VCB on Pier40 Development





Village Community Boathouse advocates the ‘grandfathering’ of community boathouses into the plans for Pier 40, regardless of what developer or preservation scheme is ultimately adopted. For further information, contact [email protected].


June, 2012 Letter to Lincoln Anderson, Editor, The Villager

Don’t rock the boat(ers)

To The Editor:
The Village Community Boathouse occupies a space on the south side of Pier 40, where we have been in one form or another for more than 15 years. We build and row traditional wooden rowboats, which we use to fulfill our mission of providing free public access to the New York Harbor estuary.

Last year we took more than 1,500 people out on voyages in the harbor, including local high school and college students. The Downtown Boathouse also has a boathouse at Pier 40 where they provided free kayaking to 10,500 people last year alone.

It appears that the Hudson River Park Trust does not fully recognize the true value of Pier 40 to the waterfront community and the public. The Hudson River Park Act calls for using the pier to generate funds to support the rest of the park. The proposals that I am aware of call for placing commercial, revenue-producing enterprises on the pier. However, none of the plans recognizes or exploits the physical features of the pier that make it uniquely suited to human-powered boating.

Sheltered from wakes, currents and the wind, the pier’s south side embayment is ideal for running beginner and/or children’s boating programs. The water is warm and deep, and the embayment has no blind spots. In addition, the promenade on Pier 40 runs the full length of the embayment, making it easy to supervise rowers on the water.

As a result of the shape, bulk, mass and orientation of Pier 40, the pier’s south side has a unique microclimate that is found nowhere else on the Manhattan waterfront. The massive structure of Pier 40 causes it to block the cold northerly winds. Being heavy causes it to absorb a lot of sunlight during the day, which is then radiated back as heat during the early evening. The perceived temperature increase is often more than 20 degrees Fahrenheit, giving the promenade a festive, beach-like atmosphere in the summer months.

As various plans are considered for Pier 40, I hope that the Hudson River Park Trust will recognize the gem that is Pier 40 and that human-powered boating is part of the plan for the south embayment.
Sally Curtis
Curtis is president, Village Community Boathouse

November 2, 2012: Letter to the Editor, Lincoln Anderson, The Villager

Don’t rock the boat(houses)

To The Editor:
Re “Leagues toss a change-up on Pier 40 buildings idea” (news article, Oct. 18):

In all the handwringing about the future of Pier 40, one of the park’s biggest and most public-spirited constituencies is getting overlooked, and that is the two community boathouses on Pier 40 that offer free public access to the waterways that actually make up most of Hudson River Park. Together, those two boathouses put more than 15,000 people on the water this season.

As anyone who has walked down that short stretch of walkway on the south side of the pier knows, we have created the literal “connection to the water” that the park’s creators, designers and managers have always claimed they want to provide.

We too would like to see the Hudson River Park Trust and our elected officials work together to address the needs of the community for ballfields and green space.

However, we would most like to see them acknowledge (preferably on paper) their commitment to supporting the future of community boathouses and public access to the water at Pier 40.
Sally Curtis, Rob Buchanan, Phil Yee, Dave Clayton, Ruth Lindner, Divid Shehigian, Frank Cervi
The above signers are board of directors members, Village Community Boathouse

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