Neglected Lower East Side Pier Launches Summer of Art Installations

By Serena Solomon on July 19, 2013 11:43am 

LOWER EAST SIDE — The long-neglected Pier 42 on the Lower East Side will host a summer of art and public programming, launching this Saturday.

Called Paths to Pier 42, the art installations aim to draw residents to the newly opened pier near the intersection of South and Montgomery streets, by giving them a chance to help artists with their work.

"The whole idea is to get local residents involved with the arts along the waterfront," said Kerri Culhane, the associate director of Two Bridges Neighborhood Council.

On Saturday, residents will be able to help artist Mary Mattingly complete a drip irrigation system on the pier and join Jennifer Wen Ma as she uses Chinese ink made from charcoal to paint plants, Culhane said.

The public programming is one of the interim uses for the pier, which houses an abandoned warehouse and parking lot, as it awaits funding to be redesigned into a permanent park.

As part of the Lower East Side Waterfront Alliance, the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council aims to help residents be more involved in the city's plans to redesign the waterfront park.

Rep. Nydia Velazquez will kick off Saturday's event at 12:30 p.m. along with other elected officials.

In 2011, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer and state Sen. Daniel Squadron secured initial funding of $14 million for a permanent park at Pier 42, and design ideas including a beach, an ice rink and wetlands have already been presented to Community Board 3.

But until that redesign is complete, the pier opened to the public in May with picnic tables.

The art installations will be in place through Nov. 1.

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