Reader Services

Join our forums | Email our editor | Report Distribution Problems

Read our previous issues

Volume 73, Number 15 | Aug. 13- Aug. 19, 2003


Chelsea Piers’first review

Now that the Chelsea Piers sport complex’s lease is in the review stage pending its 10-year lease renewal option next year, it gives a chance to reflect on this development that has dramatically changed the West Side waterfront and which is a major part of the Hudson River Park.

When Chelsea Piers was being contemplated and designed there were many criticisms, and tradeoffs, such as the loss of view corridors to the river and loss of public space in front of the piers’ head houses. Since then, park advocates have fought to limit commercial activities by Chelsea Piers Management, such as boats with certain types of commercial activities.

Yet, Chelsea Piers has been a great success. It has defied skeptics who predicted it would fail. Here, one can find children and parents enjoying world-class gymnastics facilities, duffers driving golf balls into the night, a top health club, adult soccer and basketball, friends getting together at a microbrewery or for bowling or just to gaze out at the water contemplatively.

But the 10-year renewal is a good moment for a little housekeeping, such as removing the unpopular electronic sign on Pier 61. Chelsea Piers had promised to take it down, according to Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, when Chelsea Waterside Park was completed. Yet, now they say they’ll take it down when the park west of Route 9A is completed. Why not do it right now?

Chelsea Piers has drawn thousands to a previously desolate area to enjoy its attractions and our great waterfront. But the complex must operate within the bounds of the Hudson River Park Act. It’s up to the Hudson River Park Trust, with the help of park advocates, to insure that happens.

Ferry emissions need regulation

A recently released report by the Bluewater Network environmental group on diesel ferries’ emissions levels has renewed concern about this form of pollution and the loophole that allows it to persist even as lower emissions have been mandated for buses and construction vehicles.

Of particular concern is the interim ferry terminal located just a few dozen feet away from the grass lawn and playground of Rockefeller Park in Battery Park City, both areas in which young children play.

Diesel exhaust is a likely carcinogen, the federal Environmental Protection Agency reported last year. While federal clean air standards for boats are set to go into effect in 2007, existing boats have a 15-to-20-year window to keep operating.

Twenty years to wait for clean emissions on the water — even the two years that the temporary slip will be near the playground — is too long. The Port Authority must step up its monitoring of the interim ferry site, and report back quickly to the community. And Governor Pataki, who has worked to clean up the Hudson River and has already acted against diesel emissions in the W.T.C. rebuilding effort, must move to rectify this ticking health time bomb.