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Thread: Piers 25 and 26 in Tribeca - Hudson River Park

  1. #16
    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Manhattan - South Village


    Build these already, I can't wait. The renderings look promising - I'm especially glad to see that most things that were removed will be rebuilt, but let's just hope these piers are half as groovy as they once were.

  2. #17


    Con Ed short circuits Hudson Park work

    Downtown Express photos by Milo Hess

    Work removing the Pier 25 decks, which recently began, was stopped this week after Con Edison asked the Hudson River Park Trust to change construction methods to better protect the utility’s equipment.

    By David Spett

    Hudson River Park work on Pier 25 has been temporarily suspended due to design changes required by Con Edison, according to the Hudson River Park Trust’s spokesperson.

    The Con Edison requirements affect only the pier’s piles, but for efficiency reasons contractors stopped work on Pier 25 and diverted efforts to Pier 26, said Noreen Doyle, a Trust vice president. Because both Tribeca piers will open at the same time, the overall project is still on schedule, with opening scheduled for summer of 2009, Doyle said.

    Con Ed has equipment near the pile work and with its hands full lately with the recent power outage in Queens and this week’s heat wave and blackout warnings, the utility is apparently being cautious. A Con Ed spokesperson did not return a call for comment.

    “We have a good relationship with Con Ed,” Doyle said, “and they have agreed to reimburse the Trust for all of the required changes that are reasonable.”

    Specifically, Con Edison is requiring constructors to use a gentler, more cautious method of driving piles on the piers, Doyle said. “There is a pile-driving machine that bangs piles, and in this case we’re taking a more cautious approach,” she said. “Con Ed relatively recently changed their requirements for what they would need in terms of design.”

    Explaining the decision by the contractor to stop work on Pier 25 and focus efforts on removing the Pier 26 deck, Doyle said, “We generally leave it to some degree to our contractors and construction managers to tell us the best way to get the work product done within a given schedule.”

    While some approvals for Pier 25 took longer than the Trust anticipated, Doyle said delays are to be expected.

    “Work in the water is not as routine as when there is Con Ed work in the middle of the city,” she said. “People [like Con Edison] have to spend time thinking about what would be the best way to protect their infrastructure. The coordination is particularly technical.”

    Doyle said that in the coming months and through the winter, contractors may focus their efforts on the northern end of the Tribeca section.

    “There is definitely productive work that can happen over the next six months while we wait to do the next big pile,” she said.

    “We are not disheartened that this is going to affect the overall schedule, and there’s nothing adversarial going on here,” Doyle said.

    Piers 25 and 26 are part of Hudson River Park’s Segment 3, which extends from Chambers St. to Clarkson St. and is scheduled to be complete in 2009. The project had been delayed for years, but at the official groundbreaking on July 6 Governor George Pataki said there would be no more delays. The $70 million project is funded by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation.

    Downtown Express is published by
    Community Media LLC.

  3. #18

    Default Pier 25/26

    These are aerial views of the piers before the demolition of the site.

    "In the future, Pier 26 will be fully rebuilt and extended to cover its original footprint. It will continue to have a boathouse and boat launch for non-motorized boats. The Pier will also be home to an estuarium – a Hudson River education and research center – with interpretive science exhibits, a science garden and classroom space. A restaurant will also be located here to serve park patrons."

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  4. #19


    Damn, is the stuff that they did to the McKenzie-Childs couple even legal, with locking them out and all? False imprisonment, anyone?

  5. #20


    Ripping up pier 25

  6. #21


    ^ That second picture is a study in nonchalance.

  7. #22
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    Ever wonder what happened to the Floating Neutrinos and the vessel Town Hall ?

    "Town Hall" in Winter in the water off Pier 25

    The whole sad saga >>>>> of the Demise of Town Hall
    The Floating Neutrinos - The_Flying_Neutrinos, originally a family band,
    was started by David (a.k.a. Poppa Neutron) and Betsy (a.k.a. Aurelia Neutrino)
    who built the raft below from scraps found on the streets of New York.
    They sailed the raft, "Son of Town Hall," across the Atlantic Ocean ...
    Click \/ the picture to visit their /\ website.

    Seems that the gang has moved to warmer climes ...

    Photo courtesy of Grant Nelson, Eugene, OR
    Percebu, January 2006

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  8. #23

    Default Personal Floatation Devices.

    Quote Originally Posted by ablarc View Post
    ^ That second picture is a study in nonchalance.
    LOL............True: at least they are wearing thier PDA's.

    Great Photos!
    Last edited by infoshare; September 18th, 2006 at 10:36 PM. Reason: Add link

  9. #24

    Default Neutrino?

