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Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today that Pier 76, previously used as the NYPD Tow Pound, will be available as a public open space this summer — maybe as early as June 1.
The work to get the space ready for the public started this week and could be seen from the cycle path and the river. Cuomo described the space as “probably one of the most valuable pieces of real estate in Manhattan.”
“What we’re going to be doing is stripping down the tow pound, taking the roof off, taking the sides off and just leaving the steel frame — turning it into an open space for the west side of Manhattan,” said Cuomo. “It’s going to be architecturally interesting because the steel skeleton will remain, but it will be an entirely open recreation area.”
The Governor stressed that this would be “an interim step for the pier.” It will be used as a recreational open space until the Hudson River Park Trust starts a series of planning and community meetings to come up with a long-term redevelopment plan.
The 5.6-acre site — the size of two football fields and double the size of nearby Pier 86 — will become a centerpiece of the 4.6 mile stretch of Hudson River Park. In January, urban planning expert Tom Fox voiced concerns that “focusing on an interim solution would be a mistake.” The renderings below from the Governor’s office show the proposed interim structure.
NYPD vacated the site in January, and although it brought back nostalgic memories for many, the move was seen as long overdue after the police had been asked to make “best efforts” to move out over 20 years ago.
The pier fits in with much larger plans that Governor Cuomo has for “a new New York City”. At his State of the State address in January, he heralded a $51bn reimagining of Manhattan Midtown West that will “spread east to Broadway and west to the Hudson.”
Lowell Kern, Chair of Manhattan Community Board 4 (MCB4) told us: “MCB4 is excited that Pier 76 will be available for use this summer. The steel beams that remain may limit the proposed interim uses that the Board discussed last November. We look forward to visiting the site and seeing what interim uses will work.”