Charting Chelsea Cove

Charting Chelsea Cove

Hudson River Park's newest neighborhood amenity. (Photo: Courtesy HRPT)

On Monday, the latest portion of Hudson River Park opened to the public, bringing with it a novel pair of attractions along New York’s expanding West Side greenway. Located just north of Chelsea Piers, the project rises atop Piers 62 and 63, which together with Pier 64 form the roughly 8-acre, U-shaped landscape that Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA) named Chelsea Cove when starting the project in 2001. “Our main vision was to create not only a park for people moving along the bikeway, but primarily for the community,” said Peter Arato, senior associate at MVVA.

The cove's lushly planted entry. (Courtesy MVVA)

In order to achieve this, the strategy was to activate the site with a mix of uses, but also to blur the typical division between upland and pier, creating “a larger park experience that was not so linear-based.”

The first of the piers’ new attractions is a carousel with 33 colorful, hand-carved wooden figures that represent native animals of the Hudson River Valley. Created by Carousel Works of Mansfield, OH, and due to open on Memorial Day, the merry-go-round and its menagerie of bears, turtles, and falcons is protected by a steel-framed roof that incorporates a green roof system above.

The cove’s second notable feature is a 15,000-square-foot skate park made of reinforced concrete and shotcrete, with an undulating landscape that replaces an existing skate park on the site. Designed in collaboration with SITE Design Group of Solana Beach, CA, the skate park is the first in the world to be built on a pier structure, according to the designers.

The much-anticipated skate park, shown under construction. (Courtesy I Roll NY)

To accommodate these two elements—including the skate park’s 10-foot elevation and the carousel’s heavy, 35-foot-wide platform—the designers used structural EPS foam to reduce the load on the pier. The foam was also used to form the rolling landscape that characterizes Pier 64, which was completed last year.

And there's an expansive lawn, set within a bowl-shaped landscape. (Courtesy HRPT)

The new site also includes a large lawn bowl, a perennial garden designed by Lynden Miller, and a sculptural landscape with large boulders set among wildflowers and shaped by artist Meg Webster.