    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1 View Post
    Ever wonder what happened to the Floating Neutrinos and the vessel Town Hall ?
    Greaaaaat post - Rated 4 Stars

    excerpt - The Floating Neutrinos; and also to the Neutrino Movement, which is about getting free of all obstacles, internal and external, that block you from living your dream. Anyone who is struggling to be true to his or her deepest desires, and going through the fears and fog that have to be faced in order to live according to their own script, and not the one written for them by outside forces, is a Neutrino.

  10. #25
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    Charges of Cronyism in Pier 26 Pick
    By Carl Glassman
    NOV.1, 2006

    The River Project, a Hudson River study center, occupied Tribeca’s Pier 26 for 20 years, until the pier was closed last year for rebuilding. When the new pier opens, sometime in 2008, scientists are expected to be back there, investigating local marine life once again.

    But a controversy is brewing over just whose fish tanks, laboratories and educational programs will be on the new Pier 26, located near Hubert Street, and how the institutions will be selected.

    The board of the Hudson River Park Trust, the state agency that oversees the five-mile waterfront park, appears to be close to confirming its choice. Critics call the selection process closed and unfair. They say that other institutions, including the River Project, have not been given equal access to the process.

    The Trust’s favored operator is a partnership between the Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries, headquartered in Beacon, N.Y., and the Marine Science Research Center at SUNY, Stony Brook. The Beacon Institute is a three-year-old organization established by Gov. George Pataki. Among its board members is Charles “Trip” Dorkey, a major Republican political donor and also the chairman of the HRPT board. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is funneling $10 million to the institute for a satellite station on the pier. On Oct. 20, Pataki announced an additional state grant of $335,000 to the Beacon Institute to refine concepts and develop designs for the Pier 26 center.

    In a letter sent late last month to Dorkey, Rep. Jerrold Nadler expressed “growing concern” that a developer of the estuarium, as the marine center is commonly called, will be chosen “without any open, public process.” He urged Dorkey to hold off on the appointment of the institutions until the matter can be aired in a public forum.

    Julie Nadel, an HRPT board member and newly appointed chairwoman of Community Board 1’s Waterfront Committee, accused the Trust of cronyism. The governor, she told the Trib, “is making sure his people will have a piece of the pie after he’s gone. I’m not going to be party to that. Secrecy is something I can’t tolerate.” Nadel said she believes that there had been a rush to make the appointment before the Nov. 7 election. Besides Dorkey, who contributed more than $65,000 to Republican causes in 2003 and 2004, other Beacon Institute board members include: Brian Ruder, the chairman, who was appointed by Pataki in 2004 to chair the Dormitory Authority Board; Michael Finnegan, Pataki’s former chief counsel; and William F. Plunkett, Jr., a former Pataki law partner and longtime friend.

    Nadel said she doubts that the next governor will “prop up” an organization — mostly supported by state funds — that is heavily weighted with Pataki appointees. The Poughkeepsie Journal quoted an Elliot Spitzer spokeswoman as saying that, as governor, Spitzer would “evaluate whether or not money should be appropriated to the Beacon Institute.” Last month, Connie Fishman, president of the Hudson River Park Trust, appeared before CB1’s Waterfront Committee to talk about the future of a rebuilt Pier 26. Some board members seemed perplexed that the Beacon Institute may be designated to co-operate the estuarium without first presenting a plan to the board.

    “I’m concerned that [the estuarium plan] moves past us and they come here and it’s a fait accompli,” said committee member George Olsen.

    “That’s part of the reason we tried to get them here last year, so they could put their ideas on the table and you’d hear what they had to say,” Fishman replied, referring to an earlier CB1 meeting. At that time, she told the committee that Beacon Institute officials would not return calls from the Trust. Fishman said she believed that further attempts to bring them to a CB1 meeting have failed because institute officials first wanted a “financial commitment.” She said she believed that in the next month or two Beacon Institute representatives will appear before the board.

    But committee members urged Fishman to open up the selection process with a formal request for proposals or by convening a number of institutions that would establish guidelines for what the estuarium should be.

    Cathy Drew, a long-time Tribeca resident who founded the River Project in an abandoned produce shed on the pier, said she had submitted a proposal five years ago but could not later refine it because the Trust failed to clarify its guidelines in a formal proposal request. In the meantime, she said, “We know that Beacon has been meeting with the Trust for more than a year now in private meetings that we have not been invited to.”

