The lack of space in large cities is a reality as pressing as the need to have more square meters of green lungs, but also open places for people to enjoy and relax outside. In the search for a solution, New York is committed to recovering old infrastructures and giving them a new life; and even though there are hardly any old factories and buildings left to transform, piers have become the latest target of urban planners, architects and designers.
After the new project (already underway) that will turn Pier 54 on the Hudson River into a 12,000 square meter floating park, which was once used by the shipping companies Cunard and White Star (and also by the brand new Titanic to disembark passengers), Pier 97 will follow.
New York urban design and landscaping firm Melk is in charge of the transformation, which will start next February and is expected to be completed in 2024.
Over a space of more than 12,000 square meters, the upcoming floating park on the abandoned pier will install pedestrian and cycling paths, as well as different activities and services designed for people of all ages: from a playground to a small botanical garden, including an urban garden and a skate park.
According to those that approved the design, the complex will also encourage the circulation of users through carefully designed routes while providing impressive views of both the park’s landscape and the Manhattan skyline.
Park, Orchard and Views
The idea is to connect the green spaces with the rest of the development that is revitalizing the riverbank, known as Hudson River Park, and integrate it into already finished developments, which will be linked through a bike lane and another one for pedestrians.
As a whole, the park stretches over 6.4 kilometers in the western side of Manhattan and, according to those in charge, attracts more than 17 million annual visitors.
Pier 57, another of the piers recovered with this program, located to the north of Little Island, is about to complete its works. By the end of 2020, and despite the delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Pier 57 will have mixed-use, with space to house Google offices but also cultural and recreational activities, including City Winery, a facility that combines wine tasting with excellent views to the river.
For its part, Pier 97, where the Swedish American Line ships that connected Gothenburg and New York between 1915 and 1975 docked for decades (although cargo operations lasted until the 1980s) endured a fire in 2010 that devastated the historic terminal. The process to transform it into a public park is estimated at $38 million dollars.