By George Capsis
Oh wow, a Crain’s New York article from April 24th quotes Hudson River Park Trust engineer, Steven Perker on just how they are going to encase the 3,600 corroded steel piles now shakily holding up the 15 acres of Pier 40 (the largest pier in the Hudson) to allow it to provide a stable platform for new and, hopefully, more profitable uses other than just parking cars.
The pier, finished in 1962 for the Holland American Line, allowed cruise passengers to drive and park at the pier and then walk with their luggage right onto the ship. The line served some 3,000 passengers a day before it moved up to midtown.
The piles for most piers, even today, use chemically treated wood, but Pier 40 used steel, and to avoid corrosion they induced an electric current, but when the Port Authority took over and got their Con Ed bill, they shut off the power and the corrosion started.
“Some of the holes are so big you can put your head through them,” offered engineer Perker. And pretty much every pile is weakened and some are compromised as much as 70%. Each pile is 100 feet with 80 feet buried in the mud as it heads down to bedrock.
The corroded pile is encased in a fiberglass sleeve and a water resistant mix is forced into the bottom pushing out the water.
1,000 piles can be done in a year so it will take four or five years to make Pier 40 100% secure.
To pay for all these repairs, Madelyn Wils, the Hudson River Park Trust president, sold $100 million of the Pier 40 air rights to several real estate development trusts that are now building a 1,500-plus apartment complex facing Pier 40 on what used to be St. John’s Terminal (three blocks long—it is big).
Yes, but once we know we have a section of the pier secure we have to get it to pay back its considerable costs, and Madelyn suggests offices and retail stores— oh my.
I mean, if you have 15 acres sitting way out in the Hudson with a view of the Statue of Liberty, why not luxury condos? Whoops forgive me, this may not be something the community boards would vote for so why not offices, which is what Madelyn suggests if and when they can get the city’s permission to do so.
But Madelyn has another suggestion: retail shops. Yes well, I talked HRPT into allowing a few farm trucks to try and sell in front of Pier 40 but not enough traffic. It did not work.
But just think of acres of space in the Pier 40 square donut becoming cheap retail spaces… it might work.