By Mayor Bloomberg
With spring finally here, many of us are starting to come out of hibernation and head outdoors to enjoy the largest and best municipal park system in the nation. And last week, we also took a big step toward building a major addition to the Hudson River Park that will eventually stretch along the Manhattan shoreline from Battery Park City north to 59th Street.
The key to making that happen was finding a new headquarters for the NYPDʼs Mounted Unit and a new home for the horses and officers of its Troop “B.” For a number of years, theyʼve all been located on Pier 63 in the Hudson River at 23rd Street. But they couldnʼt stay there—not with work set to begin on the next phase of the park, called “Chelsea Cove,” which will be developed along the river between 22nd and 26th Streets.
Well, thanks to great cooperation among the NYPD, the Cityʼs Department of Design and Construction, the Hudson River Park Trust, and the private Friends of Hudson River Park, we came up with a solution that met everyoneʼs needs. Last week, we cut the ribbon on the Mounted Unitʼs new facilities. Theyʼre on Pier 76 at 37th Street and the Hudson River. The pier is already occupied by a police tow pound and auto maintenance shop—and with some creative redesign of space on the pier, weʼve provided room for both the old and new tenants without any cutback in any of their operations. That took some doing; after all, the 28 horses of Troop “B” needed new stalls, a hayloft, a heated exercise area, and other special accommodations. But it all fits together—and it all came together in an amazingly short time. We built the new facility in less than six months, which just goes to show that you still can get big projects done quickly, if you work hard and bring everyone together.
That accelerated construction schedule means that we can also move full speed ahead on the Chelsea Cove portion of the Hudson River Park. It will be built on three new piers that will replace three existing piers. In fact, the old piers, including Pier 63, are already being torn down. The $61 million cost of the project is being split evenly between the City and the State. And when itʼs completed in 2009, Chelsea Cove will feature lawns, gardens, a skate park, and a carousel of Hudson River animals—as well as wonderful views of the river itself.
The expansion of Hudson River Park is just one example of how weʼre ending the long years when highways, crumbling warehouses, and other obstacles cut us off from our waterfront. Instead, weʼre now opening up long stretches of our cityʼs 578 miles of shoreline to the public. From the South Bronx to Sunset Park to the Homeport site on Staten Island, weʼre reclaiming more and more of our waterfront, and giving it a new role to play as attractive open space for our cityʼs growing population. And on the Hudson River shore, weʼre doing that while also creating a great new headquarters for the mounted police officers—and their four-legged assistants—who do such a magnificent job of helping to keep our city safe.