In the News: An Argument Against the Pier 40 Deal

St Johns rendering courtesy COOKFOX••• Michael Sorkin makes a convincing argument against the current plan to sell Pier 40’s air rights to a massive development across the street. Even though it’s not in Tribeca, I’ve been including coverage of the plan on this site because (a) Pier 40 is an amenity people around here use; and (b) a development as large as the one proposed will certainly impact the area to the south. Anyone interested in how these things work—and whether the community is well-served by the plans as it stands now—should absolutely read the essay. You can start a third of the way through, at the paragraph starting “Like Brooklyn Bridge Park, Hudson River Park is administered by a trust….” —Architect’s Newspaper

••• “In the late 1970s, David Wojnarowicz found himself a capacious studio. The walls were crumbling, the floors rotting and the windows broken, and it had no electricity or running water. But it had harbor views, proximity to night life and few restrictions. It was the old Ward Line shipping terminal at Pier 34, atop the Holland Tunnel, and having been neglected by the city it was pretty much his for the taking. He invited friends like Mike Bidlo and Kiki Smith, who spread the word to others. By 1983 it had become a sprawling collective that attracted an international coterie of artists and impresarios (and, inevitably, the police, who shut it down later that year).” There’s a show about the art on the pier at the Hunter College Art Galleries (205 Hudson). —New York Times

••• “Across Lower Manhattan several times more people contributed to Hillary Clinton than had plumped for past Democratic nominees. In the zip code covering Tribeca (10013), for example, the study found that, while less than 200 individuals typically donated to the Democratic presidential nominee in past cycles, more than 600 gave to Hillary’s campaign this year.” —Downtown Express



  1. Ug. As a former far West Village resident Mr. Sorkin’s argument makes me nuts. What they’re discussing is a falling down, waste of space that could be massively better served if it was redeveloped and reinvigorated. His argument against these types of private/public projects is especially maddening. Yes, it would be lovely if NY could afford to fund a public space for everyone, but if the city is sitting on an extra $100 million dollars there are far more critical places it could go than the park where comparatively wealthy people hang out. Private partnerships are the only feasible way to make it work. And lamenting the destruction of warehouses, a pier that’s about to fall into the river and the air rights that are only viewed from the UPS shipping center. WTF? Of course there are cases where developers don’t hold up their end of the bargain (like the ‘public space’ at the new development on Murray and West street). But in a development that’s literally across the street and will rebuild the pier and presumably make better use of that public space than as a parking garage with a few sports fields. I honestly cannot fathom the objection except by people who have no understanding of money and/or long for the days of a more industrial, falling apart metropolis.