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Thread: Pier 40 - Hudson River Park

  1. #406


    Downtown Express

    Support for Pier 40’s latest idea, but event space makes waves

    By Lincoln Anderson

    The Pier 40 Working Group got its first glimpse of the new proposal for Pier 40 last Wednesday morning.

    After its board meeting at the end of March, the Hudson River Park Trust told the Pier 40 Partnership and Urban Dove/CampGroup to merge their separate redevelopment plans for the pier, and gave them 90 days to produce a final design. What was shown last Wednesday is the result.

    The latest proposal includes three public high schools to be located on the W. Houston St. pier’s northern side. In addition, there would be 75,000 square feet of as-yet-unspecified retail space on the ground floor on the pier’s southern side. The plan also calls for a 50,000-square-foot event space on the ground floor at the pier’s southwest corner. Six hundred thousand square feet of the 15-acre pier would be devoted to public open space and athletic fields. The latest scheme also includes 2,400 parking spots for cars, which would be squeezed into a smaller space than the parking that is currently on the pier by using parking stackers.

    Under the plan, the high schools, to be built by the School Construction Authority, would be on two floors and would each be 50,000 square feet with 500 students apiece. Each would have a separate entrance and central stairway core.

    On the roof above the schools would be eight gyms, which would service the schools and also be available for public use. Urban Dove, not S.C.A., would fund construction of the gyms, which would also be used by Urban Dove’s after-school basketball programs.

    There would be two swimming pools, one indoors and one outdoors.
    Chris McGinnis, a Pier 40 Partnership member, said he believed the meeting went well.

    “I think I felt that people understood that we’re trying hard to come up with a reasonable solution,” he said. “It felt like this was a good start — it wasn’t perfect by any means.”

    One element that didn’t go over well, though, was the presence of a marina in the plan. Due to the negative feedback, it was decided to drop the marina.

    A marina is “not critical” to the plan’s success, financial or otherwise, McGinnis said, adding marinas also have associated costs.

    Arthur Schwartz, the Working Group’s chairperson, also was pleased with the plan and the presentation, noting there was applause afterwards.
    “I was very happy with what I saw,” he said. “I think we’re a good amount of the way there. I would say the number one reaction in my mind is still ‘We beat Related! We beat Related!’ And number two is that what we’re getting is pretty much in line with what we wanted all along.”

    At the end of March, the Trust’s chairperson, Diana Taylor, announced The Related Companies’ proposed entertainment center for the pier, featuring two Cirque du Soleil theaters and projected to attract more than 2 million annual visitors, was out of the running because its financials couldn’t work within the 30-year lease mandated by the Hudson River Park Act.

    However, Schwartz added that concerns were also raised at the meeting, such as about the event space, “whether it would create additional car traffic across the bike path.” As for the marina, Schwartz said the community has never supported one for the south side of Pier 40, feeling it would block the pier’s best view.

    Bob Townley, executive director of Manhattan Youth, a nonprofit group that runs children’s sports programs and a summer camp, was among those at the meeting who voiced questions about the plan. Speaking afterward, Townley stressed that he’s not panning the whole plan by any means.

    “I think it has some real pluses,” he said. “Compared to the Related plan, this plan looks great.”

    Yet, Townley added that it’s not clear how the schools, the local Little Leagues and soccer league and programs like Manhattan Youth will all be able to share the pier’s field space. Townley also said he’d like to see more community space included in the plan, given that municipal bonds and other public monies will fund the pier’s redevelopment and maintenance. Finally, he said he has worries connected with the event space, given that, under the proposed design, a road will actually extend onto the pier to drop revelers off right at the event space. The road will also pass by the retail stores, he noted.

    “I’m not against the event space,” Townley said. “I think they need it to make it happen. But I definitely don’t like the road on the pier. I’m curious to see what people in the Village say. I said, ‘Put up railroad crossings [where the bike path and road onto the pier intersect],’” he added. “If it saves one person’s life, it’s worth it.”

    As for community space, Schwartz noted there has been discussion of using one of the gyms as a drop-in center for the gay and lesbian youth who hang out on the Christopher St. Pier.

