What is currently a “sea of asphalt”, in the words of NY State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Rose Harvey, will soon morph into a full-fledged construction site. In 2020 the Hudson River Park’s first ecology themed pier will open with “something for everyone” – with woodlands, wetlands, and even soccer fields.
Diana Taylor addresses the crowd
The renovation of Pier 26 has been a long time coming. Deputy Mayor Alicia Glenobserved, “projects like this have to transcend politics”, a statement corroborated by Hudson River Park Trust Chair Diana Taylor’s note that four different Governors have served New York State since she joined the Trust in 1999. While it is true the lifetime of a project of this undertaking is longer than that of any one administration, its success is still woven tightly to participation from many different sectors of the government. This was evident by the presence of representatives from the State and City, as well as from our neighborhood’s own Community Board 1. As Holly Leicht, Chair of Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), put it, the renovation of Pier 26 exemplifies “how we should be doing government more often”. Of course, public funding and involvement was not enough on its own. Citigroup INC. and LMDC each contributed $10 million to the project.
State Senator Brian Kavanagh, Lower Manhattan Development Corporation Chair Holly Leicht, Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick, Hudson River Park Friends Chair Mike Novogratz, Hudson River Park Trust President & CEO Madelyn Wils, Congressman Jerry Nadler, Hudson River Park Trust Chair Diana Taylor, New York City Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, Citi CEO Mike Corbat, and New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Rose Harvey
State Senator Brian Kavanagh, one of the last to speak, cleverly noted, “we’re at the point in the program where everyone has been thanked, but everyone hasn’t been thanked by everyone”. Perhaps the lesson to be learned is that recognizing and appreciating the contributions of each team member is an essential part of any collaboration.
A highlight of the groundbreaking was the visit from an oyster toadfish in the Hudson River Park’s one and only Roving River – a tank on a bicycle. This creature is the apex predator of oyster beds, and therefore plays an important role in promoting biodiversity. Not only are oyster toadfish plentiful in the Hudson River, but they have even traveled to space as part of a study into the effects of microgravity on balance systems. It is evident there is much to learn from the environment surrounding us, and the Hudson River Park’s transformation of Pier 26 will only make this easier.