Hudson River Park: A user's guide
The space might not be conventional, but there's room to do almost everything — bike, walk, fish or paddle — in this strip along the river.
Sun, Aug 14, 2011 at 09:55 AM
Hudson River Park runs along five miles of riverfront on Manhattan’s west side, a collection of piers turned play areas linked by a bicycle path used by cyclists and skaters. And while you’ll never think you’re deep in the wilderness, there are broad green lawns where you can feel the grass between your toes and stretch out to soak in some summer sun. For example, the mile-long Chelsea section, which runs from Horatio Street to West 30th Street, has more than nine acres of grassy lawns.
The park provides access to the river for paddlers and anyone looking to wet a line.
State lawmakers passed the Hudson River Park Act in June 1998. The bill formally designated the project area as a park and established the Hudson River Park Trust to oversee planning, construction and operation of the park. Park construction — which continues — started in May 2000.
Things to do
A park on the most crowded island in America? How can there be room to do anything? Well, there's room to do almost everything.
At Hudson River Park, there is basketball, batting cages and bowling. You can play softball, soccer and hockey. There are skate parks and tennis courts. You can putter around at an 18-hole miniature golf course at Pier 25 at North Moore Street in Tribeca.
There are places for children to run through sprinklers and for dogs to run with other dogs.
Big City Fishing, a program operated by the Hudson River Park Trust, offers children and adults a chance to fish, or learn to fish. The free program provides the necessary supplies including rods, reels and bait. You also get instruction on fishing and the fish what swim in the Hudson River. Lucky anglers may catch (and release) American eel, striped bass, black sea bass, bluefish, oyster toadfish, white perch, flounder, porgy and blue crabs.
Why you’ll want to come back
Hudson River Park remains a work in progress — about 80 percent of the planned park construction is complete.
Flora and fauna
Hudson River Park encompasses the Hudson River Park Estuarine Sanctuary, an area where fresh water meets salty ocean water.
The forests of old pier pilings provide habitat for barnacles and a mollusk called the shipworm. The pile fields also shelter juvenile striped bass.
Birds found in the park include Canada geese and double crested cormorants. Oh, and pigeons.
By the numbers:
- Website: Hudson River Park
- Park size: 550 acres
- Funky fact: The dog run at Chelsea Waterside Park with "a 24-foot-long faux tree trunk named" was name "Best of New York" by New York Magazine.
This is part of Explore America's Parks, a series of user's guides to national, state and local park systems across the United States. We'll be adding new parks all summer, so check back for more.
Inset photo of a biking path along the Hudson River: criana/Flickr