    In what one member of the development team later called “a major emotional SNAFU,” a dog run included in the plan’s previous versions was inadvertently left out of the design presented last week.

    Regarding when the Trust’s board will vote on the plan, Schwartz predicted it won’t be at its scheduled meeting at the end of this month, unless it’s as a conditional designation. He said his hope is that C.B. 2 would first have the chance to hold a large public forum on the plan in September, after which the Trust would then vote at the end of that month.

    Chris Martin, the Trust’s spokesperson, said, “I’m not sure if there’s going to be a vote this month.”

    The next public presentation of the new Pier 40 plan will be at C.B. 2’s Waterfront Committee meeting on Wed., July 16, at 7:30 p.m., at the Tony Dapolito Recreation Center, 3 Clarkson St., at Seventh Ave. South, third floor.

  2. #407
    Banned Member
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    Dec 2002
    Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY


    I'm encouraged by the commitment to maintain the parking garage. I've always thought all along that we need as many cars as possible crossing into an urban park to underscore the urban edge of danger environment. This seems especially exciting with the proposal of three new schools. It will afford these HRP students equal opportunies to be hit by vehicle trafffic, just like the poor kids in the Bronx.

  3. #408



    Developers Propose Turning Pier 40 Into Recreation Complex

    July 22, 2008

    A team of developers has unveiled a new plan to develop Manhattan's Pier 40 into a massive recreation center.

    According to the New York Post, the $430 million proposal calls for athletic fields, rooftop gyms, swimming pools, three public high schools, and a hall for parties and other events.

    The plan was delivered to the Hudson Park Trust last week with suggestions from a community group that opposed the original plan for the pier – a performing arts center, including an area for Cirque du Soleil.

    The proposal would keep two large soccer fields at the center of the 14-acre complex, something that had concerned community groups that have used the fields for soccer and baseball tournaments.

    The proposal still faces months of questions, and, if approved, would take another 12 to 18 months to get started.

  4. #409
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown



    'BANK' JOB: A team of developers recently presented
    this new rendering of the Pier 40 project, sans
    Cirque du Soleil, to the Hudson River Park Trust.

    July 22, 2008

    Vegas on the Hudson has given way to the Rec Center on the River.

    With Cirque du Soleil out of the picture at Pier 40, a team of developers has unveiled a $430 million proposal to build athletic fields, rooftop gyms, swimming pools, three public high schools and a hall for corporate parties and other events on top of the massive pier.

    A key feature of the plan is the preservation of two large soccer fields at the center of the 14-acre complex - "the hole in the doughnut," as architects call it - where the fields are shielded from harbor winds by a two-story structure that rings the facility.

    The preservation of the fields was a primary concern of community groups that have hosted soccer and baseball leagues there the last four years.

    "This is a terrific structure. Our goal has been to save what's terrific and change what's not terrific," said architect Richard Dattner.

    The revised plan, delivered to the Hudson Park Trust last week, was developed with input from the Pier 40 Partnership, a community group that opposed a $625 million plan for a performing-arts center, derisively dubbed "Vegas on the Hudson," that was to include Cirque du Soleil.

    The new proposal, delivered to the Hudson River Park Trust last week, must now stand up to months of scrutiny, including questions about the group's ability to pay for it.

    Park officials have been struggling to come up with a development plan for the pier, one of two in the park designated by state law to be used for commercial purposes in order to generate funding to operate and maintain Hudson River Park.

    "It's not our utopian view of the park. But that's because we're restrained by park rules to have commercial development on the pier," said Chris McGinnis, a neighborhood resident who helps run soccer programs for kids at Pier 40.

    The new Pier 40 would continue to offer public parking, which is a key source of revenue for the park. But the plan would squeeze 2,400 cars into a smaller space within the pier's structures by using stackers.

    Hudson River Park Trust Vice President Noreen Doyle said that if the proposal is approved, it could take 12 to 18 months before the project can get started due to environmental and land-use reviews.

    "This is a long process," she warned.

    Copyright 2008 NYP Holdings, Inc.