    Drew’s complaint was echoed in an e-mail to Nadel from Mark Bain, director of Cornell University’s Center for the Environment, which Nadel read at the meeting. “No one has shown me plans to define objectives and constraints or describe the application proposal process,” he wrote.

    Fishman said she was surprised by the e-mail, having recently met with Bain. But she said she questioned whether a formal proposal was needed.

    “What we want is a little bit uncertain,” Fishman told the board. “Each potential operator would presumably have a program that would cater to what they feel they do well.”

    “One of the things about the original concept of this [estuarium],” she continued, “is other than something generic that says marine research and public education, there’s not really a model that says what it should be.”

    Jeff Levinton, a River Project board member and a marine biologist at SUNY Stony Brook, disagreed. He said there are “many models around the country where there are consortia of public outreach and community involvement.”

    “Maybe you can give me a list and I can spend the next three months visiting all of them,” Fishman joked. Messages left at the Beacon Institute for the director, John Cronin, and the deputy director, Amy Norquist, were not returned.

    David Conover, director of the Institute’s likely partner, the Marine Science Research Center at SUNY Stony Brook, said in a telephone interview that it is too soon to talk about plans for the estuarium. “We have to make sure everything is in place and we’ve reached out to the right people before anything is finalized,” he said. “I don’t think it will be very much longer.”

    To see Hudson River Park Trust's design plans for Segment 3, go to:

  11. #26

    Default Floating Neutrinos

    Following the FLOATING NEUTRINO:

    The saga continues!
    Common Ground Navy has begun construction of their first raft

    in Red Wing, Minnesota, under the direction of Poppa Neutrino, of the Floating Neutrinos, along with June Kellum and Eric Hyde. Their intention is to float the Mississippi and ultimately to send Common Ground Navy rafts all over the globe. They are also connected with Common Ground Relief in New Orleans, where there is an ongoing project to build rafts for hurricane rescue and shelter.

    Common Ground Navy's current raft building project is being hosted by
    Mr. Brad Smith, owner of the Harbor Bar Resort, which is directly across the Mississippi River from Red Wing, Minnesota. Mr. Smith has hosted the start-up of many other rafting expeditions on the Mississippi. Common Ground Navy is the biggest raft project to be hosted here so far. Mr. Smith's contribution to the building of the Common Ground Navy is deeply appreciated. If anyone is interested in beginning a trip on the Mississippi, Harbor Bar Resort is the ideal place to begin, just below Minneapolis, MN.
    Common Ground Navy is grateful for the efforts of many people in getting its start: Don Paul and Malik of Common Ground Relief, Katz, Olivia, Will, Emily, Kevin, Casey, and many others.

    Poppa Neutrino, founder of Common Ground Navy, is issuing an invitation to come rafting down the Mississippi, across the Gulf of Mexico, through the Panama Canal and across the Pacific to China; or any part of this itinerary.
    Interested? email for conditions and requirements:

  12. #27


    What’s up on the waterfront?

    Tribeca river center shifts in different directions

    By Josh Rogers

    John Cronin investigated the toxic waters of the Love Canal for New York State 25 years ago, but that may not have prepared him for the shifting political waters in Lower Manhattan and Albany as he continues his effort to build a $20-million river study center in Tribeca despite local opposition.

    Cronin, the executive director of the Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries, next week is losing his biggest champion, Gov. George Pataki, who came up with the idea of creating Beacon seven years ago. Eliot Spitzer will be sworn in as the new governor Monday.

    Cronin did get a boost two weeks ago, when the Port Authority’s board of directors directed the Hudson River Park Trust to use $5 million of Port money to help Beacon, a private nonprofit organization, and SUNY-Stony Brook build an Urban Estuary Center on Pier 26, which is being rebuilt as part of the new design for the riverside park’s Tribeca section. The Port amended its October resolution, in which the Trust appeared to have a freer hand to select any group to run the river education center.

    “This is government by blackmail,” said Julie Nadel, a member of the Trust’s board and also a critic of Trust policies. “This was approved over the objections of the Port Authority staff.”

    It’s not clear why the Port took the additional step of amending its resolution to include Beacon’s name, since spokespersons for the Trust and Pataki, who shares control of the Port with the New Jersey governor until next week, both said the Trust is not obligated to select Beacon for the estuarium. The center will have labs, public displays and education programs focused on the vibrant marine life in the area where the ocean meets the Hudson. It could open in 2009.

    Cronin, in a rare public statement about his Tribeca plan, told Downtown Express that if the Trust ends up picking another group, he will not fight it over the Port money.

    “I’ll abide by whatever the Trust decides,” he said in a telephone interview.

