Pier 57 in New York City: A Community Space to Savor

Thursday, August 10, 2023
New York City has been through a lot over the years, but still she leaps forward with new growth and possibilities. For the past 20 years, Pier 57 in New York City has sat vacant. It was once a cruise terminal and transit depot, and it's even listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Now it's been reimagined into a beautiful landmark and community destination, complete with 17 diverse dining spots, community spaces, a rooftop park, and even a discovery tank that educates the public about the river's ecosystem. Read on to learn more about this incredible new space, which promises to be an exciting spot to visit, relax and enjoy. 

Disclosure: I was invited with the press to tour Pier 57 and sample delicious offerings from Market 57 vendors, but all opinions are my own. Some of the statements in this post come directly from the Pier 57 press release.

I was so honored to be a part of the media event showcasing Pier 57 and all of the amazing features it has to offer to the public. New York City Mayor Eric Adams kicked off the event with a heartfelt  speech about how important community spaces like Pier 57 are and what they mean to us as a society. He referred to our experience at Pier 57 as a 'Karate Kid moment,' which might make you chuckle, but absolutely rings true. Because as he explained it, "You believe you are coming in here [to Pier 57 and Market 57] just to look at the beautiful views, and you're going to sit down in one of these spaces and turn to the right of you and you’re going to see someone that you did not know, and you're going to engage in a conversation with them. You're going to stop at one of these counters, and visit one of the new food sources, and try a new food that you were not willing to taste before. You’re going to start to experience the fullness of life and understand that our real purpose is to be pollinators and cross-pollinate ideas. And we don’t have to agree all the time- in fact it is unhealthy to agree all the time. We need to have strong, positive conversations..."

I like the comparison of society to pollinators. We all have so much to offer one another, and so much to learn from one another, be it culturally or intellectually. We thrive when we work together to share ideas, thoughts and purpose. Pier 57 is like one big celebration of this philosophy. 

Where is Pier 57?

Pier 57 is located at 25 11th Avenue in New York City, right next to the popular City Winery and beautiful Little Island. Market 57, the dining area, is located within Pier 57, and features 17 unique food vendors, many of them women or BIPOC owned. It is free to enter Pier 57, and each food vendor has their own menu and price list for what they serve. Here's a little blurb from the press release about the background of Pier 57 and what it includes: 

"Market 57 and the community spaces on the ground floor are part of the revitalization of Pier 57 envisioned by the Hudson River Park Trust over a decade ago. Led by RXR, Youngwoo & Associates,  and The Baupost Group, the consortium of partners embarked on a $410 million redevelopment of the Pier where Google serves as the anchor tenant. The overall redevelopment also includes one of New York City’s largest public rooftop parks and City Winery. In 2018, Google expanded their lease to include 50,000 square feet on the ground floor to be used for new community amenities. That ground floor space, which opens on April 1st, comprises Market 57, the Discovery Tank, Living Room, and the bookable community classrooms. Jamestown is developing, curating, and delivering it on behalf of Google."       

Market 57

The Pier’s newest dining destination, Market 57 – a food hall with a focus on women- and BIPOC-owned food concepts – serves as a platform for emerging chefs and entrepreneurs who have been underrepresented in the culinary industry. Curated by Jamestown with input from JBF, Market 57’s vendors are aligned with JBF’s mission of championing a standard of good food anchored in talent, equity, and sustainability, and include (as of the publication date of this post):  

- Ammi
- Bessou
- Bird & Branch
- Due Madri
- Local Roots
- LoLo’s on the Water
- Malai
- Mijo
- Mothershuckers
- Nom Wah
- Harlem Hops
- The Galley by Lobster Place
- The Good Batch
- Ras Plant Based
- Zaab Zaab     

Market 57 also includes Good To Go by JBF, an incubator for fast-casual concepts featuring rotating menus from operators who embody JBF’s mission and values. The kiosk will be a place where innovation from emerging talent meets sustainable, ethically sourced, and accessible food. In addition to the incubator space, JBF will bring its Good Food for Good® mission to life in Market 57 with Platform by the James Beard Foundation, a modern showcase kitchen and educational space featuring culinary arts programming and events—including a rotating chefs-in-residence program set to launch in May. 
Tickets to Platform by JBF events are now on sale. To access the calendar of offerings, and reserve your tickets today, visit: platformbyjbf.org.

What Else Can I Do at Pier 57?

In addition to Market 57, Pier 57 features a series of community spaces designed to promote gathering, dialogue, and learning. Spaces include three bookable community classrooms provided to community organizations and nonprofits free-of-charge with the support of Google. These flexible rooms are equipped with modular furniture and audio-visual systems, making them adaptable to a wide range of uses and events. Pier 57 contains a 7,400-square-foot public gathering place known as The Living Room. It's located on the ground floor of the Pier’s southern edge. The Living Room features seating and tables for people to connect and gather, providing visitors with views of Hudson River Park, lower Manhattan, Hudson River, and Little Island. The Living Room is a beautiful and comfortable space, and it's an important aspect of the project's commitment to provide more open space for the public to enjoy.

The community spaces will also be activated with a wide range of free, public programming. The inaugural schedule of events features programming from the Children’s Museum of the Arts, Coding Space, Counseling in Schools, Smartworks, and Street Lab.

Alongside the community spaces, Hudson River Park will operate an interactive technology-powered gallery and classroom known as the Discovery Tank. The Discovery Tank invites visitors of all ages to explore the Hudson River through a series of fun and engaging games focused on local wildlife that will be free and open to the public. Schools, summer camps, and after school programs can also visit the Discovery Tank during field trip opportunities hosted by Hudson River Park.

The Rooftop Park

The beautiful views from the Rooftop Park at Pier 57 are a sight to behold. This nearly 2-acre rooftop park offers stunning panoramic views of Lower Manhattan and New York Harbor. It’s the perfect place to have a picnic, gather with friends, or enjoy a sunset. Guests can access the park from the Pier 57's ground floor southern entrance, directly across from Little Island, or take the stairs or elevator from inside. It's now one of New York City's largest public rooftop parks.

A Final Word About Pier 57 from The Jersey Momma

Mayor Adams was 100% correct when he said that I would talk to people I would not have otherwise spoken to and that I would try foods I wouldn't have otherwise considered when I visited Market 57. Where else would I have the chance to try an espresso over house-made lemon soda and a matcha square (Bird & Branch)? Or mac and cheese made with coconut milk (Ras Plant-Based)? How about a saffron kulfi pop and cardamom pistachio crumble ice cream (Malai)? And my absolute favorite treat at Market 57 was the oat chocolate chunk cookie ice cream sandwich from The Good Batch. I spoke to people while standing at the recycle bin, at the food counters, in the giant elevator to the rooftop park. Everyone seemed excited to be there. Pier 57 was abuzz with chatter, laughter, music, and the savory scents from a myriad of cultural foods. To think that we went from isolation and quarantine during the pandemic to this brilliant, buzzing hub of energy is truly something to celebrate. 
Pier 57, New York is gonna love you.

Pier 57 Grand Opening April 1st
25 11th Avenue New York, NY
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