Pier 26 in Hudson River Park was formerly a concrete slab. Its recent claim to fame may have been as the destination of the 2015 New York City Dîner en Blanc, a pop up party attended by 5,000 people. Now, it has been completely redesigned by landscape architecture firm OLIN. Open today, Pier 26 in Tribeca is nearly unrecognizable. In fact, it is Hudson River Park’s newest pier in a decade.
The star design element of the new Pier 26 is the 15,000-square-foot “Tide Deck.” According to Hudson River Park, the Tide Deck is “intended to heighten awareness of the wildlife and habitat found within the Park and the Estuarine Sanctuary included within its borders” and includes indigenous plantings to represent various local coastal communities. It’s intended to make you have a sense of what the coastline of Manhattan may have looked like before the advent of urban development. There is a short habitat walk that will take you through five ecological zones: woodland forest, coastal grassland, maritime scrub, rocky tidal zone, and the Hudson River.
Pier 26 has some design similarities Hunter’s Point South Park, another recently opened waterfront park that not only actively embraces the landscape but makes a concerted effort to bring back the ecology of what has been lost. In both, the daily tides flood newly planted wetlands. Like the Long Island City park, there is a cantilevered walkway that serves both form and function, allowing for the wetlands to grow beneath while providing views of the landscape.
In terms of things you can do on Pier 26, there is a sunning lawn, a sports court for kids, and lounge areas to enjoy the view — much like the other piers in Hudson River Park. Closer to the West Side Highway, you’ll find City Vineyard restaurant and wine bar and the Downtown Boathouse for kayaking. More is coming for Pier 26, with a science-themed playground in the works and an estuarium.
The renovation of Pier 26 cost $37.7 million, through funding by Citi, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, the City of New York and New York State’s Environmental Protection Fund.
At the Meatpacking/Chelsea border, Hudson River Park is also completing Little Island, a new futuristic pier designed by Thomas Heatherwick which should open next summer, the redevelopment of Gansevoort Pier (which used to have the former 13th Avenue), and the redevelopment of Pier 57.
When visiting Pier 26, keep walking up Hudson River Park to join us for our tour of the Edge Observation Deck and Hudson Yards: