The West Side’s crown jewel Hudson River Park (HRPK) turns 25 this year — and as we patiently await the completion of Pier 97, the beloved green space will host hundreds of public events between May and November — including yoga, a barbecue and music festival as well as sunset salsa classes at Piers 76 and 84 in Hell’s Kitchen.
West Siders will soon have even more square footage to roam in than last summer, as the park has completed a two-acre rooftop park at Pier 57 (featuring a local food hall) and will soon complete the Chelsea Waterside Park as well as the Gansevoort Peninsula — Manhattan’s newest sandy beach, kayak launch, sports field, dog run and pedestrian plaza. Over in Hell’s Kitchen, Pier 97 is scheduled to open later this year, featuring an extended Clinton Cove Park with new water features, playgrounds, lawns and pedestrian plazas. W42ST has reached out the park for confirmation on Pier 97’s estimated opening date and will update if we hear back (currently the notice at the site says Summer 2023).
In the meantime, HRPK is planning a full season of festivities to celebrate their 25th summer on the West Side, telling W42ST “Nothing makes us happier than seeing our visitors enjoying themselves on Hudson River Park’s beautiful, landscaped piers,” President & CEO of the Hudson River Park Trust Noreen Doyle said in a statement. “Our 2023 calendar is filled with musical, science, dance, environmental and fitness programs designed to elicit smiles, sweat and tapping toes for every age group. We’re grateful to Hudson River Park Friends for supporting our 25th anniversary programming season and for enriching the Park experience for our guests.”
“From salsa to sunsets to sustainability, there are so many ways to enjoy Hudson River Park’s 25th anniversary season of performing arts, outdoor fitness, volunteering, science education and environmental stewardship out on our four miles of piers,” added Connie Fishman, Executive Director of Hudson River Park Friends. “We’re so excited to sponsor another year of outstanding free programs and events in New York City’s biggest water park.”
Here are a few of the summer and early fall activities planned for the West Side park:
ALL-AGES FUN AND LEARNING
Looking for a way to entertain young park goers? There’s plenty of free educational, interactive programming throughout the season suitable for all ages. In addition to regular Park Tours of the HRPK’s 400-acre estuarine sanctuary, historic vessels and Compost Center, the park offers access to their research aquarium Wetlab (featuring oyster toadfish, lined seahorses and blue crabs!) beginning June 4, with drop-in tours and Ask a Scientist sessions at Pier 40 June through October (Ask a Scientist sessions also occur at Pier 57). To close out the Wetlab season, HRPK will hold a Release of the Fishes celebration on October 26, when Wetlabs residents return to the river for the winter.
Over at Pier 57, in addition to Ask A Scientist sessions, wildlife enthusiasts of all ages can check out the park’s new virtual-reality powered Discovery Tank, which will be the site of guided tours, art workshops, trivia nights, classes and nature workshops throughout the season.
If you’re hoping to get really up close to the river’s fish, try your hand at Big City Fishing — Thursdays and Saturdays July through August at Pier 26 and Pier 51 — where you can attempt to catch one of the river’s 85 species of fish in HRPK’s catch-and-release program, with fishing lines provided!
Head to Pier 84 in Hell’s Kitchen for the SUBMERGE Marine Science Festival September 29 and 30, where the HRPK’s River Project team and STEM experts lead kayaking workshops, more fishing and wildlife exhibits, as well as Science Stations from environmental organizations around the city.
Closing out the season is the HRPK Pumpkin Smash at Pier 84 on November 4. While it may seem early to think about discarding next year’s Halloween Jack-O-Lanterns, it’s never too early to look forward to smashing your pumpkins — bats provided — and using the compostable material to fertilize the area’s plant beds.
If your first priority is to keep Hudson River Park a cherished resource for all, join friends and neighbors in volunteering at the HRPK Green Team — held May 20, June 10, June 24, July 15, August 5, September 16, October 28, November 18 and December 9 throughout the park. Volunteers will help park managers plant, weed, trim and mulch the area’s many lawns and gardens.
FITNESS AND DANCE PERFORMANCES
Ditch the pricey boutique fitness classes and try one of the park’s near daily Healthy on the Hudson series bootcamps. There’s Monday restorative yoga at Pier 84, Tuesday night HIIT at Pier 25, Wednesday yoga and HIIT at Pier 57 and Pier 64, Thursday HIIT at Pier 46 and Friday yoga at Pier 26 starting May 30 through Labor Day weekend.
Make this summer the one you learn to dance — or at least, go see some live! HRPK kicks off its boogie-related festivities with Sunset Salsa, Thursdays June through August at Pier 76. Expert instructor Talía Castro-Pozo — named “The Woman of Salsa” by Latina Magazine — joins fellow professionals to teach weekly workshops suitable for all skill levels. If Bollywood or Bhangra dance is more your scene, head to Pier 63 Saturdays June through August, where company members from the Anja Dance Company will lead accessible lessons for newbies and experts alike.
And if you’re more ready to clap than dance, there’s the free Hudson River Dance Festival June 8 and 9 at Pier 63, where you can take in performances from tapper Ayodele Casel, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, beatbox and hip hop company The Missing Element and contemporary Paul Taylor Dance Company as the sun sets over the river.
You don’t have to leave Hell’s Kitchen to take in a full summer’s worth of free music al fresco — first up, enjoy sunset syncopation at Jazz at Pier 84, playing every Wednesday from May 31 through August 30. If you’re up for a stroll downtown, try live performances from a wide variety of artists like the Queer Urban Orchestra, the Resistance Revival Chorus, Linda Diaz, Sterling Strings and Red Baraat at Sunset on the Hudson, Pier 45 by Christopher Street on Fridays June through September.
And for the ultimate combination of live music and food, head to the Blues BBQ Festival August 19 at Pier 76, where there’s a near full day line-up of set lists from Dwayne Dopsie & The Zydeco Hellraisers, Jackie Venson, Walter “Wolfman” Washington, Bette Smith and Don Bryant and dozens of local breweries and BBQ stands like Dinosaur BBQ, Bronx Brewery, Allagash Brewing and Blue Smoke.