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Thread: Pier A

  1. #136
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Oct 2002



    Inside the Battery's Century-Old Pier A, Open for the First Time

    by Hana R. Alberts

    All photos by Max Touhey.

    At the southernmost tip of West Street, a pier juts out into New York Harbor. Until just a few weeks ago, it was fenced in, and closed off to the public. But after a years-long renovation and restoration process, Pier A—a 128-year-old structure with a handsome clocktower that once served the docks and harbor police as well as the city's fire department—is open to the public for the very first time in its long history. To say that the makeover has been hotly anticipated would be an understatement. Taking the pier from decrepit and abandoned to a three-story, flood-prepared building with beautifully-designed bars and restaurants (run by the Poulakakos group) as well as a visitor's center, plus a public promenade, plaza, and ample seating, cost around $40 million, with the Economic Development Council footing most of the bill. But boy, is she pretty. And those views of the Statue of Liberty aren't bad either, especially in the sunset.

    The pier is south of West Street, west of Battery Place, and sandwiched on its other sides by Battery Park and Wagner Park.

    There's Lady Liberty, off to the left (southwest). Pier A is a landmark, so the exterior restoration had to hold up to the LPC's scrutiny; it looks original, but better. (Remember, it was in a seriously sorry state just four years ago.)

    The area in front of the pier, and to its sides, is a 34,000-square-foot public plaza with seating.

    The seating and pedestrian promenade continue around the entire perimeter of the building. In the warmer months, the outdoor tables will be used by restaurant patrons, but they are always publicly accessible.

    The most recent spate of restoration work on Pier A began in 2008, when the Battery Park City Authority got involved in its revitalization. First came repointing and repair work, as well as reinforcing (via steel columns and beams) the underwater structure that holds up the whole thing. Along with that came a total replacement of its deck—the actual floor of the pier.

    The last phase was above-water; the core and the shell of the building got their turn at a sprucing-up. Peeling away building layers led to a sad discovery: extensive water damage. The pier was essentially rotting. So architects worked to basically replace the entire building envelope and build a new roof, all while keeping the facade looking the same (because it's a landmark).

    That stage of the work was just about two months from completion in October of 2012, when Superstorm Sandy hit. The several feet of water that washed through the pier building, all over structural elements that had just been shored up or replaced, set the whole project back about seven months.

    Repair work began, and some design changes were made as a result of the storm. Even more mechanical equipment and elevator systems were put on higher floors, for example. That took until July of 2013.

    More seating at the end of the pier.

    And now, we go inside.

    The ground level is an oyster bar with open seating, including at several counters.

    The clocktower got completely restored—bells tolling on the hour and all for the first time what operators think could be decades... even as early as the 1930s. But inside, below the guts of the clock, is the restaurants' wine cellar, punctuated by a spiral staircase.

    At the front of the second floor, looking out onto the public plaza and towards the Financial District, is called the Harrison. It has more wood paneling and clubby seats, and is meant to harken back to bars where the area's power brokers would dally. Its design is meant to evokes the cabin of a boat.

    And there's more stained glass here, plus the preponderance of 'A's.

    Many more pics at Curbed

  2. #137


    It's absolutely fantastic. I was in there the other weekend and can't wait for an excuse to go back.

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