2023 marked a quarter century since the signing of the Hudson River Park Act, the legislation that created this blue and green oasis, and this year gave us so much to celebrate. From opening spectacular new public spaces and winning awards, to welcoming hundreds of thousands of you to learn, dance, volunteer and get active with us, 2023 offered a wonderful vantage to look at how far Hudson River Park has come in 25 years.
As we wind down this milestone year, we’re sharing some of what made this year in the Park one for the record books.
We Welcomed You to Exciting New Open Spaces
In April 2023, we opened the ground floor of historic Pier 57 to the public, featuring an indoor public living room, a waterfront food market that celebrates NYC’s independent food culture, bookable community spaces, and our Discovery Tank, an interactive gallery and classroom focused on local wildlife and waterways.
In June, we welcomed our community back to enjoy the renewed Chelsea Waterside Park, featuring a permanent picnic area, a striking new public restroom incorporating many green features and a refreshed synthetic turf field.
And in October, we added 5.5 acres of green, open space to the Park with the opening of Gansevoort Peninsula. It’s been a joy to watch New Yorkers fall in love with their newest green space, which features Manhattan’s first public beachfront, walking promenades, a large sports field, a seating lawn, dog park, picnic area, salt marsh and more to discover. And, in December, we welcomed the first picklers to play on our new interim pickleball courts.
We Won Awards
This year, Hudson River Park green spaces were celebrated for design, historic preservation and excellence in urban open space:
2023 Award of Honor — State Historic Preservation Office
Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award — The New York Landmarks Conservancy
Excellence in Historic Preservation Award from the Preservation League of NYS
We Hosted More Public Events than Ever Before
We welcomed more than 150,000 of you to nearly 500 events in the Park—and hosted more free public events than ever before in our 25th Anniversary Season. We were especially happy to break our Blues BBQ Festival attendance record, with 16,500 food and music lovers celebrating summertime, blues music and barbeque with us at Pier 76. Thank you to everyone who danced, worked out and savored the music with us this year!
We Engaged Science Lovers of All Ages In New Ways
More than 35,000 of you joined our River Project team to connect with marine and environmental science while discovering the wonders of the Hudson River. We were especially excited to see so many of you at our brand new Pier 57 Discovery Tank. This tech-powered, interactive gallery and classroom has enabled us to reach visitors of all ages to explore the Hudson River environment virtually, year-round.
This year we introduced the WasteShark, a remote operated aquadrome that helps us remove marine debris from the river. This new tool, which you can read about in the New Yorker, will help collect plastics at our Blue Team shoreline cleanups (and if you haven’t yet, you can help choose its name!). We also launched our inaugural Crab Week—and it was clawsome.
We Broke Volunteering Records
Volunteers play a key role in keeping Hudson River Park clean, green and beautiful — and this year was our Volunteer Program’s biggest year yet. We set new records for numbers of volunteers, labor hours and plants in the ground. Across 115 volunteer events, 3,000+ volunteers more than 9,000 volunteer hours.
We’re grateful to our dedicated volunteer community who help keep the Park growing gorgeous for everyone to enjoy and to our Volunteer Program’s Presenting Sponsors Citi, Supporting Sponsors Colgate-Palmolive and New York Cruise Lines, and Food and Beverage Providers Liberty Coca-Cola for helping us keep New Yorkers connected with this vital green open space.
We Kept our Park Growing Green and Gorgeous
This year, our Community Compost Program collected 120,000 pounds of compost overall, which our team and volunteers turn into nutrient-rich compost for Park gardens. It’s been another green, blooming year in the Park, and this fall our horticulturists and volunteers planted 40,000 bulbs to ensure a beautiful spring in the Park.
We Monitored Our Growing Oyster Population and Added New Habitat
In 2021 and 2022, we installed millions of juvenile oysters to Hudson River Park’s 400-acre Estuarine Sanctuary via underwater habitat enhancements in Tribeca and north of Gansevoort Peninsula, and this year, with the second phase of our Tribeca enhancements, we saw the Park’s oyster population surpass 35 million. You can follow along and monitor the growth of these oysters with our River Project scientists in this New York Times feature.
The new salt marsh at Gansevoort Peninsula also has added new habitat, and we’ve already seen at least one bird species never seen before in the Park, the marsh wren, enjoying this new space. And this is not the only exciting new bird we’ve seen at Gansevoort Peninsula since it opened—earlier this month we spotted the first bald eagle we’ve ever observed perched in Hudson River Park enjoying an eel on the field lighting.
We Looked Back at How Far We’ve Come
In celebration of the Park’s 25th Anniversary, we put together a special digital exhibit, 25 Years of Hudson River Park. In these online galleries — which contain highlights from our photo archives as well as the work of local photographers — you can see the evolution of our waterfront. Take a look at our piers when they were part of one of the world’s busiest working waterfronts, explore images of your favorite Park locations then and now, experience the pre-Park waterfront from the lens of talented NYC photographers, and some of our favorite moments from the past 25 years.
To everyone who supported the Park, gave back by volunteering, attended our events, strolled the esplanade, took your Four-Legged Friends to our dog parks, brought your family to our playgrounds, played your favorite sport here, relaxed on the beach or simply took in the views—thank you. Thank you for being part of our Hudson River Park community and for filling this four mile oasis with joy, discovery and inspiration this year and every year.
You can show your appreciation for your growing Park by helping us fight PIER pressure — that feeling we get when we open so many new wonderful Park spaces that need to be maintained. Learn more and show your support.