Nosy Neighbor: When will that last section of HRP open up?

J. wrote: “The pandemic has reminded us how valuable parks space is and because of social distancing requirements, every square foot of park space is more vital than ever so folks can spread out safely. Like a lot of downtowners, my use of Hudson River Park has greatly increased during the COVID era and I was wondering, when is that last inland section of HRP at N. Moore Street slated to be completed and opened up? With Pier 25 always so busy and now the new Pier 26 getting a lot of visitors too, it’s made me notice even more the construction shed and cars parked in the undeveloped section between those two piers and the West Side Highway.”

That upland space J. is talking about, currently fenced off between the walkway at the bulkhead and the bikeway, is scheduled to be what the Hudson River Park Trust has long called an estuarium — a made up word but a practical one meaning a structure and a program to study and celebrate the estuary. The plan has its roots in the preservation and enhancement of the river’s ecology, as well as the Trust’s mission to educate the public about the river. The area would also include a playground that would teach kids about the river through play.

The Trust has several million dollars set aside for the estuarium, but it needs more to complete the construction of the building — which Tribecan and celebrated architect Rafael Viñoly at one time offered to design for free — and the area surrounding it. “The estuarium will depend on whether public funding becomes available again,” said Madelyn Wils, the Trust president. “The science playground will be funded through public and private funding.”

Several years ago the Trust issued an RFP for the opportunity to build and run the estuarium; Clarkson University, a STEM research university with campuses in Potsdam, Beacon and Schenectady, won the bid in partnership with the New York Hall of Science in Queens, but was never able to put its plans into action.

Meanwhile, the Hudson River Park Friends has launched a capital campaign for the playground. They have $800,000 to date, said Connie Fishman, its executive director, and a $1.3 million match from Tribecan Mike Novogratz, the chair of the Friends board.

The Friends hopes to have the funds raised by the end of this year (get out your checkbook!). Construction could then start in 2022 and the playground would open the following spring.



  1. Thanks! I had been wondering this myself. I am not clear though: will it be a building or a playground? A playground would be so unfortunate imo, with one already a few feet away. If it is though, hopefully it will not be what you are showing here.

    In such a key location, a proper café with a generous terrasse, would be welcome. I do not believe there is such a thing in Tribeca yet (?). And the existing two restaurants on each pier do not cater to 30 mn coffee breaks, quick soup/sandwiches. A cafe could be added to the southern end of the Estuarium perhaps. Great name btw.

    A Vinoly-designed pavilion would make for a great terminus to N. Moore.

    • Sorry if not clear: it’s a playground and a building. The playground is intended to be a companion piece to the estuarium, which has an education component as its primary mission. The play piece is intended to enhance that. Pier 26 has a restaurant and that, by state regulations, was put out as a competitive bid won by City Vineyard. There are two other grab-and-go cafes: one at the minigolf building and one at the entrance to the skateboard park.