  5. #410
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003


    But BR!!!

    How will they bribe city officials if they have no parking spots to give them??!?

    I mean, is 2,400 spots too much to ask?

    Seriously though, I have no problem with them going for a few hundred for various staffers, delivery stuff and whatnot, but this is a NYC park/school/pier. There is NO NEED for parking on it! If FedEx wants more parking, let THEM build it into their own building rather than renting possible public space!

    Who uses it now, anyway?

  6. #411
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    Lots of dwontown residents (myself NOT included) use Pier 40 for parking -- and have done so for years (even before the park came into existence).

    NY State Law mandates that the Pier have a large commercial component and to serve the community's needs.

    From day one, even though Pier 40 wa included in the HRP, this pier was carved out to include different and wider uses than are found in the surrounding park.

    If you take away parking and other revenue generating opportunities at Pier 40 then how does it get paid for?

    Besides, I think NYC high school kids are smart enough to figure out how to cross the street and avoid traffic. And drivers can figure out how to stop for pedestrians.

    The only death in this vicinity was due to a drunken driver on the bikepath late one night back in December '06. Not sure there's been any daytime incidents with parkers / peds on Pier 40 in the past.

    Sky walks / pedestrian bridges that cross above the WSH / bikepaths and connect Pier 40 with the big St. John's building and / or the nieghborhood to the east should be included in any plan for schools on the Pier.

  7. #412
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    in Limbo


    I can't imagine anything more of a waste than to use prime waterfront space for parking cars.

    Naturally, this city today would do exactly just that, too.

  8. #413


    September 30. 2008 6:01PM

    Pier 40’s plans collapse

    Long-sought plan for 14-acre site fails to pass muster.

    Theresa Agovino

    The last ditch effort to find a developer for Pier 40 has failed, leaving the future of the crumbling structure, which provides a significant portion of the Hudson River Park’s budget, unclear.

    Last March, after a proposal by The Related Cos. was shelved because of differences over lease terms, the Hudson River Park Trust gave two other groups 90 days to come up with a joint proposal for the 14-acre site.

    Even after deadline extensions, however, the groups have failed to produce a proposal that meet all the criteria established by the Hudson River Park Trust. The problems with the proposal weren’t clear, although in earlier interviews, trust Chairwoman Diana Taylor said she was worried that the proposal might not be able to generate enough revenue to cover any bonds that were sold to finance the project. The proposal included putting a school and a camp on the site.

    Last week, the Hudson River Park Trust board met, and while it didn’t formally vote on the proposal, it was clear from the conversation that the new plan didn’t have support. The trust has been trying to find a developer for the pier for six years and has issued two separate requests for proposals.

    In a statement, Ms. Taylor said the trust would begin discussion with its board, elected officials and community representatives to reexamine the criteria and consider its options. She declined to comment beyond the statement.

    The organizations that developed the proposal are a group of concerned parents known as the Pier 40 Partnership and a joint venture between nonprofit Urban Dove and camp operator CampGroup. None of the parties returned calls.

    Ms. Taylor had previously said she might consider asking legislators in Albany to change the lease on the pier so it could be extended to 49 years, as Related requested. Currently, it is a 30-year lease. However, there was enormous community opposition to Related’s plan because it moved the ball fields in the structure. It was also unclear if Related was still interested in the developing the site.

    Finding a developer is crucial for the pier because it is in serious disrepair, which jeopardizes the revenues it generates from the offices, sports facilities and parking garage housed there. Earlier this year, two of the nonprofit tenants which lease space there were forced to vacate parts of their offices because of the building’s structural problems. Parts of the parking garage were also closed.

    © 2008 Crain Communications, Inc.

  9. #414


    ^^ More brilliance on the part of the mega-rich hedge-fund managers who have trashed the American economy ^^

    Their selfish desire to rope off the city's biggest pier, effectively putting it out of the use of most of the city so as to give their kids the kind of massive soccer complex worthy of Franklin Lakes or Darien, has now resulted in ... dead proposals.

