Bush Terminal Pier Park to open by fall

July 17, 2014 Heather Chin
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Bush Terminal Pier Park will finally be ready and open to the public early this fall, by September at the earliest, according to the city Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), which must submit its work to the state for final approval before opening.

Once complete, the park, which sits on a former brownfield on the Sunset Park waterfront between 43rd and 51st Streets, will feature two sports/ball fields, a bike path, two restored tidal ponds, a naturalized area for exploring, an open lawn and comfort stations.

The newly created green space took nearly a decade to become reality, but is now “95 percent done,” said Lydia Downing, NYCEDC’s assistant vice president for government and community relations. Delays, said Downing, were caused by “unexplained depressions in the ball fields,” which have now been fixed.

The park is also elevated to a higher level than recommended by federal storm guidelines. However, swimming is not allowed and there is no word yet on whether fishing will be permitted, although the design “lends itself well to a soft launch” for future boating possibilities, according to a representative of the city’s Parks Department.

The park has only one entrance—at 43rd Street via a bike path that connects the 43rd Street bike lane to the park path.

There are no plans for ferry access as building a landing costs money that isn’t yet available, but Downing noted that the NYCEDC Is “open to continuing the conversation” regarding anything that the community would like to see in the future.

According to residents who attended a July 10 public information session, the current park design is a good start, but is lacking in amenities.

“I feel like more was promised than is being given,” said Johanna Bjorken. “Ballfields are great, but there is no playground for children and no plan for concessions in an area that has no proximity to [food] stores.”

“Yes, this isn’t the park that was originally presented because remediation costs were more serious than anticipated,” admitted Downing. “2005 dollars don’t go as far in 2012.”

However, a Parks Department representative suggested that temporary concessions could be brought in on 30-day rotating schedules.

In response to resident Diego Ibanez’s request to “use this park in a way that supports our neighbors [and] make sure that Manhattan vendors don’t monopolize the licenses,” the Parks representative noted that “there may be a way to weigh the decision process for local vendors.”

Also on the community wish list are child-friendly play spaces and water fountains.

Summer hours will see the park close at around 8 p.m., with fall/spring hours closing between 5 and 6 p.m., and winter hours closing at 4 p.m.

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