Friday, January 09, 2009

Northside Pier Access Is
Like SO Five Days Ago...

5th street pier NOT open

FRIDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: New sign indicates park is Sat/Sun ONLY. Arrrrgh!

What is it about public waterfront access in Williamsburg that makes it about as reliable as Windows Vista? Northside residents waited almost a solid year after East River State Park was effectively complete before it opened in May 2007 - only to be padlocked last week due to state budget cuts.

Monday saw the long-delayed opening of the North 5th Street Pier - the first bit of what is eventually to become a public riverfront promenade behind many of the new high rise developments going up along Kent Avenue. The promenade is effectively a developer incentive - a zoning variance that in return allows Toll Brothers and the other builders to build taller buildings and make more money.

The pier was complete several months ago - benches, lighting - even a silly artistic "shade structure", but remained off-limits to the public while the Parks Department wrangled with the builder over safety issues before taking possession of the pier (under the 2005 rezone, the public promenade is owned and managed by NYC Parks).

But like so many things in New York, blink and you miss it: by the time we moseyed on down to the foot of North 5th to take a look Thursday morning, the city's newest 'park' seemed to be shuttered again.


We checked it out again this morning and found the same padlocked plywood doors (sans the castoff Trinitron) and no one around to ask what gives. The adjacent NYC Park Rules signage indicates the park closes at dusk (sadly, no night photos from this vista!); seems to imply that leashed dogs will be allowed (unleashed between 9 pm and 9 am, when the park is closed?!); but doesn't otherwise give the official park open hours.

We spoke to a contact at Parks who promised to look into the situation. We'll let you know what we find out...

FRIDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: New sign indicates park is Sat/Sun ONLY. Arrrrgh!


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