Pier A, a 126-year-old landmarked building that has long sat in decay in Battery Park, is getting a second life this June. The 32,000-square-foot building will become a major dining destination, with a restaurant, lounge, numerous bars, a pedestrian plaza and outdoor seating. It will also house a tourist information center and gallery of historic photos of the building, which has quite the history.
The city constructed the pier from 1884 to 1886 for the NYC Department of Docks and Harbor Police and then expanded it twice in the early 1900s. From 1960 to 1992, the New York Fire Department used the pier as a fireboat station. After the fire department moved out in 1992, the stately white building sat vacant, crumbling under the elements. It wasn’t until 2009 that the then creepy-looking building was promised a massive face-lift. It’s been under construction ever since. The project has faced a number of holdups — unrealized plans, millions of dollars of cost overruns, debt and damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.
The Tribeca Tribune spoke with the building designer, Danny McDonald, regarding the renovation. The building will have three levels: the first floor will hold the gallery of historic photos, the information center, the 600-person “long hall” and the oyster bar. A rendering of the interior shows exposed wooden ceiling beams, picnic tables and a bar. The oyster bar will serve oysters at five different stations throughout the long hall.
The second floor holds a 50-person bar dubbed The Commissioners Room with a balcony that looks out onto the harbor. Another bar on the second floor, The Harrison Room, will have a big stained-glass window and views of 1 World Trade Center. Then there’s The Galley, an open kitchen with three chef’s tables. It’s the only room in the complex designed modernly rather than historically. Right next to The Galley is The State Room, a dining room with six tables. On top of that there will be four private dining rooms. Finally, the third level will hold a loft space to be used for special events.