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Abandoned LES Pier to Open in May with Waterfront Picnic Tables

By Serena Solomon | February 26, 2013 7:48pm
 The view from Pier 42 toward the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges.
The view from Pier 42 toward the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges.
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Facebook/Daniel Squadron

LOWER EAST SIDE — The long-neglected Pier 42 on the southern end of East River Park will open to the public for the first time this spring, officials announced Tuesday. 

Politicians and community leaders are still developing a long-term plan for Pier 42 but decided to open the northern portion of the waterfront space in the meantime, officials said.

The newly resurfaced pier, which will feature picnic tables overlooking the East River, will launch May 4 with a community day celebration.

Pier 42's opening will also kick off a series of art, educational and design installations called "Paths to Pier 42," which will run throughout the summer along the East River waterfront.

State Sen. Daniel Squadron and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer secured initial funding of $14 million in 2011 to redevelop the pier, which currently houses an abandoned warehouse and a parking lot, in the hopes of turning it into a permanent public park at the intersection of South and Montgomery streets. 

"This interim recreational use on Pier 42 is a big step forward as we build the real, world-class waterfront park for which we've long fought and complete a Harbor Park — a central park for the center of our city," Squadron said in statement Tuesday. 

He promised to continue involving residents in the community planning process before finalizing a design for the permanent Pier 42.

In recent months, Community Board 3 and the Hester Street Collaborative, a local organization, have been discussing the possible future uses for the space with Squadron and the Parks Department.

The timeline for redeveloping Pier 42 is not yet final, and it was not immediately clear how long the interim public space on Pier 42 would be open.