On the East River Waterfront

My friend Lisa and I took the new-in-my-book East River Ferry today, but before we get to that, let’s talk about the new-in-anyone’s-book East River Waterfront park, where we wandered after ferrying back to Pier 11 (Wall Street). The just-opened section of the park is directly north of the pier. Here’s what it looks like from the water.

Only the first two blocks of the new park have opened, but there’s a lot to admire—including the stair seating pictured above (more on that in a sec). Just north of pier 11 is a series of overwater catwalks; anything that gets me out of the shadows of the FDR is a good thing.

Stretched between one group of catwalks is “Shadow Garden/2000,” an artwork by Carl Cheng (sorry, “Carl Cheng, Artist”). At first I got a drowning/skull vibe that creeped me out, but Lisa pointed out how people were treating it like a coin toss, and I warmed up quite a bit. She brought out four pennies, and mine landed on a face on the first try. This probably wasn’t what Carl Cheng, Artist, was going for, but we engaged with the art—and discussed it—far more than we would have otherwise.

The steps I mentioned before appear to go right down to the water, which is cool even if it feels a touch ripped off from the High Line (where the second section, by the way, might be even neater than the first).

We admired the wooden seating, especially the chaise-like ones, wondering if we couldn’t have some engraved plaques made—with “Reserved for Tribeca Citizen and friend” on them—that might magically appear one day. The area under the FDR is sort of undercooked, though.

That bag was unattended, but I discreetly peeked in and it didn’t look like a bomb. We moved on to the dog run, which is borderline surreal, given the black-and-white patterns and the oversized squirrel, log, and bone.

Where’s Robert Mapplethorpe when you need him? All in all, I would’ve liked more greenery, and I tried to pretend the FDR was “sound art,” and yet I’d still call it lovely. I couldn’t help but shoot a pic (the second photo below, taken through a hole in the fence) of what is presumably part of the next section to open.

And only then did we realize that the seats by the water were bar stools! And that the railing was an actual bar! So we kicked up our heels and enjoyed the view.

I have pretty ankles, don’t you think?


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