By Brian J. Pape, AIA
The on-going construction and locked gates to the surrounding walkways at Pier 40 have prompted readers’ questions about what is going on.
We’ve reported previously that this work is primarily for the repair and reinforcing of the hundreds of pilings that support the Pier 40 platform. Sometimes the contractor has to close off portions of the pedestrian areas so the work can be done safely.
Recently, a reader reported total closure of the walkway around the pier 40 structure. When I investigated, however, I found only two southern parts closed off, and signs showed the detour route to the kayak dock through the playing fields—still not a complete path, but lots of exercise.
When I went by there a week later, all gates and walkways were open. But later, a reader reported that the gates were locked again. We must conclude that the construction safety plans probably change from day to day.
However, that piling repair work may not be the only work being done. The draft legislation noted, subject to state approval, that an office building may be built up to 88’ maximum height, including mechanical structures on top of a building or between floors, and that office space up to 700,000 SF (plus up to 50,000 SF for HRPT offices) and up to 50,000 SF for operations space may occupy the building, for a total maximum of 800,000 SF.
The equivalent of sixty-five percent of the footprint of Pier 40 must be kept open for passive and active public use, provided that up to one hundred percent of this pier may be limited to park use by the general project plan. (Wouldn’t it be great if 100% could be limited to park use?)
Well folks, that’s a lot of load if it’s all built out to the limit, so those pilings better be good for a hundred years.
Brian J. Pape is a LEED-AP “green” architect consulting in private practice, serves on the Manhattan District 2 Community Board, is co-chair of the American Institute of Architects NY Design for Aging Committee, and is the WestViewNews.org Architecture Editor.