‘What’s old is new again’: NYC Parks celebrates the redesign of Waterside Pier

DA8_0852_082621_New Wave Pier
The redesign of “New Wave Pier” has transformed the grey, underutilized concrete walkway into a colorful waterfront space.
NYC Parks / Daniel Avila

On Monday, NYC Parks celebrated the redesigned Waterside Pier along Manhattan’s East River Esplanade. 

The redesign of “New Wave Pier” has transformed the grey, underutilized concrete walkway into a colorful waterfront space. The pier spans from E. 38th to E. 41st streets. The esplanade offers views of the East River and neighboring Long Island City, Queens. 

“What’s old is new again,” said Gabrielle Fialkoff, NYC parks commissioner, in a press release from NYC Parks. “Our retro-fitted Waterside Pier is the perfect spot for New Yorkers to take a stroll, have a picnic, or bask in the East Side’s scenic views of the river. This project advances our commitment to making sure the community has access to quality open space while ESCR (East Side Coastal Resiliency) construction is underway.” 

Waterside Pier before renovations were made. There was nowhere to sit or any green space to enjoy.NYC Parks / Daniel Avila
The newly designed pier.NYC Parks / Daniel Avila

The renovation project gave New Wave Pier a colorful new design, new passive turf areas, picnic tables and new signage. 

“Designers took inspiration from the bright colors and quirky patterns of the 1980s to bring some fun nostalgia to the pier,” the release said.  

The small signs along the waterfront railing translate “Wish you were here” into more than 25 of the languages spoken in New York City. The signage was inspired by the nearby United Nations Headquarters.

“The enhancements at Waterside Pier represent progress in our goal for a continuous greenway along Manhattan’s East Side,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera in the release. “My Council colleagues and I requested these improvements and other open-space mitigation opportunities in advance of the resiliency projects on the waterfront to ensure that the City maintains – and in the long term expands – access to recreation and enjoyment at new or revamped sites in our communities.” 

The upgrade is part of NYC Parks’ open space mitigations responsive to the community’s need for supplemental recreational resources during the East Side Coastal Resiliency. 

“The East Side Coastal Resiliency is a $1.5 billion park improvement project that will save lives and provide much-needed flood protection for more than 100,000 New Yorkers in the area,” the release said. “Parks also recently installed three new turf fields at St. Vartan Park, Robert Moses Playground, and Peter’s Field.” 

The redesign was also partially inspired by the success of Parks’ Cool Pools NYC initiative.