A Look Back at the Renovation of Historic Pier A in Battery Park City




A birds-eye view of Pier A in BatteryPark, with view of historic clock in the tower

Pier A in Battery Park City is New York City’s last remaining historic pier. Extending 300-feet into New York Harbor, the Pier underwent a massive renovation, which was completed in 2014. Here we take a walk around and above this historic site.

Pier A and lower Manhattan

The Pier was constructed between 1884-1886 by the city’s Department of Docks with use shared by the Police Department harbor patrol until the 1950’s when it was taken over by the New York Fire Department’s marine division until 1992.

Pier A Harbor House in Battery Park

It was thought that the Pier would become a public space after the Fire Deparment’s marine divine left. However, the Pier remained vacant, with renovations delayed for many years, and the Pier falling into massive disrepair.

Take a look insidePier A in Battery Park

The Battery Park City Authority stepped forward in 2008 to take on the project. The restoration of the three-story structure included the addition of a beautifully designed bar (pictured above), restaurant, visitors center and public promenade.

Outdoor seating along the side of Pier A looking back toward lower Manhattan

Nicknamed ‘Liberty Gateway,” the $40 million, 28,000-square-foot, restoration has spectacular financial district skyline and waterfront views, as well as views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

This part of lower Manhattan has a plethora of fun places to visit within walking distance, including the historic Fraunces Tavern and Museum, National Museum of American Indian, The Battery Urban Farm, Castle Clinton, Seaglass Carousel, and a wonderful walk along the Esplanade on the Hudson River past the Museum of Jewish Heritage to One World Trade Center’s Winter Garden at Brookfield Place, and beyond.

Indicated shoreline of Battery Park in 1886

The pier was expanded in 1900 and again in 1919, with a clock installed in the Pier’s tower as a memorial to 116,000 U.S. servicemen who passed away during World War I. The clock, a ship’s clock, was donated by the founder of United States Steel. It is said to be the first World War I memorial erected in the United States.

American Merchant Mariners’ Memorial located next to Pier A in Battery Park

The sculpture, American Merchant Mariners’ Memorial by artist Marisol Escobar, sits next to Pier A. The bronze, pictured above, depicts four merchant seamen on their sinking vessel, one of them in the water after an attack by a u-boat during World War II.

A birds-eye view of Castle Clinton National Monument and Pier A in Battery Park

Pier A Harbor House, located at 22 Battery Place, opened to the public in November, 2014. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975, and was designated a New York City Landmark in 1977. View historic images courtesy of New York Landmarks Conservancy.

Image via baca.ny.gov

The restaurant, Pier A Harbor House closed indefinitely in 2020. We look forward to the next chapter for this historic space.

2 thoughts on “A Look Back at the Renovation of Historic Pier A in Battery Park City

  1. Such a lovely tribute to Pier A. I was very fortunate to see it “before” – and “after” – as a member of The Landmarks Conservancy. Before the COVID 19 pandemic, I enjoyed some wonderful meals in the new restaurant there.

    1. We very much enjoyed all the wonderful vintage photographs you have on your Facebook Page, also showing before and after photos, which we linked to at the bottom of the post. They show what an enormous undertaking this was.

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