B.P.C.A. gives famed restaurateurs contract to develop Pier A


BY Terese Loeb Kreuzer

The fate of Pier A is now set; the Battery Park City Authority has awarded a contract to Harry and Peter Poulakakos and their partners, The Dermot Company, to develop the pier between Battery Park City and historic Battery Park into a restaurant, oyster bar with outdoor seating, event venue and visitor center.

The Authority’s Board of Directors voted to approve the Poulakakos proposal at its meeting on Tuesday, March 8.

The Poulakakos family owns Bayards, Harry’s Steak House, Ulysses, Financier Patisserie, Harry’s Italian, Vintry and Adrienne’s Pizzabar, all in Lower Manhattan. In collaboration with the Downtown Alliance, the Poulakakos’s are credited with pioneering the revitalization of Stone Street — the first paved street in the Dutch colony of Nieuw Amsterdam — when they opened Financier Patisserie in 2002 and Ulysses in 2003.

“We knew we were in the running for a couple of months,” said Peter Poulakakos shortly after the B.P.C.A. board meeting at which the contract was approved, “ but we didn’t know we had been awarded the contract until the vote today.” He said that his father, Harry, was “absolutely thrilled. He’s had aspirations for doing a project in Pier A for the last 50 years. He’s living the dream right now.”

Harry Poulakakos immigrated to New York City at the age of 18 from Sparta, Greece. His first restaurant job was at an ice cream parlor in Brooklyn. Later he went to work for other restaurants, including 14 years in managerial positions at Oscar’s Delmonico’s. In 1972, he opened his own restaurant, Harry’s at Hanover Square, in the basement of the historic India House building, where Harry’s Steak House is now located.

Pier A, which overlooks the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island — gateway for millions of immigrants to the United States — is the last of the 19th-century piers that once lined the Hudson River in Lower Manhattan. It was built for the New York City Department of Docks & Ferries in 1884-1886. A clock tower was added in 1919 as a World War I memorial. Pier A had been empty for years, with numerous aborted plans for its redevelopment, when, in 2008, the City’s Economic Development Corp. allocated $30 million to the Battery Park City Authority to renovate the pier and find a permanent tenant.

The Battery Park City Authority still has some structural work to do on the pier before it can be turned over to the Poulakakos’s.

“We don’t have an official timeline yet as to when the renovation work will be completed,” said Peter Poulakakos. He said that he thought it would take 12 to 18 months to complete work on the pier after the Authority finishes its work on the core and shell of the building.