. A free kayaking attraction, run by NYC-based nonprofit organizations and volunteers, allows visitors to ride along the Hudson River while appreciating the view of downtown Manhattan. Open five days a week, including Saturdays and Sunday, free kayaking serves as an affordable activity for tourists and resident New Yorkers alike. After signing a waiver, and choosing a life vest, one can step in a kayak and enjoy a relaxing ride with friends family, or even alone. Abundant open grassy areas in the park permit non-athletic leisure activity. Sun tanning is a popular pastime in many areas. Clinton Cove (W. 55th St.), Pier 84 (W. 44th St.), 14th Street Park, and Pier 45 all present wide unobstructed green spaces for sunbathing, and are popular locations.
Pier 40, at 353 West Street, is home to the New York Knights of the American National Rugby League. It primarily serves youth and amateur sports, and also contains a commercial parking lot. According to the Hudson River Park Trust, the facility generates $6 million in operating revenue and 40% of the entire park's annual operating budget.
In November 2014, plans arose for a new park designed by Heatherwick Studio on what is now Pier 53, with estimates of the 2.3 acres (0.93 ha) park between $130 million and $160 million. Major backers include Barry Diller and Diane von Fürstenberg's joint foundation, which contributed $100 million to the project with plans to give up to $130 million. The city and state vowed to give $17 million and $18 million, respectively. The park, a partnership between Diller and von Furstenberg's foundation, the city and state, and Hudson River Park Trust, would float completely above the water. If the project is approved, construction would begin in 2015 and end in 2018 or 2019.
Per 57, at 15th Street and 11th Avenue, formerly served as a terminal for shipping and storage of cargo for the Grace Line. Between 1969 and 2003, Pier 57 housed the Hudson Pier Depot for the New York City Transit Authority. Since then, it was neglected, but plans beginning in 2009 call for an improved pier design for commercial use, dubbed the SuperPier. The developer's current estimates project a 2015 re-opening for the site.
Piers 59–62 are used as Chelsea Piers, which were originally a passenger ship terminal in the early 1900s that was used by the RMS Lusitania and was the destination of the RMS Titanic. The piers are currently used by the Chelsea Piers Sports & Entertainment Complex. After the collapse of the World Trade Towers due to the September 11 attacks, EMS triage centers were quickly relocated and consolidated at the Chelsea Piers and the Staten Island Ferry Whitehall Terminal.
Pier 63 was originally located near 23rd Street, adjacent to Chelsea Piers and Hudson River Park. It had been purchased from a used car salesman in Staten Island by John Krevey in October 1996 and delivered by a tugboat. It formerly carried railroad boxcars across the Hudson River before the advent of containerized freight or tunnels beneath the river. The land side of Pier 63 was formerly used as a freight transfer station for the Baltimore and Ohio railroad where freight was moved from the boxcars on the barges to local conveyance.
Pier 66 is located at 26th Street and is used for sailing and paddle sports.
Pier 84 is on 12th Avenue and 44th Street. It is the largest public pier in the Hudson River Park. From 1981 until 1988, it served as a concert venue from the former Schaefer Music Festival. Headline acts such as The Clash, Frank Zappa, King Crimson, and Hot Tuna performed on the pier.
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- Chelsea Piers History 101
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