An Update on Hudson River Park

Yesterday afternoon, I checked in with Madelyn Wils, president and CEO of the Hudson River Park Trust, to see how the park fared during hurricane Sandy. As you might guess from these photos (sent in by Kim), there were concerns that Pier 25, in particular, wouldn’t be back to normal anytime soon.

“The good news is that the new piers help up very well,” said Wils. “Pier 25 looks bad, but it’s not as bad as it looks. It’s been cleaned up and the contractor is back working on the paving. And the playground, which sort of exploded, is fixable.” She did add the caveat that a marine engineer is looking under the piers to make sure there’s no structural damage. “If we’re structurally fine—and I think we are—it’s just a matter of money and time.” The timeline is impossible to determine because the FEMA application process is complex. As for Pier 26, the contractors are already moving ahead, and the esplanade reopened on Sunday.

And what about the park’s white elephant? “Pier 40 is never going to disappoint,” she said with a sigh. “A transformer is gone. We couldn’t turn it off ourselves—Pier 40’s equipment is too old—and we’re just grateful that Con Ed was able to get to it before there was an explosion. The equipment is not in good shape. It’ll probably need two to three weeks to repair. The first floor is flooded—all the offices are flooded, and oil spilled from an old boiler. The central court turf is damaged. A contractor is coming Thursday—unless the storm changes that—to asses if it’s savable.” Replacing it would be extremely expensive.

The two main ways you can help come back to time and money. A program for volunteers to help clean up started over the weekend, and Mulch Madness (“The entire park needs to be mulched”) kicks off this Saturday. Wils said it’ll probably be held on Wednesdays, too.

Money, of course, can be given at any time, and remember that unlike most other parks, the Hudson River Park receives no state or city support for maintenance and operations. “People can donate to general operations, to fix the Pier 25 playground, to the tree programs…” said Wils. “Just let us know.”

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