    The Beacon Plan

    Cronin said the two-story facility in Tribeca would be somewhere in the neighborhood of 25,000 square feet and include labs with perhaps a dozen scientists and graduate assistants on a permanent basis, with additional space for visiting researchers. He also wants the scientists to interact with the public and school children, numbering as high as the thousands. There would be an auditorium, classrooms and public displays and room for large vessels to dock, including Stony Brook’s Seawolf, an 80-foot former fishing ship that rarely comes to the lower part of the Hudson because she has trouble finding a place to anchor, Cronin said.

    If the Port’s $5 million comes through, Beacon will need $10 million more for its $20 million goal. Stony Brook has already pledged $5 million. Cronin is confident his group will be able to raise the rest of the money — under the best case, it would come from an individual donor, he added.

    In addition to Stony Brook, Beacon is working closely with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massa*chusetts, Columbia University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and has informal consulting relationships with about 45 colleges.

    “The best reason [to select us] is that this would be the first of its kind collaboration with some of the best educational institutions in the country,” he said.

    Cronin was one of many who focused on the Hudson’s striped bass more than 20 years ago as part of the environmental effort that led to the defeat of Westway, the commercial development-park project that was a precursor to the Hudson River Park. Cronin said an estuary study center would be a fitting part of what is built in Westway’s aftermath.

    Cronin has presented his group’s plans to small private groups of the Trust’s directors, but he would be happy to make a public presentation to Community Board 1, if invited. He said his plan is still in the early stages and he welcomes feedback so he can make changes.

    Nadel, also the chairperson of C.B. 1’s Waterfront Committee in addition to her position on the Trust’s board, said she doesn’t want Beacon or anyone else to present a plan to C.B. 1 until the community board decides what exactly it hopes to have in an estuarium.

    “I don’t want individual groups coming to do a dog and pony show,” she said. “You have to decide what you want first.”

    Fair Process?

    The Trust has been talking to Beacon about building the estuarium in Tribeca for over a year, and after criticism by Nadel, U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler and other waterfront advocates, staffers now say they are open to considering other groups that are interested, including the River Project, which ran the original Pier 26 estuary center until it was forced to leave last year to make way for construction of the permanent park.

    Beacon’s skeptics cite its close ties to Pataki and its short history in which it has not yet run any programs. In addition, Pataki shares control of the Trust with the mayor (Nadel is an appointee of the borough president, who has influence but not control) and appointed Trip Dorkey to be the Trust’s chairperson. Dorkey also sits on Beacon’s board.

    Cronin said his connections will not help. “Trip will not talk to me about this project,” he said. “There’s going to be a transparent, public process.”

    He said if he were relying on Pataki’s help, he would have rushed to get a final plan to the Trust in the fall, instead of waiting until next year.

    “Don’t you think I would have had a formal proposal to the Hudson River Park Trust a few months ago,” he asked. “I can count the days like anyone else.”

    Still, the Port’s recent vote naming Beacon did not sit well with waterfront advocates. The Port also cut its October allocation of $10 million for the Tribeca river center in half, directing the other $5 million for Hudson River Park repairs needed at Pier 86, where the Intrepid Museum was docked and eventually towed to undergo extensive repairs. Franz Leichter, the former state senator who co-wrote the legislation creating the park, is bothered that the Port went out of its way to name Beacon.

    “I don’t like losing the 5 million and the Trust should not be forced in this way to accept a plan we have not agreed to,” Leichter, a member of the Trust’s board, wrote in a group email to reporters and waterfront advocates. “We need to see how this can be reversed.”

    In a similar email, Al Butzel, one of the leaders in the fight to defeat Westway, wrote: “It’s crummy because the Intrepid should hardly be taking away funding that was intended to be used at Pier 26. Second, it’s crummy because it ties the $5 million to the Beacon Institute, and except for the institute and ‘Gensler’ [Beacon’s consultant], no one even knows what is being planned.”

    Nadel said the Port’s allocation is not the same as if it wrote a check to Beacon. She predicts the Spitzer administration will not allow the disbursement to go through.

    Chris Martin, the Trust’s spokesperson, said the Trust is open to other groups and disputed the contention that the Port resolution “in any way” requires the Trust to designate Beacon, which is based in Beacon, N.Y.

    The December resolution says “that the remaining $5 million of such funding for the Urban Estuary Center be allocated by the Hudson River Park Trust and/or another appropriate entity for the study of Hudson River estuary preservation strategies by a consortium of educational institutions led by the State of New York and the Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries….”

    Martin said the Trust never lobbied the Port for the money. Since the Trust needs money to build the park at Piers 26 and 86 and other places, it is not going to look a gift horse in the mouth and question why the Port shifted the money.

