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Governor Andrew Cuomo took the stage at a star-studded Tribeca Festival lunch to get the opening of Pier 76 underway this afternoon. He chatted with New York A-Listers Whoopi Goldberg and Robert De Niro (who was sitting in an armchair, recovering from a recent leg injury).

Whoopi Goldberg greets Governor Cuomo at Pier 76 this lunchtime. Photo: Phil O’Brien.
Governor Cuomo chats to a seated Robert De Niro, who is recovering from a leg injury. Photo: Phil O’Brien.

This afternoon at 3pm, the Governor cut a ribbon to formally open the former NYPD Tow Pound to the public. It was the threat of a $12 million parking ticket by Cuomo that finally got NYPD to depart Pier 76 in January. Since 1998, the state and local pols had been trying to force the police to move their Manhattan Tow Pound from 12th Avenue and W36th Street, to give over the five-acre site to community open space.

The southern side of Pier 76. All Photos: Phil O’Brien.

As well as getting a sneak peek of the stars, we also managed to admire the river views north, south and west from the pier. Hudson River Park has created signboards on each side to help orientate visitors unfamiliar with the west side vista.

Looking west as a standup paddle boarder passes by.
Looking north up the Hudson River from Pier 76.

In less than 5 months the pier has been transformed, and today the only ticket in sight will be for those lucky enough to be attending the world premiere of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights in the northwest quadrant of the site at the Tribeca Festival.

The stage is set on Pier 76 for the Tribeca Festival.

The skin of the tow pound has been entirely removed, leaving a steel skeleton. The structural framework for the building has been repainted in New York State colors, with a large Excelsior State Seal. Planters have been added to the area and a recent addition has been a propeller from the SS United States.

The stage is set on Pier 76 for the Tribeca Festival.

Cuomo said before the ribbon cutting: “”What this Pier 76 says is yes you can reimagine what you want to see, and you can do it. This is the greatest state on the globe with all the potential or the talent. If you dream it and if you commit yourself to it, you can do it. That’s Pier 76. We’re going to take this moment in history, with this unity, with this strength, and we’re not rebuilding. We’re going to re-imagine the New York that never was and we’re going to make it a reality.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo at Pier 76.
Entertainment from acrobats and the vintage John J Harvey Fireboat.
Governor Cuomo and team cut the ribbon at Pier 76.
Local officials and the team that built out Pier 76 listen to Governor Cuomo at Pier 76.
Governor Cuomo in celebratory mood poses for a selfie.
The propeller from the SS United States installed at Pier 76.
Governor Cuomo chats to guests including Alan Steel, CEO of Javits Center.
A jazz duo and folks on stilts entertained the first visitors to Pier 76.

Join the Conversation

4 Comments

  1. What was done with the United States Lines lettering that was on both the river and street sides of the pier shed?

  2. The painting of NY State colors halfway up the columns is ridiculous. Are we in the high school gymnatorium??? I applaud the arts being involved. But, hello…scale? It’s a 5 acre site and you hire a duo singing and a few acrobats? I’m happy the artists have income but come on! Seems like an afterthought. And lastly: does anyone else envision hanging plants trailing down from all of those horizontal cross beams? I can see a forest of green and a sophisticated drip irrigation system.

  3. You GO, Gov! The battle to make this pier a park began more than twenty years ago,
    and all it took finally, was a Governor who wanted to get it done.
    Thanks, Andrew – it’s beautiful, free, and ‘for the people’.

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