Times and Tides Weigh on Hudson River Park

Problems at the incomplete Manhattan park, once seen as a model, include shrinking government subsidies and a lawsuit by Chelsea Piers demanding millions for repairs.

Comments: 18

  1. “It’s far more expensive to replace, repair and take care of these piers than anyone anticipated,” said Madelyn Wils.." Really? Was it a news flash to these people that marine pilings, whatever they are made of, are subject to a very harsh environment and must be looked after to remain strong and intact? Was nothing learned in centuries of piers in this area? Somehow they made it all work up and down the river edges 50 or 100 years ago without all of our modern engineering and high-tech, green innovations! Wow...

    While this is a great project, it is also sadly typical of low-ball government cost estimates. Anytime you see a large scale, multi-year project like this, you MUST assume that the figures touted by the proponents and politicians will be at least 50% off, as well as being served up with always overly optimistic time lines.

  2. News Flash: While your advice sounds good there is no one who didn't anticipate these potential problems. In order to get things done you would be a fool to overestimate the costs of something this scale. The westside park is almost as special as central park and its benefits to the city have been worth far more than its cost. Too bad property owners who have benefited greatly from it, couldn't pay a little more to keep in in good shape.

  3. What do you call the paved lane by the Hudson that take you eventually all the way around Manhattan? Or so they say. I walk along it from West nineties to seventies, stopping at the Boat Basin Cafe to eat or have a drink in summer. There are bikes, but they don't run you over the way they do in Central Park, and unlike Riverside Park you aren't interrupted all the time by having to cross streets. I found it once wandering down what I think is the Esplanade in Riverside Park, saw a lane leading down to the river and voila"! Delightful! But no one I've asked knows its name. It's QUIET even though the Hudson River Parkway is near.

    Another question: how to find a map of natural springs under Central Park? I see one on the east side of the reservoir and another on a bridle path below it towards 81st.

  4. "So yes, you have lots right, but the rate of oil extraction versus consumption is a figure we decide it to be based on what we extract based on rules and regulations."

    the greenway. the portion from 96th to 125th is the cherry walk

  5. Another problem is going to be rising water as climate change accelerates. The families could have stopped their squabbling earlier to visit the memorial before it's underwater. I wonder if the city is considering how to deal with rising water. This is not a green city. There could be solar panels on roofs to heat water. A friend in London has one on his house in Gloucestershire, higher latitude and less sun than here. LIghts are left on in stores all night. Ads are no longer just stationary. They have to be screens. Like the ones the TLC insists on having in the back of cabs that drive everyone nuts. They could be at least off until turned on. The off site is far from always in the same place. And one driver told me they exude radiation. If so, will the TLC pay for my cancer bills?

  6. The issue of the piers deterioration has been discussed publicly for years. The marine borer issue has received quite a bit of attention in press especially when it is linked to the improved quality of the water. Chelsea Piers knew what is was getting into when it leased the space. It took a calculated risk that the return on investment had merit. Now it wants a bailout, just like, ahhh, let me see, it's investment cousins a few miles away. For it's part, the city and state knew of these same issues so the damage to the as yet commercially undeveloped piers cannot be a surprise. A precursor to this was the almost collapse of part of the FDR Drive some years back due to age and marine deterioration. Why is everybody being so disingenuous?
    Perhaps the artful opponents of Westway can come up with a creative resolution since they bear some responsibility for what was eventually developed.

  7. Chelsea Piers operates a highly lucrative, highly obnoxious, and surely illegal billboard aimed at the West Street Boulevard. Billboards are not allowed within 900 feet of NYC's parks and parkways -- now expanded to include all arterials. How did CP's bilboard get approved, and isn't it time to revisit the permit??

  8. The Bloomberg Adminstration is particularly fond of funding and touting all sorts of "new" programs and getting lots of PR and "credit" - but without any interest in actually funding the ongoing operation and upkeep (boring after all) or without mentioning all the programs which were defunded to pay for the shiny new one!

  9. Everyone is stalling to see if someone else will be the one to pay the piper. In the meantime, I'm reminded of a headline from May 2000:

    "3 Killed and Dozens Are Hurt As Philadelphia Pier Collapses"

    I imagine the death toll might be a lot higher on one of these Hudson River piers.

  10. Thanks NYT for the informative piece.

    As a frequent user of this park, I was unaware of challenges behind the scenes; All shiny and new, it had struck me a project for which the kinks had likely been worked out long ago.

  11. The usual rich suspects want a government bailout. What a surprise.

    Socialism for the rich, cut-throat capitalism for everyone else.

  12. While pilings can only be replaced by professional marine construction companies I imagine that a lot of people would not mind volunteering their time and energy for repair and maintenance work on the piers.

    The downtown piers used to have a strong community flavor that is now gone and missed by everybody who ever sat their foot on the old Pier 25 (N.Moore St) ... or visited the floating Pier 63 (at 23rd ST).
    They were a magic, open-space antidote to the soulless commercial venues at the Chelsea Piers.
    Can't we at least have one pier that is not polished and leased out to pay for the overpriced rehabilitation and maintenance? We need an waterfront lab where the community can just be, mingle and play and work....and volunteer.

  13. Everyone wants a state bailout and everyone keeps procrastinating.
    What else is new?
    Trickle down blame game, that's the Wall St legacy.

  14. it's an interesting question... if you lease a house for $3,000 a month and sign a lease that says you will be responsible for all repairs does that make you liable for a million dollars of foundation work? you have to read the fine print....

  15. http://www.thisisamericansoccer.com/soccer-culture/one-last-chance-for-mls/

    Plenty of new borer resistant pilings composites in use now, including in NYC. I recommend using with a Pier 40 Major League Soccer "small stadium" plan I wrote at a soccer writer's blog early last year. Soccer people got it, well connected neighbors didn't read it thoroughly enough to see it emphasizes park space, public use, and 24/7/365 youth public fields under the stadium. The Trust didn't even have the courtesy to respond.

    NYC and NY State have the nerve political will to make large scale plans possible for well connected developers all the time. Why not address one for Pier 40 that has the possibility/probability of operating and windfall revenue for the corridor, in perpetuity? The plan: 1.) Sells no city or Park Trust property to private owners, instead leasing a Pier 40 stadium to Major League Soccer. 2.) Creates community park space, athletic space, and commercial space, all within the 50% public/private threshold set by the Trust. 3.) Creates money enough for repair and development from multiple year pre-lease of luxury boxes for a New York Major League Soccer team.

    Each new lease period auction brings windfall income, on top of operating revenues from all sources. HRPT needs to have one meeting with Major League Soccer, and convince them that new construction is a bad idea when you have windfall profit waiting, and in Manhattan. It can work better here than London.

  16. How were the piers taken care of during the 1600's and the 1700's?

  17. Repair park facilities, protection of historical relics, can make the city more vitality, add beauty to the city
    I hope NY splendid.

  18. this article misleads a bit. I know a little bit about Hudson River Park. I worked on it as an architect for 4 or 5 years, including overseeing80 or 90 million dollars worth of its construction. The article makes it seem as though piers built for the park are having problems. Commentor George S appears to have read it that way. The new piers are built with large concrete piles driven to bedrock, usually in the footprint of demolished older piers that had decayed wood piles which were cut and left for marine habitat. There was/is a lot of money spent on wildlife studies. The new piers should last easily a hundred years and I'm likely way short guessing the expected lifespan. The piers discussed in the article are old piers, between 50-100 years old, with wood and/or steel pilings that decay or corrode. The new construction in the park is very low maintenance. Pilings from the 20's and 30's (I believe Pier 40 is about that old).... not so much.