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By Anthony Paradiso

Since I like to write about sports George asked if I would write on exactly which sports groups are using Pier 40, the biggest and commercially most important of the Hudson River Park park piers (some 15 acres). Before it’s corroding piles and falling concrete ceilings began the Pier was earning $6 million in parking fees.

George said: “It was attorney and WestView contributor Arthur Schwartz who filed to put sports on the pier some five years ago leveling out what was a truck parking area. However, after the turf had been laid down on the Pier’s four fields, the Board of Directors of the Hudson River Park Trust were required to invite developers to offer a plan use of Pier 40 in a way that would be attractive to the community and even to the city to generate money to pay for the up keep and operation of the whole park. (Somebody even suggested an aquarium).”

At least three formal Requests for Proposals were issued plus a flurry of informal ones but none were accepted so we are now looking at a very grim 88-foot high office building which will surround and permanently shade the playing field.

Does the community want and need an 88 foot office building along the beautiful biking, hiking and playing fields and park along the Hudson Trust property.   Isn’t the land use here perfect for outdoor enjoyment and fields for our community?  

I researched who is using Pier 40.   

There are the two colleges in the Village that rent the fields at Pier 40: New York University and ASA College. And here are all the high schools and middle schools that use the facility: Stuyvesant High School, Notre Dame, Friends Seminary, 75 Morton School and Bard High School.  The youth organizations that use Pier 40 are: Pier 40 Baseball, Greenwich Village Little League, Downtown Little League, Gotham Girls Football Club, Manhattan Kickers and theDowntown Unified Soccer League.

The Downtown United Soccer club is a youth affiliate of New York City Football Club, a Major League Soccer Club. A spokesperson for Pier 40 said this about the Downtown United Soccer Club, “they have more of a presence here than others.”

There is one professional sports team that plays at Pier 40 and that is the New York Knights of the USA Rugby League.

Everyone looking to book a field must pay a $25 application fee. Then a permit needs to be given to the renter. The permit is free for schools and youth organizations. The permit is $100 to adult groups. Each field can be rented out for one and a half hours during the week and for two hours on weekends, when the fields are more available.

For Villagers, Pier 40 remains a great option for the young and old to play sports. It has been here for 20 years and hopefully it will continue to exist as a place for the public to use.  Perhaps more fields could be added along with indoor sports facilities and that would generate more income.   Is it not reasonable to make private schools pay a bit more?  Can more parking space be created and the communities surrounding Pier 40 could pay market prices for parking?   And are all the offices inside rented at free market rates?   As Brian Pape, a contributing writer to WestView News said to me: “

“The Trust wants to build an 88-foot office tower on the Pier. The community doesn’t want that, because it’s an obstruction of the views, it’s a big block of construction that will create traffic, and the community wants to save the sports fields. So there’s this battle that’s going on and we don’t know how it’s going to end up.”

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