The Fishy New Design for Pier 26’s Playground

Last December, the Hudson River Park Trust presented an initial plan for Pier 26, the unfinished pier between N. Moore and Hubert. At the time, the playground to the south of the Estuarium had a “nest pod” motif. That’s gone, replaced by… a pair of sturgeon! I had to skip the September 19 meeting of Community Board 1’s Waterfront, Parks, and Resiliency Committee, when the new plan for Pier 26 was unveiled, but I got a copy of the presentation by landscape design firm Olin. (I’ll save the rest of the pier for a subsequent post.) Here are the slides that really show off the playground’s design. All of the images get larger if you click on them, which also allows you to view them as a slideshow. You won’t miss much by skipping my text.

First, an overview of the pier, to illustrate the playground’s location (in the top left corner). The cantilevered Estuarium building shown here is still a placeholder; the real design is forthcoming. The building to the south of the playground is City Vineyard.

The next 18 slides are pretty granular, so feel free to skip ahead to the juicier renderings.

There are two fish: an Atlantic sturgeon and a Short Nose sturgeon.

I don’t really mind having missed the presentation, except I do wonder what on earth the “swim bladder” is.

These are the juicier renderings.

Obviously, there will be informational signage about sturgeon and the river. According to the Tribeca Trib, the Hudson River Park Trust said that “construction will begin next year.” As for the estuarium building, the design is basically done; now the Trust needs to go fishing for a donor.



  1. “There are three important things to know about the swim bladder of a fish. The first (and the only one relevant to the fish) is that it operates like the air tank of a submarine, enabling its owner to submerge and rise to the surface at will.

    “The second is that, when extracted, dried and turned into a powder known as isinglass, it filters out unwanted particles in beer and wine, rendering those beverages drinkable but also unsuitable for vegetarians (a fact not widely broadcast by brewers or vintners).

    “The swim bladder’s third application may be even more significant: it can heal wounds. Not just normal cuts and grazes, either, but the kinds of ulcerous and persistent lesions that defy conventional treatments for weeks, months and, in some cases, even years.”

  2. very creative but it’s hard for me to conceptualize. a lot will have to do with the materials. it seems like too many hard surfaces and not enough moving parts. it’s a bold concept that needs more development.

    the fact that the eastward facing renders show the pier as if it were pier 25 facing north moore don’t help the presentation.

  3. Im sure kids would love this, but as a Mom, its a nightmare to bring your kids to a park and not be able to see them as they play. This structure provides many hiding spaces. This kind of planning should be done along side of caretakers that have practical input. Its not all about look, or wow factor to be a success for kids.