Thursday, May 25, 2006

In the News: After Almost 50 Years, New Harlem Piers Are Rising

Public access continues to improve along our region's urban waterfronts and natural coastlines. These areas provide recreational opportunities and create places for waterborne transportation to connect the "blue link" system. Some areas have taken longer to benefit from increases in improved access, especially those adjacent to low-income communities. Recently, New York City unveiled its plans for Harlem Piers that will bring fishing and other recreational opportunities to the local community writes the NY Times in the article below. JB

By Timothy Williams
Published: May 12, 2006

Maritta Dunn remembers, as a child in the 1950's, walking with her family to the Harlem Piers to watch ferries travel across the Hudson to Palisades Amusement Park. Although her family was not allowed into the amusement park because they were black, they liked to go to the piers to watch people board the boats.

The Harlem Piers, once a bustling transportation center and recreation attraction at the western end of 125th Street, were demolished nearly 50 years ago. But after years of plans to revitalize the area, construction is under way on a new set of piers on the Harlem waterfront scheduled to be completed next spring.

For Ms. Dunn, restoring the piers has been a lifelong campaign.

''I've been waiting 45 years for this to happen and I wasn't going to die without seeing this through,'' said Ms. Dunn, the former chairwoman of the local community board and one of the project's chief advocates.

The $18.7 million publicly financed project calls for two piers to be built on the Hudson River between St. Clair Place and West 135th Street. One will be used as a dock for excursion boats and water taxis, while the second will be reserved for recreation, like sunbathing, and for fishing.
In time, regular ferry service, a kayak launching area and a small restaurant may be added, officials said.

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