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Hudson River Park Trust Cans Plans For Boozy Beer Garden on Pier 62

By Gwynne Hogan | November 25, 2015 6:34pm | Updated on November 26, 2015 3:52pm
 The trust canceled its plans for a beer garden on Pier 62 on Wednesday.
The trust canceled its plans for a beer garden on Pier 62 on Wednesday.
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Courtesy of the Hudson River Park Trust

CHELSEA — The Hudson River Park Trust canceled its plans for a beer garden on the quiet Pier 62 on Wednesday following mounting opposition from community members and local elected officials, according to a letter sent to the community board by Madelyn Wils, president of the trust.

Merchants Hospitality, the company that the trust had selected to run the beer garden, was set to present its liquor application to the full community board on Dec. 2, but the company has agreed to withdraw its application, according to Wils.

"It was certainly never our intention to cause so much tension and controversy with what was intended as an amenity concession," Wils wrote. "All along, we believed a family friendly beer garden would be a desirable use in an underutilized section of the park."

The trust's plan for a beer garden dates back two years, but first reached the community board officially earlier this year, when Merchants applied for a full liquor license with a 300-person capacity.

Vehement opposition sent Merchants back to the planning phases and when they began the application process for a second time in early November, they had agreed to eliminate bleacher seating, decrease capacity by 100 people and open the space to the public during 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Despite their concessions, the proposal drew harsh criticism from community residents who fundamentally disagreed with the idea of carving out public space for a private restaurant and who said that the quiet nature of the pier was precisely what drew them to it in the first place.

Critics of the plan lined up to share their oppositions at two public hearings earlier this month.

Local elected officials including State Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, State Sen. Brad Hoylman, City Councilman Corey Johnson and Borough President Gale Brewer soon added their voices to those of the community.

Save Chelsea started a petition against the beer pier late Monday night and it had roughly 100 signatures within a day. By Wednesday afternoon, the trust agreed to can its boozy plans for the pier. 

"Some projects are not worth pursuing," Wils wrote.