    Martin described the Trust’s reaction as, “Hey great, we’re building the park and we’ll take anything. We’re glad to get money to build the park, and the estuarium, or whatever.”

    Joanna Rose, a Pataki spokesperson, in a prepared statement, said the SUNY-Beacon plan was not the only possibility and that “other, separate, efforts may even take shape. The Hudson River Park Trust has the responsibility to determine what is ultimately constructed on Pier 26.”

    The Port vote does mean less money for the Tribeca estuary center, but Cronin took it in stride. “I can’t say I’m disappointed because the Intrepid got $5 million. She’s a hometown girl,” he said. “She’s a lot bigger than I am, although I never got stuck in the mud.”

    Downtown Express is published by
    Community Media LLC.

  13. #28
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    Pier 26 Plans Reviewed: Kayaks & Dining

    Tribeca Trib
    By Carl Glassman
    MARCH 2, 2007

    A small group of kayakers and Community Board 1 members got the public’s first look last month at the Hudson River Park Trust’s (HRPT) detailed plans for a boathouse and restaurant on Tribeca’s Pier 26.

    The group, assembled by Julie Nadel, chair of the board’s Waterfront Committee, hopes to have a say over the structures and operations on the rebuilt pier, which also is expected to include a marine study center. For now, however, there is no money for any public amenities on Pier 26, located near Hubert Street. The Trust has applied to the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation for funds to build the structures.

    The plans show a two-story building, with an 8,700 square foot ground floor, split between the boathouse and the restaurant. The latter includes seating for about 80 people. A 5,600 square foot rooftop deck for public seating extends over the restaurant and the boathouse.

    The boathouse would occupy 5,200 square feet and include amenities, such as showers, heating and toilets, that were not provided in the shed that the kayakers on Pier 26 had used for many years.

    The group criticized the boathouse plans as both overly fancy and too small.

    Jim Wetteroth, who ran the boathouse’s public kayaking program before Pier 26 and Pier 25 were closed in 2005 for rebuilding, said the new boathouse would be about one-third smaller, with half the storage area for kayaks. The original boathouse, Wetteroth said, served its purposes well in the years since it was founded in 1987. He said he wants to see another simple structure on the pier when it is rebuilt. The proposed amenities, he said, will make the structure unnecessarily expensive.

    “The boathouse is just a support building for public activity,” Wetteroth said. “It shouldn’t be elaborate. The exterior should look attractive and the interior should be plain and fireproof.”

    Nadel, who serves on the HRPT board, has been an outspoken critic of the agency’s handling of plans for the pier, which she complains has ignored public opinion. She believes scaled-down plans would be easier to fund, simpler to maintain, and quicker to put up after the pier is rebuilt next year.
    “We want to talk about replacing what we lost as soon as possible,” she told the group.

    Nadel and others complain that mistakes were made in the design of a boathouse on Pier 96, and they don’t want them repeated on Pier 26.

    “Why aren’t they reaching out to the people who are running the programs to get input about what actually works?” said Taino Almestica, a kayaker with the Downtown Boathouse. For instance, Almestica said, the showers and changing rooms would require security that a volunteer organization can not offer.

    Chris Martin, a vice president and spokesman for the Trust, takes exception to the claims that the Trust has ignored community wishes, citing the involvement of CB1 and others in the process and the board’s 2002 resolution in support of the Trust’s concepts for the pier. He defended the “fancy” items criticized by the boaters, saying the boathouse is meant to be around for 50 years and has to “change with the times.”

    “A shower is not going to make or break the building of the boathouse,” he said. “If anything, it will make it better and more useable by more people.”

    Nadel has also been soliciting the advice of marine scientists on the future estuarium on Pier 26. She expects to turn the group’s recommendations for the boathouse and the estuarium into community board resolutions that will influence the final plans that go out to bid.

    Looking at the boathouse drawings so far, Nadel lamented that they are a far cry from the simpler former facility.

    “If we want to talk about the pier as a grassroots natural kind of place, this is ramping it up quite bit,” she said. “Whatever you had before is out the window and now you have something else.”

  14. #29

    Exclamation Downtown Express

    Larger restaurant would push some kayaks out of Tribeca boathouse
    By Skye H. McFarlane

    When Community Board 1 Waterfront Committee chairperson Julie Nadel started up a Pier 26 Task Force, she merely wanted to examine the details of the proposed park space and make a few suggestions.

    What she and the Task Force found in the current pier plans has the Waterfront Committee crying foul and demanding a seat at the Hudson River Park Trust’s design table.

