The Colorful Retro Makeover ‘New Wave Pier’ Arrived at Waterside Pier along the East River




Waterside Pier. Image courtesy NYC Parks

NYC Parks is celebrating the retro redesign of Waterside Pier along the East River Esplanade. The “New Wave Pier” activation, which was partially inspired by the success of Parks’ Cool Pools NYC initiative, has transformed the grey, underutilized concrete walkway into a fun waterfront space with new features and a bright technicolor treatment.  

“What’s old is new again! 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,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Gabrielle Fialkoff. “This project advances our commitment to making sure the community has access to quality open space while ESCR construction is underway.”

New Wave concept. Image courtesy NYC Parks

This in-house project gave Waterside Pier, temporarily renamed “New Wave Pier,” a colorful new design, new passive turf areas, and picnic tables. Parks has also installed new signage, including small signs along the waterfront railing inspired by the nearby United Nations Headquarters that translate “Wish you were here” into more than 25 of the languages spoken in New York City. Parks’ designers took inspiration from the bright colors and quirky patterns of the 1980s to bring some fun nostalgia to the pier.

Along the railing, new signage inspired by the nearby United Nations Headquarters translating “Wish you were here” into more than 25 of the languages spoken in NYC. Image courtesy NYC Parks

“I’m thrilled to celebrate the new, colorful redesign of Waterside Pier,” said Council Member Keith Powers. “As we work to provide lifesaving flood protections against future weather disasters along the East Side, it’s critical that we’re ensuring community access to parks and open spaces. I’m proud to have supported Waterside Pier’s remodel, and thank the Parks Department for their work on transforming this space.”

Waterside Pier ~ a before view. Image courtesy NYC Parks

“The enhancements at Waterside Pier represent progress in our goal for a continuous greenway along Manhattan’s East Side,” saidCouncil Member Carlina Rivera. “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.”

Image credit: NYC Parks/Daniel Avila

The upgrade is part of the agency’s open space mitigations responsive to the community’s need for supplemental recreational resources during the East Side Coastal Resiliency (ESCR) project – 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. Parks also recently installed three new turf fields at St. Vartan Park, Robert Moses Playground, and Peter’s Field. A map of recreational resources in the neighborhoods surrounding the ESCR project area can be found on our website.

Image credit: NYC Parks/Daniel Avila

Waterside Pier spans from E. 38th to E. 41st streets along the East River Esplanade, offering views of the East River and neighboring Long Island City, Queens. The pier was reconstructed by New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and reopened to the public in October 2016.

3 thoughts on “The Colorful Retro Makeover ‘New Wave Pier’ Arrived at Waterside Pier along the East River

  1. This is the stupidest utilization of this space. I’m actually sitting at the east river esplanade watching numerous New Yorkers use this space as a running/walking track, a place where their young kids can take their bikes and learn to ride, and or to practice their roller skating or even just to workout. Instead this city is going to waste taxpayer dollars on picnic tables, small patches of plastic grass (because the river doesn’t have enough plastic in it), and a design that will look incredibly outdated in 5 years time. Frustrating that these are the “amenities” the nyc parks touts for this area, especially when they didn’t survey who actually uses the space or even notify the neighborhood of these changes.

  2. Better idea: The same three blocks between !st Avenue and the river are owned by the Solow Company which plans to put up five (!) new buildings, thereby blocking half-mile of river views. This land would make an ideal all-purpose park, the only potential park land between 23rd and 96th Street. Even in its unused state it is covered in greenery. Wish the city could buy this land or give Solow some absurdly large tax break for donation.

  3. The Westside get Little Island, the East Side gets a picnic table and some colorful graphics. Should I be saying that it’s better than nothing?

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