The West Side Piers: Where Hell’s Kitchen Meets Hudson Yards

The western boundary of the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood in Manhattan runs up the Hudson River from W. 34th Street to W. 59th Street, parallel with the West Side Highway and on the other side of the highway, a sequence of twelve piers. The piers serve as home to such diverse vessels as the commuter boats of NY Waterway, the Circle Line boats, New York Water Taxi, the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid (at the Intrepid Museum), and many cruise ships setting off for the Bahamas, Florida, Bermuda, Canada, and many other ports of call.

Pier 83 South, home to the Circle Line

Joining the mix are a few restaurants, bars, and recreational piers operated by Hudson River Park. At Pier 84 near 42nd Street, there’s a play area, a dog park, and kayaking. Piers 90, 92 and 94 are often used for the big art fairs such as the Armory Show.

In the distance, a Norwegian Cruise Line ship (on the left) with Via 57 West (on the right)

The northern part of the western riverfront, especially around W. 57th Street, has undergone significant development in recent years. From the water, the most striking building is VIA 57 West, a residential building by the Danish architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) that could be mistaken for a gigantic sailboat.

From the piers, the rising of Hudson Yards

On the southern end of the riverfront, the Lincoln Tunnel at W. 39th and the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center signals the transition to Hudson Yards. From W. 34th Street to W. 30th Street, the massive multi-year development will eventually provide a mix of luxury residences, a performing arts center (The Shed), a spectacular interactive piece of public art (The Vessel), restaurants, and of course, shopping. The development of the West Side Yards constitutes one of the largest real estate developments in the city, dwarfing even Rockefeller Center in the 1930s.

Hudson Yards and a banner for Pier 81 

What’s odd and striking is to see the juxtaposition of the piers, long a familiar site for New Yorkers and visitors, with the looming behemoth of the Hudson Yards development.

Get ready. The tallest of these buildings will feature an observation deck on the 100th floor.

The spectacle of the boats with the backdrop of the new built environment makes for a good walk, or a nice boat ride.



Images by Walking Off the Big Apple from June 24, 2018.

Note: The trip continues by boat on Sailing Off the Big Apple with a ferry ride to New Jersey

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