    “I had no idea that I had literally opened Pandora’s box,” Nadel said Tuesday, after bringing the Task Force’s findings before the Waterfront Committee Monday night.

    According to advocates, the plans — which show a two-story, 229-seat restaurant surrounding a boathouse that is too small to store several types of kayaks — are symptomatic of the Trust’s seeming unwillingness to include the public in its park planning. Furthermore, they pointed out, the Trust may have violated two sections of the Hudson River Park Act in creating the plans.

    Nadel started the Task Force back in December after it came to light that there was no funding to construct the boathouse and estuarium on Pier 26, in the Tribeca section of Hudson River Park. Before the old, deteriorating piers in the section were closed for demolition in late 2005, the Downtown Boathouse organization had offered boat storage and free kayaking out of a basic shed on the pier. The River Project had run a similarly low-key educational center to study the Hudson River estuary environment (thus giving rise to the term “estuarium”).

    The Trust’s conceptual plan for the park’s Tribeca section has long included putting a boathouse and an estuarium back on the pier, with operators to be determined during a later bidding process. However, Nadel, who also serves on the Trust’s board of directors, had heard from friends in the boating community that the new boathouses built by the Trust farther upriver had problems. Boaters have said the docks are too high to serve kayakers, and the plumbing was not only expensive, but it doesn’t work very well because it is built on a pier, instead of on land.

    Nadel and the Task Force wanted to head-off such problems at the new Pier 26 boathouse. They also hoped to make the structure less expensive and more eco-friendly by eliminating frills like indoor showers and year-round heating. If there was no funding, Nadel said, then why not make some positive changes? But when Nadel asked to see the current plans for the pier, she was first told that the Trust staff could not locate the detailed plans. Later, according to Nadel, Trust president Connie Fishman said that the pier might receive additional funding from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which gave the Trust $70 million for the park’s Tribeca section. The Trust was ready to bid the plans out for construction on April 1 and therefore no changes could be made.

    The Trust did not respond to repeated requests for comment for this article.

    Eventually the Task Force was given access to the plans, which contained detailed renderings of the boathouse and restaurant, but no drawings of the pier as a whole and no renderings of the estuarium. Several Task Force members surmised that the lack of estuarium plans stemmed from an earlier, behind-the-scenes effort by Fishman to designate the Beacon Institute, a creation of former Governor George Pataki, as the estuarium operator. While Beacon had created some designs for the space — which were never shown to the public — the Trust itself had apparently produced no plans of its own.

    After viewing the plans, the Task Force decided that it could no longer merely make design suggestions. The Waterfront Committee agreed.

    “We should tell them to cease and desist,” said Linda Roche, referring to proposed April 1 bid-out.

    “We need to remind people that we had this pier taken away from us,” said Ro Sheffe.

    By the estimation of Jim Wetteroth, head of the Downtown Boathouse, the boathouse in the Trust’s plans is 30 percent smaller than the old Pier 26 boathouse. More critically, it is 9 feet narrower, with kayak storage slots designed to house boats up to 14.5 feet in length along both walls. While the space would be a tight squeeze for the open-top kayaks often used by beginners, it would not accommodate the longer, narrower boats used by more advanced paddlers. High-end kayaks can reach up to 18 feet in length.

    Beyond a unanimous desire for a more functional boathouse design, the group agreed that the 10,000-square-foot restaurant would gravely alter the use and feeling of the pier. While there was a restaurant in the conceptual plans that the Trust presented to C.B. 1 in 2002, Roche, who was the Waterfront Committee chairperson at that time, said that the earlier restaurant was much smaller and did not have a second story.

    A resolution passed by the board in July of 2002 affirms that point, as it mentions enlarging the pier’s second-floor “observation deck.” Additionally, a more detailed resolution passed by the Waterfront Committee in June 2002 expressed the desire that the restaurant be “secondary” to the pier’s other uses and not a “destination” eatery. Both resolutions expressed C.B. 1’s desire to collaborate with the Trust in developing more detailed plans for the Tribeca segment. However, according to C.B. 1 records, the Trust never brought any additional plans before the board until the Task Force demanded them in early 2007.

    As several Task Force members pointed out Monday night, the Hudson River Park Act, which created both the park and the Trust, states specifically that Pier 26 is set aside for park use. Any commercial activity on the pier, the act says, is to be “incidental to public use.” The act gives the examples of concession stands and information booths as incidental uses.

    “When you have 220-something seats in a restaurant, it’s not looking like a concession stand. It’s looking like a commercial establishment,” said committee member Albert Capsouto, a restaurateur with a background in architecture.