    Next time they should think twice before torpedoing Related's proposal that would have created a potentially fantastic entertainment zone but -- Lordy, Lordy -- would have resulted in increased pedestrian traffic and noise. God forbid that should occur in Downtown Manhattan. Here's hoping another developer can put together a realistic proposal that benefits the entire city before the pier falls into the water.

  10. #415


    Related's proposal probably would have been sued to death.
    I wonder how much money has already been wasted...

  11. #416
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002


    Would condos or London Eye float on Pier 40?

    A Ferris wheel like the London Eye is reportedly being talked about for Pier 40,
    although the rumor has been denied by some.

    By Lincoln Anderson

    A new ad hoc committee on Pier 40 has been formed at the Hudson River Park Trust to come up with ideas to renovate and redevelop the critical but crumbling 14-acre pier.

    Two prior request-for-proposals, or R.F.P., processes that sought developers to fix up and program the Lower West Side pier have sunk like stones.

    The most pressing concern about the two-story Pier 40, at W. Houston St., is its roof, which needs $20 million in repairs. Also calling for an overhaul are the pier’s rusting support piles.

    The 5-mile-long Hudson River Park is supposed to be financially self-supporting, and Pier 40 is a big part of that equation: Parking — currently Pier 40’s main commercial use — brings in about $7.5 million gross ($5.5 million net) in rent for the Trust, or about 40 percent of the park’s annual operating budget. Parking on the pier is staunchly defended by a strong local constituency of car owners.

    With improvements, the parking could probably bring in several million dollars more in annual revenue. However, as the pier’s roof deteriorates, sections of the parking are being progressively closed off, not only putting the pier at risk, but reducing the pier’s revenue.

    In order for the pier to be renovated, significantly more money is needed, which means bringing in at least one more commercial use — hence the committee’s search.

    The ad hoc Pier 40 committee includes four Trust board members — Pam Frederick and Lawrence B. Goldberg, who are appointees of Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer; Paul Ullman, a gubernatorial appointee; and Joe Rose, the city’s former Planning commissioner — as well as Connie Fishman and Noreen Doyle, the Trust’s president and vice president, respectively.

    Roughly one day each week, the committee has been meeting with different stakeholders and possible interested development groups. At this point, Ullman and Frederick are the two most active members and the ones doing the outreach and most consistently attending the meetings.

    The idea is for the committee to be open to hearing all ideas and not rule out any possibilities — including modifying the Hudson River Park Act, if necessary, to allow certain kinds of uses currently not permitted.

    However, that’s not to say the committee is looking to explore ideas that megadevelop the pier: Ullman, for one, got involved with the Trust over his opposition to The Related Companies’ “Las Vegas on the Hudson” plan, which was in the second R.F.P. round and would have featured a Cirque du Soleil and movie theaters for the Tribeca Film Festival. Ullman, who lives in the Village, and Frederick, a Tribeca resident, both have young children that play in local sports leagues that use Pier 40’s playing fields.

    Broad Range of ideas

    Some ideas that have reportedly been raised, so far, are generally in the nonglamorous, low-impact mold: a warehouse facility for paper products for local restaurants; and a telecom hotel to house Internet data centers and Web servers. The latter, though, was determined to be too heavy for the pier.

    At the other end of the spectrum, another group — with past ties to Hudson River Park — is said to have mentioned a plan to bring a giant Ferris wheel to Pier 40, along the lines of the London Eye, London’s top tourist attraction.

    However, Ben Korman of C&K Properties, which used to run the parking on Pier 40, denied any involvement in the scheme.

    “I really know literally nothing about that idea,” he said. “That has nothing to do with me. … I heard that there is a group that is exploring something along those lines — but I think they’re looking at alternative sites all over the city; I didn’t hear anything about the Hudson waterfront.

    “I don’t think this is something that would work at Pier 40,” Korman said of a hypothetical “Lower West Side Eye.” “No matter what, it will be controversial wherever it goes — but it is a success in London and, I think, it is in Paris, too.”

    Still another idea that has been floating around is for residential use on Pier 40 — specifically for a small number of very high-end condos or co-ops. For residential use to be allowed on Pier 40, however, the park act would have to be changed.

