See the marine science-themed playground coming to Hudson River Park’s Pier 26

January 5, 2023

All renderings courtesy of OLIN

Manhattan is getting a new, marine science-inspired play area to teach kids about wildlife. The Hudson River Park Trust last month broke ground on the 4,000-square-foot play area at Pier 26 in Tribeca. Designed by OLIN, the Pier 26 Science Play Area will feature interactive sculptural elements where children can play while learning about marine life and the surrounding Hudson River habitat. The specialized park will also serve as an outdoor programming space for the future Hudson River Estuarium and complements the recently opened ecologically-themed Pier 26. Located at North Moore Street in Hudson River Park, the play area is expected to open to the public this year.

The playground marks the fifth children’s play area in Hudson River Park. The play area will feature two large play structures designed after two species of endangered fish native to the Hudson River: the Atlantic and shortnose sturgeons.

Children will be able to climb into the sturgeon structures and explore fish “anatomy” and other wildlife features found in the park’s Estuarine Sanctuary, according to a press release. The park will also include trees and other plantings, safety surfacing, climbing nets, and a perimeter seat wall.

“Hudson River Park is one of our city’s most treasured green spaces, especially for our youngest residents, which is why we’re so excited to start construction on the Pier 26 Science Play Area,” Noreen Doyle, president of the Hudson River Park Trust, said.

“This Play Area has been thoughtfully designed to advance two key aspects of our mission — play and environmental education. We are incredibly thankful to Hudson River Park Friends, Mike Novogratz, Borough President Mark Levine, Council Member Chris Marte, and all who donated generously to make this imaginative project come to life. Hudson River Park is so grateful to all our elected officials and our community for their tireless advocacy and support, year in and year out.”

Photo by Max Guliani for Hudson River Park

Pier 26, which opened in September 2020, is inspired by Manhattan’s natural shoreline and includes native plants and a habitat walk that leads visitors through five ecological zones: woodland forest, coastal grassland, maritime scrum, rocky tidal zone, and the Hudson River.

Also featured on Pier 26 is the Tide Deck, a man-made 15,000-square-foot wetland that “mimics the wetlands that once existed along the Hudson River,” according to the Trust. The deck is a first-of-its-kind tidal marsh that coincides with the Hudson River’s daily tidal cycle and offers guests an educational river ecology experience.

The new play area will sit next to the Hudson River Estuariuam, which once it is complete, will serve as a center for marine science research and a space for educating New Yorkers on river ecology. Once both of these projects are finished, Hudson River Park’s upland section in Tribeca will be complete.

“This playground will give our youngest New Yorkers an appreciation of the Hudson’s wildlife and give them the opportunity to connect with the marine habitat that surrounds our borough,” Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine said.

“Through this playground, Hudson River Park is molding the next generation of environmentalists, which is critical to New York’s future. I’m proud that we could use my office’s capital funding to support such a transformative project.”


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