The Odeon, Nobu, mini golf, ironwork, vintage lofts, views of the Statue of Liberty with the sun glinting off the Hudson River, the urban attributes of New York’s Tribeca are endless. But its latest, the ecologically themed Pier 26, is by far the most dynamic. The first Hudson River pier to open in a decade is the latest addition to the 4-mile-long, 550-acre Hudson River Park and includes a first-of-its-kind tide deck, a woodland walkway, lounging decks and pavilions, a sunning lawn, and children’s sports courts. Planned and designed with community input within the zone initially identified for 9/11 recovery, the $37.7 million pier now will serve as a vital open space resource for New Yorkers as the city works to recover from the ongoing pandemic.
Located between Hubert and North Moore Streets, Pier 26, designed by landscape architecture firm OLIN, intricately weaves active and passive recreation space throughout. The pier features a short habitat walk that leads visitors through five native ecological zones: woodland forest, coastal grassland, maritime scrub, rocky tidal zone, and the Hudson River.
The pier’s defining feature is its 15,000-square-foot tide deck, an engineered representation of a rocky tidal marsh that’s the first of its kind in New York. Planted with native shrubs, trees, and grasses intended to mimic the wetlands that once existed along the Hudson River shoreline, it’s part of a coastal area that regularly floods with the daily tidal cycle, giving plants and wildlife vital nourishment from the river. An elevated cantilevered walkway above the deck provides spectacular city and river views, while the deck itself will be accessible for guided tours and educational experiences led by the park’s staff. This important riverfront access point will help support the educational initiatives offered by the Hudson River Trust’s environmental education and scientific programming arm, the River Project, for more than 30,000 kids and adults every year.
Pier 26’s upland is already home to the City Vineyard restaurant and wine bar, and Downtown Boathouse, which has provided free kayaking for half a million people since its inception. These features, along with the pier infrastructure, were completed in 2013 as part of a previous construction phase with funding from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and the City of New York while the balance of the pier awaited additional funding. In the future, the upland area immediately east of Pier 26 will also include a specialized science-themed playground of more than 4,000 square feet, designed by OLIN and with play features by the Danish playground design firm Monstrum, which helped design Hudson River Park’s pipefish playground in Chelsea Waterside Park. The play area will include larger-than-life play features in the forms of native and endangered sturgeon species found in the Hudson River. The playground will join the Trust’s planned estuarium on the adjacent upland to complete the Tribeca section of Hudson River Park. The estuarium, a research and education center featuring live Hudson River fish to be run by the Trust’s River Project and focused on river ecology, is in its fundraising stage.