Pier 1 in Brooklyn and Pier 57 in Manhattan Set for Development

Published on Dec 13, 2011

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One of the best things to happen to this town in the past couple of decades has been the (for the most part) thoughtful, democratic and welcoming development of New York City's long-neglected waterfront.

Residents of Manhattan and Brooklyn apartments all up and down the west side of Manhattan, as well as stretches on the East River, most notably in Lower Manhattan, and anyone living near the hugely ambitious remaking of the Brooklyn riverfront, have all enjoyed a dramatic increase in appealing, accessible open space near their homes, and so in the quality of their daily life.

And the story of the transformation of NYC's waterfronts is far from over. Just last week there was news that will effect residents of both Brooklyn and Manhattan, about the Hudson River Park and the remaking of Pier 57 (and so of particular intertest to those in Chelsea, the Meatpacking District, and the West Village), and about the next stage in the development of Pier 1 in the Brooklyn Bridge Park, of immediate import to residents of DUMBO, Brooklyn Heights, and Cobble Hill.

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Residents of Brooklyn within a mile of the East River should take note of the massive, mixed-use proposals revealed by the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation last week, which will forever change the way we all interact with that prime expanse of public land by the East River.

The plan here is to build a hotel, residential and, one would assume, retail complex directly below Brooklyn Heights and hard by the still-new Brooklyn Bridge Park, which has quickly become a prime relaxing/strolling/snacking space for residents of Brooklyn apartments.

Like all big development projects in such an extremely visible, much-loved space, the various visions for the new Pier 1 at Brooklyn Bridge Park, three of which are pictured here, generated not a little controversy, the focus of which are fears that such high-end new neighbors--the hotel (up to 225 rooms) and condos (up to 180 units) will strictly be of the luxury variety--will take over or somehow limit access to the public park.

Another fear of Brooklyn residents: that the designs are all a bit too mall-ish, which is the last thing the Brooklyn waterfront area wants or needs. Brooklyn residents and the public as a whole has only until December 22 to make their feelings known, at which point a design will be chosen, with construction slated to begin as early as next March.

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Meanwhile, residents of Manhattan in the Meatpacking District, Chelsea, and West Village communities received an update on the future of Pier 57, which many hope will turn the somewhat decrepit 900-foot pier at the western end of 15th Street into a retail, entertainment a park complex.

Even though the planned renovation and commercialization of Pier 57 has been in the planning (dreaming?) stages for nearly five years now, it seems like, this time, residents of the area should be ready for the project to begin for real. That's because Youngwoo and Associates submitted their $200 million design into the city's land-use approval process last week, the first step in an admittedly financially-challenging process to getting Pier 57 off the drawing board and onto the river.

And this design is something to be excited about, I think, for all Manhattan apartment residents, incorporating as it does an open-air market, complete with shop and  cafes (mostly using repurposed shipping containers, a la Lot-EK and their great Dekalb Market), as well as a permanent space for the Tribeca Film Festival, and a two-acre rooftop park and marina. Fingers crossed on this one.

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