    Interest has dwindled

    Particularly before the recession, developers had been expressing interest in Pier 40. Fairway’s owners were said to have been eyeing the pier for a supermarket, though the Trust doesn’t back big-box stores on the pier. Another pitch was for a 200,000-square-foot aquarium, which is small, relatively speaking, compared to Coney Island Aquarium.

    Although it was hoped the city would be interested in putting public schools on Pier 40, and there was support for this idea from the Trust, word now has it that the School Construction Authority recently said it had serious reservations about the idea: Having students cross a highway was reportedly an issue, plus because of the real estate dive, spaces on land are now more affordable, making the pier less attractive.

    In addition, after the two failed R.F.P.’s, the Trust is now said to be considering crafting its own a master development plan for the pier, and then contracting out the job to different developers or groups.

    Open-ended process

    Fishman, the Trust’s president, said of the committee’s efforts, “The idea is to cast as wide a net for research as possible — to reach into the corners...a broader section of conversation. They’re trying to be open-minded.”

    Fishman said she didn’t feel the committee had the objective of trying to change the park’s legislation without first having a clear idea of what should be done at the pier.

    In the past, she said, discussion about the pier was “geared to the R.F.P. responses,” adding that, while those two R.F.P. processes didn’t pan out, they were educational. “We know a lot of stuff from what happened before,” she said.

    As for how long the ad hoc Pier 40 committee will continue its work, Fishman responded that, as of now, the process is open-ended.
    “There’s no determined schedule,” she said.

    She confirmed there had been ongoing interest in the W. Houston St. pier — from “national to international” groups — but that “it kind of dried up when the economy went on the skids. ... And because the economy is so bad, this is a good time to do research,” she noted.

    Asked if the Trust itself will design a master plan for Pier 40’s development, or issue a third R.F.P. for developers, Fishman indicated it’s yet to be determined, replying, “Don’t know enough yet.”

    Stymied on stimulus

    Doyle, the Trust’s V.P., gave Downtown Express an update on the state-city park authority’s efforts to get federal stimulus funds for Pier 40. She said staff members for Council Speaker Christine Quinn helped identify a grant application they thought might possibly work — under transportation-related uses. In the end, though, the Trust didn’t apply for the grant, given that the application would have been a major effort to do, and since it was a stretch to shoehorn Pier 40 into the transportation category.

    “We would have been going up against port authorities, like Los Angeles and Boston,” Doyle noted.

    The Trust made some earlier applications for stimulus funds, but these haven’t netted anything yet, Doyle said, adding that competition for these monies is fierce.

    “We’re now looking at ‘green’ ideas,” she said of Pier 40. “If it’s ‘green,’ maybe that will make it attractive to get a grant.”

    Doyle agreed with Fishman that now is a time to get ideas on Pier 40.
    “With economic disarray — it’s a time for creative thinking,” she said. Borrowing from Eastern wisdom, she noted, “The Chinese symbol for ‘opportunity’ is ‘chaos.’”

    1990 report recalled

    Arthur Schwartz, head of the Hudson River Park Advisory Council and also of the recently reconstituted Pier 40 Working Group, said residential use on Pier 40 would never fly.

    “That will create huge opposition,” he told Downtown Express. “That was a proposal for Pier 40 back in the late 1980s or early ’90s,” he said, recalling there was a report on it.

    Currently the president of New York Water Taxi, Tom Fox was a member of the West Side Waterfront Panel, which created that 1990 report. He still has a copy of it, kept among what he called his “70 boxes” of Hudson River Park-related material in his office out in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

    Called “A Vision for the Hudson River Waterfront Park,” the document essentially laid out the “bare bones” of what would one day become the Hudson River Park, Fox recalled.

    Indeed, the part of the report on the park’s Greenwich Village section did offer a proposal for housing at Pier 40 — though Fox personally did not support that concept, preferring recreational use. The so-called “highest density option” called for 1,500 residential units on the pier, with the structure rising 85 feet high in some areas.

    “I don’t think it makes any sense at all,” Fox said of having people living on the pier, calling it “privatizing of the river.”

