Chelsea Waterside Park reopens after $15.2M overhaul

June 19, 2023

Photos courtesy of the Hudson River Park Trust

Hudson River Park’s Chelsea Waterside Park reopened last week after an extensive $15.2 million renovation. Designed by Abel Bainnson Butz, LLP and CDR Design Studio Architects, the park has been enhanced with new plantings, a public restroom, a permanent picnic area with lighting, a spacious turf sports field, and an expansive dog run. Located at West 23rd Street and the Westside Highway in Manhattan, the revamped park’s layout prioritizes usable green space for New Yorkers.

Designed to be environmentally sustainable, the park features solar panels and skylights in the new restrooms and low-energy LED lighting at the new athletic field. The restroom’s facade incorporates recycled granite and wood that was salvaged from pathways and walls previously located in the park.

The dog park has nearly doubled in size, from 3,500 to 7,400 square feet. The area has been equipped with dog-friendly water spray jets and mounds and boulders for the puppies to play on. The dog run also includes new tiered seating and benches, which increases seating capacity for dog owners almost five times over. Chelsea Waterside Park’s dog run is open daily from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m.

The Hudson River Park Trust collaborated with members of the local community, including the Chelsea Waterside Park Association, Manhattan Community Board 4, and members of the public, to design a park that met the needs of all. All of the parties expressed their desire for a new dog run, an improved sports field, a permanent picnic area, and especially a public restroom.

Chelsea Waterside Park’s renovation was completed in two phases, with the first part including a revamp of the park’s playground with a new colorful 64-foot wooden slide designed in the shape of a Pipefish, one of the fish species native to the water within the park. Completed in 2018, the first phase was funded by the Hudson River Park Friends’ Board, State Senator Brad Hoylman, former Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried, former Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and former City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

Chelsea Waterside Park was created in 2000 as part of the New York State Department of Transportation’s reconstruction of Route 9A.

In the earlier phase of the project, reclaimed limestone cattle head sculptures from the demolished New York Butchers’ Dressed Meat Company building were added to the playground’s water features to honor the area’s historic significance.

“Chelsea Waterside Park’s renovation is just in time for New Yorkers to take full advantage of the recreation and relaxation opportunities along the waterfront at Hudson River Park this summer,”  Congressman Jerry Nadler said in a statement.

“Expanding residents and visitors’ access to open spaces while utilizing greener design frameworks is not only a benefit to the West Side but the entire city of New York.”

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Hudson River Park, and the Trust has many significant events planned before the year ends. Later this summer, the Gansevoort Peninsula will open to the public as Manhattan’s first public “beach,” with a new resilient rocky sand bluff, kayak launch, sports field, dog run, fitness area, pedestrian promenades, and a salt marsh. Pier 97, also set to open this year, includes a playground, ball sports zone, overlook, and sunset deck, for the public to enjoy.

Chelsea Waterside Park was funded with $5.2 million by the City Council, $225,000 from the office of Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, and $9 million from the Trust.

You can learn more about the park’s renovation here.


All photos courtesy of Hudson River Park Trust

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