Then and Now – Pier A

by Don Friedman on May 25, 2017

1936, already fifty years old:


Pier A is the southernmost pier ever built on the Hudson shore of Manhattan, almost at the souther tip of the island. It was built after the municipal pier system had begun in earnest and Pier 1 was already complete upstream (north), hence the odd name.

I have always thought of it as a fireboat pier, so I was somewhat supposed to find out that it only served that function for thirty-two years, starting as late as 1960. In the 1930s picture above it’s a regular pier (in part) and a police station. Because of its odd location, it escaped destruction when the landfill that created Battery Park City wiped out the piers for the next mile to the north.

Ultimately, it’s just a big metal box sitting on wood piles. But it’s historic, designated as a landmark, and good-looking, and was recently renovated to include a popular bar/restaurant, so it’s about as safe as a structure can be. But I’d be a lot happier if a boat would tie up there, even if it’s just once in a while.

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