New Yorkers have a beautiful new space to stretch their legs as the Hudson River Park unveiled a new eco-friendly public pier in Tribeca last week. In a city where green spaces are in short supply, people will be able to enjoy this little oasis in a multitude of ways with lounge chairs to watch the sunset, a sports field for games, guided ecological tours for all ages, and a science-themed playground for children.

Wooden swings and deck chairs on Pier 26 in New York's Hudson River Park
There are nice little nooks and crannies along Pier 26 where people can get cosy and watch the sunset ©Max Guliani

Designed by the award-winning landscape architecture firm OLIN, Pier 26 is a new recreational space that promotes biodiversity in the heart of the city. Its shining glory is the 15,000 sq ft Tide Deck, which is planted with native shrubs, trees and grasses – the first of its kind in Manhattan. The Deck is home to a little habitat walk that runs through woodland forest, coastal grassland, maritime scrub, a rocky tidal zone, and the Hudson River, and hosts guided ecological and wildlife tours for all ages.

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Pier 26 mini woodlands
The Deck will bring visitors closer to nature with guided tours ©Max Guliani

An elevated walkway above the Deck boasts great city views, and if visitors are lucky, they can bag a spot on one of the lounge chairs to watch the sunset, or a seat in one of the wooden huts. There's also a lawn and sports play area for games, and boardwalks for walking, running or jogging. In future, the area will house a science-themed playground with larger-than-life play features in the forms of local native and endangered species.

Pier 26 wildflowers.JPG
Native shrubs, plants and trees have been planted along the Tide Deck ©Max Guliani

“By designing a pier that brings New Yorkers closer to the city's natural wildlife and habitat, we hope to offer critical hands-on learning opportunities for students, places to play, and plenty of quiet spots for people to take in the nature around them," said Madelyn Wils, President and CEO of Hudson River Park Trust. "And while Pier 26, like the rest of Hudson River Park, was originally conceived as a way to help New York City recover from 9/11, we hope this new pier will play a vital role as we once again look ahead to recovery."

Pier 26 deck chairs
Loungers will give people front-row seats to some of the best sunsets in Manhattan ©Max Guliani

Pier 26's upland area is already home to Downtown Boathouse, all-volunteer nonprofit organization that provides visitors with free kayaking (but is on hold due to the pandemic), and the popular City Vineyard restaurant and wine bar. To learn more about the Hudson River Park and its various recreational spots, see here.

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