Paws to Consider: HRPT Dock Plans Previewed
Upscale Amenities, Long Planned For, Emerge in Troubled Times
by Dianne Renzulli
photo by Robert Simko
Aerial view of Piers 25 and 26 in the foreground
Pier 26, the Hudson River dock between North Moore and Hubert Streets, is the focal point of the latest phase in the Tribeca segment of the Hudson River Park's massive, years-long reconstruction project. Last week, the Hudson River Park Trust (HRPT), the agency that manages both the park (which stretches from 59th Street to Battery Park City) and its reconstruction, gave the Waterfront Committee of Community Board 1 (CB1) a preview of Pier 26 and the surrounding area.
Pier 26 is the planned home of a community boathouse, waterside café, and estuarium -- though the funding for this aquatic education center has not yet been secured. (No plans have been announced for the vacant western end of the pier, the estuarium's intended home.) Work on the $6.7 million boathouse and restaurant structure is currently under way, and the current schedule calls for this section to open in the spring of 2013. A search for a restaurant tenant (which will start with a request for proposals) is slated to begin in early 2012.
The upland area adjacent to Pier 26 will feature an oval dog run, also scheduled to open in 2013. Work on this new section of the Park is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2012, pending approval from the HRPT's board in January. The HRPT design presented at last week's CB1 meeting shows separate areas for large and small dogs, a dog-sized drinking fountain, umbrellas to provide shade, and a water feature near the base of Pier 26 that dogs can activate by hopping on a bollard, similar to those used at the children's playground on Pier 25 (the adjacent pier that reopened in 2010 with a miniature golf course, sand volleyball courts, and an artificial turf playing field, among other amenities). In addition to the dog run, the new, onshore section of the Park will include two curving lawns, landscaped bike and walking paths, and a large gathering space between Pier 25 and Pier 26. Plans for this section also call for historic ships to be moored between the piers.
Some members of CB1's Waterfront Committee raised concerns at last week's meeting about devoting so much money to Downtown's four-legged residents in an economic climate that has cut services for their two-legged caregivers. (The dog run itself is budgeted at $400,000, while the total cost for larger project of which it is a part -- including landscaping around the boathouse and restaurant area -- is budgeted at $6.5 million. The overall price tag for the Tribeca segment of the Park -- which encompasses the waterfront between Chambers and Houston Streets -- is $100 million.)
Waterfront Committee chair Bob Townley said in a subsequent e-mail, "I think in relation to all capital costs in New York City, $6.5 million is not out of line. It is on the water which makes it an expensive project. Hopefully it lasts 75 years -- but it is an expensive piece."