    “People don’t want people playing in their front yard,” he explained. “If you have an office building, hotel or residential, you don’t want people playing on your front lawn. The waterfront is precious and should be kept for the public.”

    Recreation not profitable

    On the other hand, Fox said of Pier 40’s current focus on sports uses, “The problem with recreation is it’s not a big moneymaker.”

    Of Pier 40’s other main use, he added, “You can’t underestimate the demand for parking.”

    Fox — who from 1992-’95 was president of the Hudson River Park Conservancy, the Trust’s predecessor — and the Friends of Hudson River Park, of which Fox is a board member, are still pushing their plan for a business improvement district-like body to raise funds for the park. The BID would assess a small annual tax on property owners bordering the park between Chambers and W. 59th Sts.

    Despite the rough reception the Friends of the High Line received for its proposed High Line Improvement District, which led to that park group shelving the idea, Fox is still bullish on a Hudson River Park funding district.

    “It’s moving along,” Fox said. “We’re meeting with the property owners, elected officials. Slow and steady wins the race.”

    Tobi Bergman, president of P3, a nonprofit group based on Pier 40 that runs baseball clinics and promotes sports uses of the waterfront, said he agrees with the idea of looking into the viability of any and all uses for Pier 40. The focus right now should be to brainstorm and investigate all options, he said, and to avoid knee-jerk condemnations of possible concepts before all their pros and cons have been fully assessed.

    ‘Avoid entertainment’

    Bergman, for one, said residential might be a use that could work, since it brings in money for the pier but with a relatively low impact in terms of people going to and from the pier, when compared with entertainment uses, such as a London Eye-type Ferris wheel, movie theaters or restaurants, for example. And some people might not mind having ball fields on one side of their homes, if they have “spectacular views” of the river on the other side, he added.

    “What I think would create opposition no matter what is high-intensity use that brings a lot of people crossing the bike path,” Bergman said. “I think an entertainment- and a tourism-based approach to the pier is problematic.”

    Bergman said he didn’t see why residential use of part of the pier is any more a privatization of the space than some of the commercial uses currently leasing space on the pier, such as a sign-making company on its second floor.

    Also, to address Pier 40’s immediate problem — its roof — Bergman recommended that the Trust stop building out new sections of the park, and instead redirect those funds to fixing the pier’s roof.

    “They have to drop the idea that they can’t put money into Pier 40,” Bergman said of the Trust. “The pier is deteriorating, which is also reducing the revenue the pier is providing for the park. That’s the first priority — fix that roof.”


    Under the park act, space equivalent to 50 percent of Pier 40’s footprint must be open, public-use space — which can include active recreation, like sports — while the rest of the pier can be developed commercially. Bergman and local parents would like to see the pier’s sports uses actually increase, if feasible.

    “The challenge is how is it possible to keep the good stuff — and expand the good stuff?” he said. “That’s not easy.”

    A London Eye, on the other hand, would change the neighborhood, Bergman said, bringing with it things local families and youth sports leagues that use the pier don’t want, like “boat rides, restaurants and clubs,” he noted.

    One thing is for sure: Whatever does happen at Pier 40, it won’t be done overnight. With all the reviews, vetting and approvals that are needed, after a plan is decided on, it could take a few years to be put into effect.

  12. #417


    Quote Originally Posted by Merry View Post
    Broad Range of ideas

    Some ideas that have reportedly been raised, so far, are generally in the nonglamorous, low-impact mold: a warehouse facility for paper products for local restaurants; and a telecom hotel to house Internet data centers and Web servers. The latter, though, was determined to be too heavy for the pier.
    This is suppose to be a part of the park right- and I thought the housing to be built in Brooklyn Bridge Park was bad. At least they're not situated in prime areas of park, like along the water.

    Quote Originally Posted by Merry View Post
    ‘Avoid entertainment’

    Bergman, for one, said residential might be a use that could work, since it brings in money for the pier but with a relatively low impact in terms of people going to and from the pier, when compared with entertainment uses, such as a London Eye-type Ferris wheel, movie theaters or restaurants, for example. And some people might not mind having ball fields on one side of their homes, if they have “spectacular views” of the river on the other side, he added.

