Another Beach Proposed for Lower East Side Riverfront at Pier 42

By Serena Solomon on May 10, 2013 3:50pm 

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 The city's Parks Department has presented two alternative designs for the long-neglected Pier 42.
Another Beach Presented for Lower East Side River Front
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LOWER EAST SIDE – The city's Parks Department has presented two alternative designs for the redevelopment of the long-neglected Pier 42, giving options that include floating marshes, a beach and room for an ice rink.

Parks Department representatives and architectural firm Mathews Nielsen, which is working on Pier 42's redesign, presented two plans to a Community Board 3 committee Thursday night. The pier at the end of Montgomery Street partially reopened to the public last Saturday while a permanent design is chosen and constructed.

Last week Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh proposed a updated East River Blueway plan that would include a sandy beach area below the Brooklyn Bridge.

"This plan [Pier 42] will fill in a missing link on the East River," Signe Nielsen, principal partner of Mathews Nielsen, said of both options that will include bike paths, lawns, waterfront access and a buffer hill between Pier 42 and the noisy FDR Drive.

At the moment, $14 million in funding has been secured for the redesign by local elected officials, but Lawrence Mauro from the Parks Department estimated completing the project would be in excess of $60 million.

The first option Nielsen presented leaned towards "active use" with the second option creating a more ecological approach and "interaction with the waterfront."

The first, known as the "Full Deck" option, would place a large amount of the park on a deck over the water.

"The deck has to be completely rebuilt to put these activities on top of it," said Nielsen, stressing the deterioration of the current structure.

The "Full Deck" option would also include a sanded beach section, a playground focused on water activities, a marsh and an ecological area as well as a plaza potentially used for fairs.

A large lawn area and sport fields would also be included.

The "Partial Deck" plan would create boardwalks and a floating marsh over the water with tiered steps to the river, Nielsen said.

"We have cut away sections of it where it is in its most deteriorated condition," she said, of the pier structure. 

Lawn areas would also be included, as well as a kayak-loading area and a plaza that could double as an ice rink in the summer.

Both would include a wharf for historic vessels.

"You don't have to go full tilt towards one option and not the other," said Nielsen, as the plan's designer and the Parks Department representatives collected written feedback from the committee and the general public at the meeting.

She said a final plan could incorporate elements from either the "Full Deck" or "Partial Deck" option.

An unofficial vote from committee members saw only one committee member voting for the "Full Deck" with seven or so members voting for the "Partial Deck" option.

The Parks Department and Nielsen will return to the Community Board committee on July 11.

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