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Know Your Piers

A pocket dossier of the city's most rec-friendly wharves.

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Illustrations by Andy Rementer  

Manhattan:

Pier A
Battery Park

Perks: Under construction.
One of the city’s oldest piers (127 years!) is long overdue for a makeover. The revamp, which begins in June, includes a new pedestrian plaza and a three-story building with an oyster bar and restaurant.


Piers 25 and 26
N. Moore St. and the West Side Hwy.

Perks: Consessions, picknicking, sports, skate park, playground, boating, boat docking, arts and entertainment.
At nearly 1,000 feet, Pier 25 is the longest in Hudson River Park (the stretch that runs from Battery Place to 59th Street) and one of the most action-packed (a miniature-golf course, snack bar, three sand volleyball courts, and a skate park). It’s also home to the Offshore Sailing School and a historic tugboat and steamship. Big things are in store for Pier 26 next door, including a new boathouse and restaurant, debuting in 2014. In the meantime, Bowery Presents will use the concrete slab to host a summer concert series.


Pier 40
Houston St. and the West Side Hwy.

Perks: Consessions, sports, dog run, fishing, boating
Lots to do here: Take advantage of free rowing sessions at the Village Community Boathouse or free kayaking organized by the Downtown Boathouse; get in the air at the Trapeze School New York; or keep steady on dry land in the Pier40Baseball batting cages.


Piers 45 and 46
Christopher St. and the West Side Hwy.

Perks: Concessions, sunbathing, ferry terminal, arts and entertainment.
By day, sunbathe on 45’s grassy lawns or throw a Frisbee on 46’s synthetic turf; by night, catch a concert on 45 (it’s home to the Sunset on the Hudson jazz series) or a free River Flicks for Kids movie on 46.


Pier 57
W. 15th St. and the West Side Hwy.

Perks: Concessions, public art.
Pier 57, a 440,000-square-foot former shipping terminal, will be a marketplace and mall by 2015. Until then, five pop-ups (including Fletcher’s Brooklyn Barbecue, Soludos Espadrilles, and Grey Area) will operate within repurposed shipping containers, opening May 31.


Chelsea Piers
W. 17th to W. 22nd Sts. and the West Side Hwy.

Perks: Concessions, sports.
There are plenty of options for nonmembers at this waterfront sports mecca: Take capoeira, rock-climbing, or parkour classes in the blissful comfort of air-conditioning, or chase a breeze with a sailing lesson or tee time on the riverfront driving range.


Pier 62
W. 22nd St. and the West Side Hwy.

Perks: Concessions, skate park.
A beautiful Lynden Miller–designed entry garden gives way to Pier 62’s lavish carousel, featuring wood-carved animals like harbor seals and turtles. This dock is also home to a skate park, built to echo naturally occurring geological forms.


Pier 66/Pier 66 Maritime
W. 26th St. and the West Side Hwy.

Perks: Concessions, sports, boating.
Pier 66 is a mariner’s dream, offering primo sailing, kayaking, kayak polo, and Polynesian-style outrigger canoeing. Drink like a mariner next door at the Frying Pan, a former lightship turned bar.


Pier 84
W. 44th St. and the West Side Hwy.

Perks: Concessions, sports, dog run, fishing, playground, sunbathing, ferry terminal, arts and entertainment.
One of the most jam-packed piers around, with bike rentals, an interactive science-themed playground, fishing clinics, and free rowing and boatbuilding programs. Entertainment-wise, look for MoonDance’s weekly tango, salsa, and swing classes, the RiverRocks concert series, and a “Rumble on the River” Muay Thai kickboxing match.


Pier 86
W. 46th St. and the West Side Hwy.

Perks: Concessions, arts and entertainment.
The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum has a full roster of summer events, like movie screenings on the Flight Deck and a three-day SpaceFest. On July 10, the Space Shuttle Pavilion, currently home to the Enterprise, will reopen after it was damaged by Hurricane Sandy.


West Harlem Piers Park
Henry Hudson Pkwy. and W. 135th St.

Perks: Public art, fishing, sunbathing, boating, arts and entertainment.
The piers, jutting out from this parking lot turned park, offer a kayak launch and first-rate fishing. The park itself, meanwhile, is booked with Zumba classes, swing lessons, a lunchtime concert series, and game days for kids.


Piers 15 and 17
South Street Seaport

Perks: Concessions, ferry terminal, arts and entertainment.
Though its titular museum remains closed post-Sandy, many stores have reopened, and summer plans include a pop-up park for movies and concerts. Smorgasburg offshoot SmorgasBar is setting up shop with food trucks and a full bar tucked inside a shipping container. Nearby, a multilevel structure also made from shipping containers will house boutiques and a rooftop bar. And wiggle your toes in the sand at the Beekman Beer Garden Beach Club.



Brooklyn:

Pier 1
Furman and Old Fulton Sts., Brooklyn Heights

Perks: Concessions, playground, sunbathing, boating, ferry terminal, arts and entertainment.
Of all the piers, 1 is the most refined, with its elegant lawns, Granite Prospect steps, classy concessions (like the Brooklyn Bridge Wine Bar), and highbrow programmingsuch as readings, opera, theater, movie screenings, and stargazing sessions with the Amateur Astronomers Association.


Pier 2
Entrance at Pier 1

Perks: Concessions, sunbathing, swimming, boating.
By late 2013, Pier 2 will have, among other things, an in-line skating rink. In the meantime, its uplands are the site of the three-and-a-half-feet-deep Pop-Up Pool, complete with a sandy beach, which reopens June 28. Look for free kayaking trips departing from a dock between Piers 1 and 2.


Pier 5
Furman and Joralemon Sts., Brooklyn Heights

Perks: Concessions, picknicking, sports, fishing, playground.
Pier 5’s new picnic peninsula offers hibachi-style grills, picnic tables, and spectacular views of Manhattan. Post-barbecue, grab dessert from the Ample Hills Creamery concessionaire or watch a soccer game on one of the multisport turf fields. For kids, there are tetherball poles and a futuristic-looking merry-go-round; for fishermen, multiple bait-prep and cleaning stations.


Pier 6
Furman St. and Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn Heights

Perks: Concessions, dog run, playground, sunbathing, ferry terminal, arts and entertainment.
Pier 6 is kiddie paradise: There’s “Swing Valley,” “Slide Mountain,” “Sandbox Village,” and “the Water Lab.” For adults, there are three sand volleyball courts, and, soon, a new outpost of Fornino pizzeria.


Pier at Transmitter Park
Greenpoint Ave. and West St., Greenpoint

Perks: Fishing, playground, sunbathing, boating, arts and entertainment.
Transmitter Park, once the site of WNYC’s radio towers, opened to the public last year. But now its grassy lawn, play area, spray shower, pedestrian bridge, and gardens have been joined by a recreational pier, great for fishing or a stroll.


Valentino Pier
Coffey and Ferris Sts., Red Hook

Perks: Concessions, sunbathing, boating, arts and entertainment.
Valentino is a fine place to embark on some free harbor kayaking, but it’s better known as the site of the Red Hook Flicks movie series. Screenings feature food from a rotating roster of local restaurants, like Fort Defiance and Pok Pok Ny.


What’s up, docks?
A handful of summer scheduling highlights.

Wanderlust Yoga in the City Festival at Pier 63 (June 9); the Village Voice 4Knots Music Festival at Pier 17 (June 29); the Gaslight Anthem with the Hold Steady at Pier 26 (July 28); Conte d’été screening at Transmitter Park (August 2); and Blues BBQ at Pier 84 (August 24).


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