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Eric Feigenbaum

Recognizing Opportunities and Reimagining the City

Pier 57 is one of New York’s hidden gems

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They come to New York in winter, spring, summer and fall, all flocking to the iconic landmarks like the Empire State Building, The Statue of Liberty, Broadway, The High Line, Central Park and, of course, the great retail venues: Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, SoHo, The Meatpacking District, Nolita and Madison Avenue. The really adventurous, however, also find the hidden gems.

Pier 57, sitting on The Hudson River at West 15th Street, is one of those gems. Opened in April 2023, it stands stoically as an homage to the maritime grandeur of Old New York and the power of vision and creativity that is inspiring the future of the Big Apple.

In the span of more than 100 years, the historic pier went through many iterations and varying uses. It was originally constructed at the river’s edge in 1907 as a shipping and storage terminal, while New York was becoming the country’s most important port of entry. In 1952, the aging dock was reconstructed by the NYC Department of Marine and Aviation. Two years later, the innovative engineering accomplishment, using hollow concrete caissons to support the main structure, was reopened as the terminal for the Grace Line steamship company. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Pier 57 is integral to New York City’s glorious history as the gateway to America.

Recognizing Opportunities and Reimagining the City

 

The beauty, power and allure of New York was built around its surrounding waters. With the October 26, 1825, opening of the Erie Canal, New York became the most important harbor in the country. Fast-forward to modern times: In a collaboration between Hudson River Park Trust, Google, RXR Realty, Young Woo & Associates, and Jamestown (a global real estate investment and management firm), Pier 57 was converted into a New York City destination with 350,000 square feet of commercial office space for Google, and a James Beard Foundation curated food hall.

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The James Beard Foundation philosophy, posted on an interior wall, reads, “Food is our common ground. A universal experience.”

With a focus on a more sustainable, diverse and inclusive food system, culinary offerings include Indian homestyle food at Ammi, Japanese cuisine at Besson, Italian food and wine at Due Madri, craft beer at Harlem Hops, Island BBQ and seafood at LoLo’s, and Mediterranean and Middle Eastern fare at Sahadi’s, among several other mouthwatering options.

Recognizing Opportunities and Reimagining the City

 

In addition to its international culinary delights, Pier 57 features New York City’s largest rooftop open space. The 80,000-square-foot rooftop park offers spectacular views of the New York City skyline, the dynamic harbor and the Hudson River. The rooftop park is open to the general public all year round and will also serve as an outdoor screening location for the TriBeCa Film Festival. As a community gathering place, visitors can indulge in art, music and environmental education. In addition to all of the community-based amenities, an on-site discovery tank allows visitors to learn more about the Hudson River.

Upon entering the reimagined architectural gem, visitors are greeted by its 300-foot-long entry ramp, originally designed to allow for vehicular access. Visitors are welcomed through a lengthy entrance, which guides them to a skylighted, double-height landing bathed in streaming rays of diffused light.

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This reinvigorated, historic part of New York’s infrastructure should serve as an example to developers, city planners, architects and retailers alike as to how hidden and often forgotten architectural masterpieces can be reimagined and transformed to better serve the community.

PHOTO GALLERY (8 IMAGES)
📷 ERIC FEIGENBAUM, NEW YORK

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