By Brian J Pape, AIA
Even before the ‘soft’ re-opening of many enterprises in mid June, Pier 45 & 46 at Christopher Street to Perry Street had become a beehive of activity seldom seen before, more than the usual runners and walkers. During the pandemic closure of non-essential businesses, one industry category has discovered a creative outlet. Shut out of their gyms and clinics since March, physical trainers and therapists began appearing more and more.
At first, individual fitness enthusiasts would come down to work out alone or with one other person; weeks later, boxing instructors would spend hours training with two or three novices. But by June’s mild weather, the piers’ flat recreation areas were filled with groups exercising in unison, or in clusters.
Early mornings have a dominance of body-builders with lots of rubber cords for tension-resistance. As the morning wanes, groups of elderly or more frail bodies are getting tutored in stretching and light reps, under careful supervision.
Afternoons are a little different. On Pier 45, adult sunbathers crowd out everyone else on the luscious (real) green grass, while on Pier 46, it seem to be children’s playtime on its bordered artificial turf providing a smooth soft surface, accompanied by parents mostly, or an occasional nanny.
As the sun slowly sets over the Hudson River, adults return for brisk walks or runs, while others are socializing (at a generally proper distance) on the white circles painted on the green turf. For everyone coming down to the piers, morning, noon, or night, there is welcoming room for all kinds of active or passive sojourns there.