    The committee members said that the Trust’s lack of collaboration with C.B. 1 also violated the spirit, and possibly the letter, of the Hudson River Park Act. In the event of “significant action” such as a request for proposals or a lease-out, the act states that the Trust must present its plans both to the public and to the local community board, with 30 days advance notice. In general, the Trust is directed to have regular, “meaningful” consultation with the public and Community Boards 1, 2 and 4.

    On Monday, the committee passed a strongly worded resolution rejecting the Trust’s current plans, demanding that the Trust not bid out the plans, and insisting that the Trust’s designers work with “Pier 26 Task Force members as ongoing participants in every decision regarding Pier 26.”

    If the full board approves the resolution on March 20, Nadel said she plans to send a copy to her colleagues on the Trust’s board, as well as a slew of local politicians. She has also asked Fishman to come to the Waterfront Committee’s March 26 meeting to answer questions about the planning and funding of the pier. After opening Pandora’s box, Nadel, fittingly, is left with hope that the situation will turn out for the best.

    “The Trust could have saved a lot of money if they had just stuck to spirit of the park legislation and shown us the plans,” Nadel said. “But I think we caught it just in the nick of time.”

  15. #30


    With $70M spent, no money to reopen park’s Tribeca piers

    Downtown Express photo by Milo Hess
    A new sign seemingly directing Hudson River Park joggers and cyclists
    into the water might also be applied to the park’s current state of affairs.
    Officials no longer think they have enough money to rebuild the park’s
    amenities on Piers 25 and 26 in Tribeca.

    By Skye H. McFarlane

    There was a deep sadness in Bob Townley’s eyes as he looked out over the Hudson River Tuesday night. Out in the river stood two quiet fields of wooden piles, the decaying remains of Piers 25 and 26.

    “People miss what we had there,” Townley said of Pier 25, which he used to run with his organization Manhattan Youth. “We have to do whatever’s necessary to get it done and get them back on line.”

    Based on new estimates, the Hudson River Park Trust does not have the money to rebuild what he had on the piers. It will take a figure well over $20 million and several more years before neighborhood residents can return to play miniature golf, volleyball or soccer on the rebuilt Pier 25. Meanwhile, the Trust is embroiled in a dispute with local boaters and community board members over the design of Pier 26.

    Last summer, the community rejoiced as work finally began on the Tribeca segment of the riverfront park, also called segment three. In 2005, the Trust was promised $70 million from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. The money was meant to pay for the entirety of segment three, including the esplanade from Pier 40 down to Chambers St., sport and playground facilities and a marina on Pier 25, and a boathouse, eatery and river study center on Pier 26. The old piers were torn down in 2006.

    But as many Downtown construction projects are learning, $70 million just isn’t what it used to be. With the costs of construction skyrocketing, the Trust began to realize last fall that it would need more money to complete the piers. In October, Trust President Connie Fishman announced that there was no longer enough money in the budget to build the boathouse, estuarium or restaurant on Pier 26.

    Last month, she notified members of the park’s advisory council that the Trust did not have the money to build the playground and other amenities on Pier 25 or the upland area in front of 25 and 26.

    In a January letter to Community Board 1 chairperson Julie Menin, Fishman said she was confident that the new city and state budgets would contain enough money to build the Pier 26 boathouse. In an interview Wednesday with the Downtown Express, Fishman confirmed that the Trust received a combined $10 million from the city and state. However, that money may never make its way to Tribeca. If bids for construction in other parts of the park run over, Fishman said, then the money will have to be used to fill those gaps first.

    The park as a whole suffers, Fishman noted, because in-water construction can only be done from May 1 to Nov. 1. Each time another season passes, construction prices go up.

    “The whole project undergoes a cost penalty because we can only do certain projects six months per year,” Fishman said.

    Though she did not have any current estimates, Fishman said that the park as a whole still needs at least $120 million to finish its current projects. Segment three, specifically, needs more than $20 million — the Trust’s estimate of the cost overrun on Pier 26 alone. The Trust has applied for another L.M.D.C. grant and plans to apply for funds from the Port Authority, the State Department of Transportation and possibly the Federal government. The Friends of Hudson River Park group also does private fundraising for the park.

    As it stands now, however, the new Tribeca esplanade is slated to open in fall 2008. Around the same time, in-water construction on Piers 25 and 26 would be complete, leaving two blank, concrete-topped piers and an upland area of worn-down asphalt.

