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Press Release

NYCEDC and NYC Parks Open Final Phase of Pier 42, Delivering 8 Acres of Waterfront Open Space in Lower Manhattan

Jul 03 2024
New York City Officials celebrate the opening of Pier 42 open space at a ribbon-cutting event.

Opening the 2nd Phase of a Long-Awaited Revitalization Project, Including New Upland Park and Restrooms, Totaling a $33.6 Million Investment

Kicking off the Holiday Weekend and Mayor Adams’ “Summer of Possibility” Announcement to Expand Free Cultural and Parks Events, Open Beaches and Pools, and More This Summer

NEW YORK, NY—Today, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and NYC Parks cut the ribbon on Pier 42 Phase 1B, the final phase of the project. Located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, between Montgomery St. and Jackson St, this new waterfront open space is a part of a larger Pier 42 revitalization effort and consists of an eight-acre upland park and restrooms, representing a $33.6 million investment made by the City of New York. Phase 1B will deliver much-needed continuous recreational waterfront access to the Lower East Side and will serve as an important public amenity, replacing a former parking lot and warehouse situated on the pier deck. Pier 42 is an interagency effort led by NYCEDC, NYC Parks, and NYC Department of Design and Construction.

Highlights of today’s opening are:

  • Separate play areas for different age groups (2-5 and 5-12) with a variety of programming including play equipment, synthetic turf hill, climbing features, musical play elements, water feature activated by touch-bollard, and swings
  • Sports courts situated on pier deck (soccer field, tennis courts, half-sized basketball courts) and an adult fitness area
  • Comfort Station with a green roof
  • ADA compliant bathrooms with changing stations
  • ADA compliant water fountains
  • Solar powered security lighting
  • Backed benches and informal landscape boulder seating with spaces for companion seating throughout the park
  • Open lawn picnic areas
  • A variety of different planting typologies complement the adjacent programming.

“With today's ribbon cutting at Pier 42, we celebrate a great achievement in making New York City's waterfront more accessible to all who live, work, and play in the Lower East Side,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development, and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer. “This project is a model for how effective interagency collaboration can bring economic, environmental, and quality of life improvements to communities.”

“The transformation of Pier 42 establishes a benchmark for integrating green and environmental infrastructure into our urban areas, prioritizing sustainability through native plantings, flood risk mitigation, and biodiversity enhancement,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue. “Thanks to the remarkable collaboration between NYCEDC, LMDC, HUD, and the tireless advocacy of community members, this $50 million investment has revitalized this crucial waterfront, once occupied by warehouses and parking lots. I am confident that Pier 42 will now be a favorite Lower East Side destination for fun, recreation, and social interaction.”

“Pier 42 represents a major step forward in expanding open space and waterfront access for New Yorkers,” said NYCEDC President & CEO Andrew Kimball. “This remarkable capital project will not only improve quality of life for New Yorkers but expand opportunities for New Yorkers to enjoy spectacular views on the East River. Investing in resilient coastal projects improves the quality of life for Lower East Side residents and continues to make New York City a great place to live, work, and play.”

“Pier 42 sits at the nexus of DDC’s two largest coastal resiliency projects, ESCR and BMCR, which together cost $2 billion and will protect more than 150,000 residents from the type of damage experienced during Sandy,” said NYC Department of Design and Construction Commissioner Tom Foley. “But we’re not just building flood walls and gates – we’re using this as an opportunity to improve recreation. To the north, ESCR is making improvements to five parks and to the south BMCR is creating new rec areas all the way to the Brooklyn Bridge. Together with EDC and our partners at Parks, we are demonstrating a future of coastal resiliency design that is responsive to residents’ needs.”

“I’m thrilled that Lower East Side residents and visitors have a beautiful new park with waterfront access. This total revitalization from an industrial warehouse and parking lot to open, green, recreational space is an incredible investment in a healthier, more equitable Manhattan,” said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. “Plus, any initiative that adds to New York’s public bathroom stock is a win.”

“We’re excited to celebrate the opening of this great public space along our waterfront. Pier 42 is a great example of turning over public land to the public and making the best use of our waterfront,” said Councilmember Christopher Marte. “This is perfect timing for neighbors to use throughout the summer and stay cool by the water.”

“The revitalization of Pier 42 has been a long-time priority for the Lower East Side community, and I’m thrilled about the opening of the Upland Park, a recreational and green space that will improve wellbeing and quality of life. This park is another example of how the city government is delivering for the Lower East Side, having been secured as a commitment in East Side Coastal Resiliency project negotiations,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera (D-02).