    “What I think would create opposition no matter what is high-intensity use that brings a lot of people crossing the bike path,” Bergman said. “I think an entertainment- and a tourism-based approach to the pier is problematic.”
    So the goal is to keep the most outsiders out, so this can remain a more private place for their kids and their cars.

    Quote Originally Posted by Merry View Post
    Also, to address Pier 40’s immediate problem — its roof — Bergman recommended that the Trust stop building out new sections of the park, and instead redirect those funds to fixing the pier’s roof.
    These people are a bit selfish. At least New Yorkers use these new sections.
    The fact that the city can't build and maintain it's own parks irks me and we wouldn't be getting into these soul selling discussions.
    Last edited by Derek2k3; October 2nd, 2009 at 09:25 AM.

  13. #418
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002


    Advocate floats Greenmarket idea for Pier 40

    By Lincoln Anderson

    A new idea for the Lower West Side waterfront could soon be taking root, namely, a Greenmarket for the massive, 14-acre Pier 40 at W. Houston St. The concept emerged from two polls of West Village residents conducted by the weekly WestView newspaper asking what uses for the pier they favored most. George Capsis, the paper’s publisher, said his “Green Pier” involves transforming Pier 40 into “the world’s largest green pier.”

    For starters, though, the idea is to have a Greenmarket inside the pier’s courtyard, on its northern, or sunny, side. Eventually, he said, if it proves successful, the Greenmarket could expand around all four sides of the artificial-turf-covered, courtyard sports field, and also possibly set up on the loading dock ringing the field, as well. In winter, the vendors could move inside the pier shed.

    “If it all fills out, it will be the largest green pier in the United States,” he boasted.

    Asked about the youth sports leagues that currently use the sprawling sports field so heavily, Capsis downplayed any negative impact the Greenmarket might have on them — though he couldn’t resist taking a dig at what he termed the “private school kids” that dominate the pier.

    “The soccer dads, all of these private schools that now own the pier during the day, they’re very nervous that the plan will erode their use of the pier,” he said. “They feel that it’s going to invade their turf. When you think about it, you have a handful of people on the field — [but] you have thousands of people in the West Village. These facilities have to be shared. I think they’ll freak out, I think they’ll resist it,” he predicted.

    Capsis said even if Pier 40 becomes the world’s largest green pier, “The soccer kids will still be there, be assured.”

    The Greenmarket, Capsis explained, would have a trial period, and if nobody came during the first year, then the idea would likely be scrapped. He has convinced Arthur Schwartz, chairperson of Community Board 2’s Waterfront Committee, that it’s an idea worth trying.

    Schwartz has put “Greenmarket at Pier 40?” on the agenda of his Mon., March 22, committee meeting, at Village Community School, 272 W. 10th St., starting at 7 p.m. Schwartz, a labor attorney who is listed on WestView’s masthead as the paper’s “Community Editor,” said he genuinely thinks the “Green Pier” proposal could work.

    The meeting will feature a report on a tour of the pier that Michael Hurwitz, director of the city’s Greenmarket program, planned to take on Wed., Mar. 17, with Capsis; Schwartz; Noreen Doyle, the vice president of the Hudson River Park Trust; and Paul Ullman, a Trust board member who has been helping lead the effort to find compatible, low-impact, revenue-generating uses for the pier.

    Schwartz said he envisioned Pier 40 becoming a modern-day incarnation of the old Gansevoort Market that used to be on Gansevoort Peninsula until the mid-20th century, a place where one could buy not only produce, but fresh fish, too. Schwartz said having a Greenmarket would create a new “use group” on Pier 40 (beyond sports leagues, which don’t really produce revenue), which could help attract other commercial tenants, increasing the pier’s cash-generating capacity.

    “It’s a low-cost version of what YoungWoo’s doing at Pier 57,” he said, “with lots of booths and little artisans, like a permanent street fair.” Schwartz said he imagines the Greenmarket being open weeknights and weekends. “There isn’t any other immediate plan for any other use there,” Schwartz said, “so why not try something?”