    Asked when that blank concrete slate could be filled in with buildings and recreation, Fishman said, “If someone walked in with a giant pot of money tomorrow, then the earliest [the piers could be finished] would be in early 2010,” a year behind the previous schedule.

    Absent the pot of money, Fishman said she wasn’t sure how long the project would take. However, she was hesitant to say that the community could use the blank piers for interim activities and for river views. She hopes that by the time the blank piers are in place, the Trust will have the money to begin the remaining construction.

    “If we knew it was going to be quite a while, we would consider it,” Fishman said of the interim use. “It would depend upon the schedule and, of course, what uses you’d be talking about.”

    Even though Fishman reports to the Trust’s board of trustees, one of its members, Julie Nadel, said Fishman never disclosed to her that there was no money left to build the field and play areas on Pier 25.

    Since the old Piers 25 and 26 were torn down, the community has been clamoring to reclaim the recreational and educational uses that they once served. However, issues with the Trust’s plan for Pier 26 prompted C.B. 1 to pass a resolution asking the Trust not to fund or build the structures on that pier until the design details can be revised with the board’s input.

    “Some people may think we’re crazy,” said Nadel, who is also chairperson of C.B. 1’s Waterfront Committee and a leader in the fight to redesign Pier 26. “But we just want to pause the process long enough to get it right. I think most people would rather have nothing than have something that’s really expensive and screwed up.”

    The community board is concerned that if money is found to build the current plans, the boathouse, would not be large enough to hold many of the kayaks it is meant to store. The estuarium has been removed from the plans completely, and a large commercial restaurant on the pier may not be in keeping with the Hudson River Park Act, which established Pier 26 as a “park only” area.

    Responding to those concerns Wednesday, Fishman said that the Trust would revisit its boathouse plans to see if it can make the desired changes. Fishman hopes that the kayaks can be accommodated by changing the boathouse’s internal layout, since moving the structure’s walls would require paying to redesign the building.

    The estuarium will be designed after an operator is chosen through a formal Request For Proposals (R.F.P.) process. The process, Fishman said, will ensure that the estuarium design can accommodate whatever tanks or machinery the marine study center might need. However, to build the estuarium later, the Trust will likely have to tear up part of Pier 26 a second time to install additional piles.

    As for the restaurant, Fishman insisted that it will be a family-friendly place that people would be “comfortable getting off their bikes, sweaty or whatever, to go in and eat.” Fishman said she’d like the place to have the same feel as Hudson River Café in Riverside Park — a seasonal outdoor eatery whose operators recently won a contract to put a café on Pier 84 in the Hudson River Park. The food vendor will also be selected through an R.F.P.

    Though the community would eventually be able to comment on both R.F.P.s, Fishman said that the community board would have to get permission from the Trust’s board of trustees if it wants to have a more active role in the R.F.P. process.

    In its March resolution, the board did ask for a more open park planning process and more community involvement — concerns that seemed to strike a nerve with the Trust and its supporters. Former Trust advisory council member Yvonne Morrow wrote a letter to this paper citing meetings between the Trust and the board and resolutions passed by the board in favor of the segment three schematic design (the board’s current questions concern the more detailed architectural designs). Fishman herself also sent out an extensive packet of information and old C.B. 1 resolutions to demonstrate the Trust’s commitment to community involvement.

    “The one thing that’s clear is that there’s been an unbelievable level of involvement with the community over the years,” Fishman said, though she admitted that some community members might be upset that their suggestions were not incorporated into the final design.

    Nadel said the new information does little to change what the community wants for the pier in the future — a functional boathouse; a modest, non-destination eatery; and a vibrant educational center built with community involvement.

    At least one member of the Friends group has voiced concerns that the community board’s current opposition on Pier 26 could hinder the park’s fundraising campaigns. Both Nadel and Fishman, who agree on little else, adamantly denied that claim, saying that government agencies do not consider such minutia in their funding decisions.

    Still, both sides want to move forward quickly to resolve their differences. On Monday night, Fishman and the Trust’s design team will appear before the Waterfront Committee to answer questions. Some committee members, including Nadel, also plan to meet with the designers at the Trust’s offices, to go over design plans in detail.

    Meanwhile Townley will wait and watch the river for the day (presumably May 1) when the barges will come to begin reconstructing his pier. He will continue hoping that the money will be there to finish. He said that the smaller design details can — and must — be worked out so that the community has a functional set of piers. The bigger picture is making sure that they get funded and built in the first place.

    “People have to dig in. It’s going to be about hard work in getting it done. Hard work with communication, openness, …and motivation,” Townley said. “If we have to, we’ll get the governor and the speaker and the officials involved and we’ll get it done.”

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