When Pier A was threatened with demolition by the Battery Park City Authority to make way for landfill, the Conservancy came to the rescue. In June 1975, the Conservancy secured local landmark designation and the listing of the 1886 fireboat station in the National Register of Historic Places. This made possible a federal grant, matched by New York State funds, for the preparation of an historic structures report. Unused for years while plans were stalled by financial problems, this outstanding example of Victorian architecture and innovative engineering has now been redeveloped. It will reopen in early 2015 as a restaurant Pier A Harbor House.
This comprehensive restoration has stabilized the building’s internal structure, rehabilitated its exterior envelope, and installed all new systems. Historical elements, including wood stair railings, iron structural brackets, doors and door hardware, and ornamental metal sheeting were salvaged for re-use, as were materials left from a failed restoration campaign in the 1990s. Pier A’s spaces have been modernized throughout with improved egress that allows for public assembly on all levels, respecting the original interior wall layouts.
The project has benefits beyond the building itself: More than 200 jobs will be added to the City, it has created better pedestrian access to the water, established a sense of place connecting adjacent parkland, and maximized potential of the southern end of Battery Park City. The stunning result will return this unusual building to active use, engaging New Yorkers and tourists along the Hudson shore.