    Pier 40 is literally crumbling and needs millions of dollars in repairs. Two past efforts by the Trust to find developers to overhaul the structure have failed, due to staunch community opposition and the fact that the pier’s lease isn’t long term, making it financially unattractive.

    Meanwhile, Pat Shields — a member of the Bedford Downing Block Association — is floating a counterproposal for a Pier 40 stadium (to be home to “a modest and traditional, English Premier League-style Major League Soccer franchise.” The stadium, as Shields — a former Division III soccer player at Kenyon — puts it in his written pitch, “would be available at times to the public.”

    To develop this sports edifice, he says, all that’s needed is to find “a group of U.S. and international luxury box lessees, raise $150 million from them, assist pier development, and attract M.L.S. ownership, with neighborhood and political priorities in place.”

    The pier, Shields says, could feature “live M.L.S. matches or giant HD screenings of Champions League and other international cups.” There would be fields on two levels, plus two trams traversing a giant arch overhead— “It could be our London Eye-type attraction,” Shields muses. “And this isn’t the riverside, oversized Jets stadium project,” he adds.

    Although their plans are wildly divergent, Capsis and Shields do share one thing in common, having long used the long-term parking at Pier 40 — though Shields recently sold his car.

  14. #419
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003


    "Soccer Dads?"

    What a prick. That pier is used by so many it is not funny. Booking time is difficult, and any spare area in a corner is usually used by random people coming in and using an unused soccer goal for a mini-game in the corner.

    The double irony is the fact that he seems to be downplaying the "private school" kids, when most of the families in the West Village are just that!

    They need more green space that is ACTUALLY GREEN, not label it green and put stores on it.

  15. #420
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002


    Friends of Hudson River Park eye fundraising

    Shifting the group's mission to fundraising role comes as the West Side esplanade faces a $10 million deficit over the next five years; lack of income from Piers 40 and 57 causes problems.

    By Theresa Agovino

    As the Hudson River Park faces a $10 million deficit over the next five years, the advocacy group that has watched over the park's creation is working to refocus its mission to fundraising for the West Side esplanade.

    Friends of the Hudson River Park was established in 1999 as a watchdog group to ensure the money committed by the city and state for the park was received and used properly. It also provided support for the agency responsible for building the park, the Hudson River Park Trust.

    The Trust is responsible for managing the park and oversees the redevelopment its assets, including Piers 40 and 57, in order to generate revenues to fund the park's ongoing operation. However, for myriad reasons the redevelopment of both piers has been delayed for years, depriving the park of desperately needed revenue and leaving the trust with a potentially large hole in its budget.

    “It was time for us to step back and see where we were really needed,” said A.J. Pietrantone, the Friends' executive director. He said moving into fundraising makes sense, given the Trust's financial problems.

    “Our board is very interested in the idea,” said Connie Fishman, president of the Trust, which has a board made up of political appointees.

    “Our board was not selected for their fundraising capabilities,” Ms. Fishman said.

    Over the summer, a task force was formed with board members from each organization to delve into Friends taking on an expanded mission. The task force will present its ideas to both boards later this month.

    If both boards agree that it is a good idea, they will spend the remainder of the year defining the relationship and working out specifics.

    When new sections of the park open in October, it will be 80% complete. Ms. Fishman said it was difficult to say when the park will be fully completed because so many elements that would allow the project to be finished are out of the Trust's hands. For example, a sanitation facility and heliport must be moved before the park's construction will be done. Eventually it will run for five miles from Battery Place to West 59th Street.

    Earlier this year, the Trust selected Youngwoo & Associated to redevelop Pier 57, a decrepit structure at the end of West 15th Street. Youngwoo's proposal includes a new home for the Phillips de Pury & Co. auction house, as well as space for art galleries and a concert venue. The company's appointment came after another plan for the pier fell apart last year.

    However, Ms. Fishman estimates it will be at least five years before the Youngwoo plan begins to generate revenue.

    Meanwhile, three attempts to find a developer for Pier 40 have failed and the effort to find another one is on hold.

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