Pier 57

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Coordinates: 40°44′36″N 74°00′33″W / 40.743396°N 74.009196°W / 40.743396; -74.009196

Pier 57
Location Corner of 15th Street and Eleventh Avenue (West Side Highway), New York, NY 10011
Built 1952
Architect Emil Praeger
Governing body Hudson River Park Trust
NRHP Reference # 04000821
Added to NRHP August 11, 2004

Pier 57 is a long pier located in the Hudson River on the west side of the borough of Manhattan in New York City. Built in 1952, it sits at the end of West 15th Street on Eleventh Avenue, just south of the Chelsea Piers sports complex.


The pier is notable for being underpinned by 3 separate submerged buoyant concrete caissons, which are spanned by long steel girders supporting the building above. Designer Emil Praeger had created similar structures as part of the American military effort in World War II, including temporary breakwaters that were used as part of the D-Day invasion. The caissons were constructed in diked enclosures drained of water near Haverstraw, New York and after completion were floated down the Hudson to the site.[1] Dubbed "The World's Most Modern Pier", it was hailed as an innovative structure, being fireproof, extremely durable and immune to many of the problems that had historically plagued wooden waterfront construction. During construction, a gasoline fire at the site killed 2 workers and injured a third. Final construction costs totaled $12 million.


From its opening in 1954, the pier served as a terminal for shipping and storage of cargo for the Grace Line, replacing a prior wooden structure that had burned to the waterline in 1947 in a spectacular fire that lasted 2 days.[2] From the time of the company's sale of its shipping business in 1969 until 2003, Pier 57 housed the Hudson Pier Depot for the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA).

About one year after the NYCTA vacated the pier, Pier 57 was temporarily utilized as a detention center during the 2004 Republican National Convention, when approximately 1,200 anti-RNC protesters were arrested and sent to a makeshift detention/processing center at Pier 57. Over 1,800 were arrested during the entire event, giving rise to the nickname "Guantanamo on the Hudson" for the temporary facility. Medical activists reportedly treated many people held at Pier 57 for chemical burns, rashes, and infections that resulted from direct, prolonged exposure to the motor oil, asbestos, and other contaminants from its days as a bus garage.[3][4]

Since 2004, the pier has been completely disused. Past proposals for re-use have included a 2004 competitive process pitting an extension of the nearby Chelsea Piers sports complex against "Leonardo at Pier 57", an Italian cultural center that was to be operated by Cipriani S.A..[5][6] However, an investigation by the DA's office sparked by an anonymous tip regarding financial irregularities caused the Cipriani team to back out and scuttled the process.[7]

In 2009, the Hudson River Park Trust selected Youngwoo & Associates to redevelop the site.[8][9] The current concept, dubbed the SuperPier after a nickname given to the structure in a 1952 Popular Mechanics article includes a retail shopping environment based on salvaged steel shipping containers and re-use of the roof and concrete-encased basement space below the waterline, as well as incubator office rental spaces for start-up companies. The office spaces will be developed and leased by RXR Realty. [10] The developer's current estimates project a spring 2017 re-opening for the site.[11]

In 2015, it was officially announced that a new multi-use food market would be opened in the space. Headed by Anthony Bourdain, the market would include more than 100,000 square feet of vendors, restaurants and a rooftop beer garden. [12]


External links[edit]