“Parks and recreational open spaces are vital public amenities that enhance and foster vibrant communities,” said Assemblymember Grace Lee. “This project at the Lower East Side’s waterfront will provide badly-needed accessible and enriching recreational spaces for our residents. I commend NYC Parks, EDC and DDC on completing this much-needed project and look forward to enjoying the newly opened spaces with the rest of the community.”

“As we stand on the threshold of a new chapter for Pier 42, we are reminded of its storied past—from a bustling cargo pier receiving millions of bananas to a symbol of industrial decline. Today, thanks to the tireless advocacy of our community, we celebrate its transformation into a vibrant public park. This ribbon-cutting is not just about opening a space; it's about honoring the spirit of resilience and collaboration that has driven the Lower East Side for generations,” said Manhattan Community Board 3 Chairperson Andrea Gordillo. “Pier 42's revitalization represents a $33.6 million investment in our neighborhood's future, providing continuous waterfront access and recreational opportunities. It stands as a testament to what we can achieve when we work together, envisioning a greener, more connected community for all. While we rejoice in the completion of Phase 1B, our commitment does not end here. We will continue to advocate for the full realization of the Pier 42 master plan, ensuring that our vision for a fully accessible and inclusive waterfront is achieved for the benefit of all residents and future generations.”

“Our vision for Pier 42 was to transform eight acres of neglected urban decay into an engaging and sustainable space for one of New York City’s densest and significantly underrepresented communities,” said Signe Nielsen, Principal at MNLA. “By integrating native plantings, bio-swales, and solar lighting, our goal was to create a park that enhances ecological value while simultaneously providing a dynamic space for recreation and relaxation. Today, the project proudly reflects our commitment to environmental stewardship and community engagement, setting a standard for urban green spaces. We are grateful to the NYC Economic Development Corporation, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, and all our partners for their collaboration in making Pier 42 a reality, benefiting the residents of the Lower East Side and all of New York City.”

“LiRo-Hill would like to congratulate NYCEDC and the NYC Park’s Department on the opening of Pier 42 Park,” said Richard Cavallaro, CEO LiRo-Hill. “It was a pleasure to work with the project team and our contractors to bring this project to fruition. We hope that the residents of the Lower East Side and all of New York City enjoy this beautiful Park for years to come.”

Pier 42 also contributes to New York’s clean energy and sustainable infrastructure goals by transforming a once paved area into a public park that includes opportunities for stormwater infiltration through the softscape areas, restrooms with a green roof, native and adaptive planting, total solar lighting, and re-use of on-site granite material within the playground. Designs based on Waterfront Alliance standards align with NYC’s East Side Coastal Resiliency project (ESCR), aimed to reduce flood risk and protect coastal neighborhoods. Pier 42 is directly adjacent to the southern portion of ESCR and once complete these two projects will be separated by a multi-purpose pedestrian pathway. Pier 42’s design includes resilient floodable landscape components and restrooms that are elevated outside the current 100-year floodplain.

Pier 42 is a two phased project. The first phase, completed in 2019, involved partial demolition of an existing 100,000 square feet vacant shed which provided the community with immediate waterfront views. In between the two phases, NYCEDC also delivered the recreation deck in November 2022 which revitalized the empty deck space with one full-sized soccer field, four full-sized tennis courts, four half-sized basketball courts, and fitness equipment. The pier deck construction was expedited to alleviate construction impacts from ESCR and provide direct waterfront access to the Lower Manhattan community and beyond.

The revitalization of Pier 42 began in 2012, spearheaded by the Lower Manhattan Development (LMDC), an organization created in the aftermath of September 11 to coordinate the revitalization and rebuilding of Lower Manhattan. The effort included extensive community outreach, which resulted in the development of the Pier 42 Master Plan, which was completed in 2014 and provided a long-term vision for the transformation of the pier. With funding from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), LMDC partnered with NYC Parks to envision, design, and implement pier improvements. Pier 42 had been the site of an underused parking lot and an abandoned and decaying industrial/warehouse pier no longer being used by the City, blocking public access to the waterfront.

The renovated pier is another component of New York City’s Vital Parks for All program, launched in June 2024 to protect existing park facilities, expand access to underserved communities, and equip New Yorkers with information to enjoy, celebrate, and support their parks. Vital Parks lays out the ways NYC Parks is investing in our city’s living infrastructure: the public parks, greenways, pools, playgrounds, nature, recreation centers, and public programs that host the civic life of our city and make our communities healthier, safe, and more livable.

New York City Economic Development Corporation is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization that works for a vibrant, inclusive, and globally competitive economy for all New Yorkers. We take a comprehensive approach, through four main strategies: strengthen confidence in NYC as a great place to do business; grow innovative sectors with a focus on equity; build neighborhoods as places to live, learn, work, and play; and deliver sustainable infrastructure for communities and the city's future economy. To learn more about what we do, visit us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.