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Salt Shed Demolition Clears Way for Public Use of Hudson River Park Pier

By Danielle Tcholakian | February 19, 2016 10:18am
 The salt shed on the Gansevoort Peninsula has been demolished, clearing the way for the park to reclaim the pier for public use.
The salt shed on the Gansevoort Peninsula has been demolished, clearing the way for the park to reclaim the pier for public use.
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DNAinfo/Danielle Tcholakian

MEATPACKING DISTRICT — The salt shed at the Department of Sanitation site of the Gansevoort Peninsula in Hudson River Park has been demolished, moving the Hudson River Park Trust closer to their goal of reclaiming the pier for public use.

Friends of Hudson River Park, a fund-raising organization that works with the Trust to support the park, has been fighting to reclaim the pier from the city since 2010.

Contractors are now in the asbestos abatement phase at Pier 52, a Trust spokesman said. HRPT plans to issue a request for proposals from landscape designers to renovate the pier into a park with a rocky shoreline beach, a lawn to play on, and recreational boating areas.

The Trust had a contract signed with a demolition contractor as far back as April of last year, but the process was delayed while they waited for the Department of Sanitation to move their operations to new sites.

“They stayed there longer than they were supposed to,” Trust CEO and President Madelyn Wils explained at the time.

A Department of Sanitation spokeswoman said the agency has since relocated its salt shed to the new building on Spring Street, alongside two Manhattan district garages.

The newly built $20 million salt shed on Spring Street was unveiled to much fanfare in September, with its salt-inspired design by the firm Dattner Architects.

The Trust plans to preserve the remaining one-block stretch of a once-bustling Thirteenth Avenue, the only part that remains of what used to run from Bloomfield Street on the Gansevoort Peninsula to 23rd Street in Chelsea.

The park will be built on top of a controversial pipeline that has been pumping natural gas into the city since it was approved in 2013. Councilman Corey Johnson was arrested protesting the pipeline as a candidate, and artists renewed protests against it in 2015 when the Whitney Museum opened. (The pipeline runs near but not directly underneath the art museum.)

Also on the peninsula is Pier 53, which will continue to be closed for public access, used by the FDNY’s Marine Company One as a fireboat house and dock.

Pier 54 and 56 were recently torn down, though their pilings remain to prevent disturbance to the river’s ecology.

Plans for a new pier between the two, to be built with funds from Barry Diller and Diane von Furstenberg, are under review by environmental regulation agencies and facing a lawsuit from local civic groups and environmentalists.

Diller’s funding for the ambitious project, known as Pier 55, hangs in part on the development of the Gansevoort Peninsula into a park, as DNAinfo New York previously reported.