Heavy Lifting / Featured Fountain

Recently, a massive crane barge has appeared next to the Intrepid at Pier 84, along with some very interesting cargo.

Our initial assumption was that these complex objects would be part of an exhibit for the nearby Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, but word on the street is they have an even grander purpose!

These pieces are in fact rumored to be prefabricated sections of Vessel, a monstrous sculpture that will be the centerpiece of the Related Companies’ Hudson Yards project!

Renderings of Vessel (Source: Heatherwick Studio)

If you happen to stop by in hopes of viewing some truly heavy lifting, you may also consider visiting our weekly featured water fountain, located nearby on Pier 84.

This fountain offers NYC’s famous crystal clear water…

…and is also located just West of a very fun looking water park!

Additional Info:

Specifications for the Crane Barge, Columbia NY

News and Renderings of Vessel

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Construction Watch: 151st Street Pedestrian Bridge

Observers may have noticed some major milestones have been met in construction of the new pedestrian bridge at 151st Street.  The new bridge is projected to cost 24.4 Million Dollars, and will link Hamilton Heights with Riverbank State Park and the Greenway.

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Last Summer the project took a hard hit, as concrete foundations were found to be faulty and had to be removed and re-poured.  Now however, real progress is being made.

In the past week, steel beams have been set in place over the West Side Highway and Amtrak right-of-way.  No small task considering how busy these corridors are!


It also appears that grading of the approach switchbacks from 158th Street has been completed:

Additional Information:

Architect’s Newspaper Coverage of Construction Delays

Construction Watch – Super Pier

It’s a duck!  It’s a barge!!  It’s…. SUPER PIER!!!

During its construction in the early 50s, Pier 57 was dubbed the “Super Pier”, not only for its humongous size, but also for the novel engineering approaches that were employed in its construction.  Unlike most piers that bear their full weight upon their pilings, the Super Pier sits atop three cavernous concrete caissons that “float”, partially offsetting the pier’s weight with their buoyancy.

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An illustration of the Super Pier’s construction (Source: NYC Dept. of Records)

Pier 57 was built by the city’s Department of Marine and Aviation, which initially leased the pier to the Grace Line.  After about seven years, the shipping industry had changed drastically; the Grace Line moved out and the pier remained unused for about a decade.  In the early 1970s the New York City Transit Authority took over the pier for use as a bus depot.  By 2003 the pier was vacant again, and in 2009, the Hudson River Park Trust chose Youngwood and Associates to lead its redevelopment.  Youngwood planned to revitalize the pier with a retail space utilizing re-purposed shipping containers to create a retail bazaar.  Some may recall a small-scale pilot was opened to the public in 2010.  Unfortunately in October 2010, Super Storm Sandy struck, and Pier 57 was hit hard.  For many months following the storm, generators and pumps appeared to run constantly to keep the Super Pier afloat.

Flash forward to the present day, and significant progress is being made! Current plans include a new food hall run by celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, a rooftop park, and a commitment by Google to lease 250,000 square feet of office space.  The pier is bustling with construction activity, and passerby may notice workers taking concrete deliveries, removing windows and cargo doors, and replacing them with new glazing.

View of the Head House, with removed windows

A view of Pier 57’s North end, showing newly installed windows

With a targeted opening in 2019, we look forward to watching the Super Pier’s Super Transformation!

In other Construction Watch news, just to the South, work on Pier 55 is moving right along.  Last week, with a little help from a Barge Named Bill, workers began installing the bent caps that will support the approach walkways to the new park.

Additional Information:

Popular Mechanics Article describing Pier 57

The Villager Article describing the Construction of Pier 57

Pier 57 Redevelopment News

Construction Watch: Gansevoort Peninsular and Pier 55

In the past year or so, a significant amount of construction activity has been observed along the Greenway from Gansevoort Street up to 17th Street.  As users regularly negotiate Greenway detours, passing all manner of construction equipment, they may ask themselves, “What exactly is going on here?”  Let us investigate!

It may interest the reader to first review some history of the area.  It is well known that the island of Manhattan has been expanded past its natural boundaries over the years by using landfill.  This was true of the area North of Gansevoort Street, which once extended West to Thirteenth Avenue.  However, in an effort to create extended piers to accommodate larger ships, the city took the unusual measure of removing landfill so that the piers could be built without expanding the overall boundary of the city.

In the present day, the area may be divided into three distinct sections:  Gansevoort Peninsula, Pier 54/55, and Pier 57 (a.k.a. Super Pier).  This post will cover construction at Gansevoort Peninsula and Pier 54/55.  Super Pier will be covered in a future post.

Gansevoort Peninsula

Gansevoort Peninsula has long been occupied by the Department of Sanitation (DSNY), a.k.a. “New York’s Strongest”.  DSNY’s facilities on the peninsula included:

  • A salt shed to store salt used for salting roads during snow storms (recently demolished).
  • A “garbage destructor” facility, or incinerator, used to burn garbage. Later used as a garage to store and service DSNY equipment.  Shown to the right in the picture above.
  • A marine transfer station, which was used to dump garbage onto barges (partially demolished). Remnants are shown to the left in the picture above.

Gansevoort Peninsula is also home to FDNY’s Marine Company 1, who operate “The Busiest Fireboat in the World”.  Marine 1 is housed in the modern metal and glass structure shown in the center of the photograph above.

In an effort to reclaim the waterfront for public use, the City has worked with DSNY to build new facilities further inland that would free spaces such as these up for parks.  Plans were initiated in 2008 for DSNY to vacate the Gansevoort Peninsula so that it could be turned over to the Hudson River Park Trust.  This has been held up as the new DSNY facilities have been constructed.  Fortunately with the opening of DSNY’s new mega-garage and salt shed just a little farther South on Spring Street, demolition of the Gansevoort facility has commenced.

DSNY’s New Spring Street Facility

There do not yet appear to be any specific plans disclosed for the park, perhaps because they will need to be coordinated with two major challenges:

  • FDNY Marine 1 will remain just where it is, so the park will need to allow 24/7 access to this facility.
  • DSNY will not completely vacate the peninsula, and in fact plans to build a new marine transfer station on the same pilings that supported the existing partially demolished station. This new transfer station will exclusively handle recyclable materials.  DSNY estimates that as many as 30 trucks per hour will need to access the station, requiring an access plan that minimizes impact to the park.

Meanwhile demolition continues:

And from the looks of it, the Destructor / Garage is not long for this earth.

The Garbage Destructor

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The Garbage Destructor, Newly Built (Source: NYC Dept. of Records)

Just to the North of Gansevoort Peninsula is Pier 54, once home of the White Star and Cunard steamship lines.

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Pier 54 circa 1930 (Source: NYC Dept. of Records)

Though the terminal structure has been gone for some time, until recently the the pier itself was still in place.  It was only in the past year or so that it has been dismantled.  The only remnant is the original entrance gate, which was re-supported as part of the pier removal.

The Gate

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The Gate, in its Original Context (Source: NYC Dept. of Records)

Looking towards the water, however, the tops of new concrete pilings may be seen, providing a hint to future potential.  Behold the proposed Pier 55!

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Proposed Pier 55 (Source: Pier 55 Inc.)

This island oasis is estimated to cost in excess of 200 Million Dollars, and despite numerous legal battles is slated to open in 2019.  We look forward to observing its progress!

Stay tuned for our next Construction Watch installment, where we will investigate the notorious Super Pier!

Pier 57 a.k.a. Super Pier

Additional information:

The History of Thirteenth Avenue

DDC Request for Proposal for the new Marine Transfer Station

The History of Pier 54

The Development of Pier 55