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Long-awaited Pier 35 park debuts on the Lower East Side

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Designed by SHoP and Ken Smith Workshop, the park is part of the city’s East River Waterfront Esplanade project

Photos courtesy of SHoP Architects

After many years and several false starts, a long-promised piece of parkland is finally open on the Lower East Side.

SHoP Architects announced last week that Pier 35, an “eco-park” on the East River waterfront, is finally open to the public. Designed by SHoP and Ken Smith Workshop, Pier 35 is part of the city’s East River Waterfront Esplanade project, a two-mile open space that stretches between the Battery Maritime Building and Montgomery Street.

The Pier 35 project had been in the works since 2011 but it was pushed back several times, as we previously reported, because of Hurricane Sandy and negotiations between city agencies.

The park and “urban beach” features landscaped lawn and dunes, a 35-foot-tall and 300-foot-wide plant-covered folded screen wall, and a raised porch with swings that face the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges. The pier also features “Mussel Beach” a 65-foot shoreline designed as a habitat for blue and ribbed mussels, with “sloping precast concrete surfaces, textures, and rockeries in the tidal zone,” according to SHoP.

“The creation of this unapologetically urban landscape was truly a collaborative effort with the city, the design team, the construction management team and their consultants, and the community,” project director Cathy E. Jones said in a statement. “The new eco-park provides the passive recreation space requested by the local residents, as well as the vertical visual effect of the vine wall that acts as a green billboard to the city.”