News & Updates

Chelsea Waterside Play Area’s Dynamic Redesign

February 3

Last year, Friends of Hudson River Park embarked on a Capital Campaign to reimagine and renovate our beloved Chelsea Waterside Play Area since years of loving wear and tear have left the playground in need of extensive repairs. We recently unveiled the designs for the revamped play space, and we're excited to share a peek into the future of this neighborhood treasure!

Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, the landscape architects responsible for designing much of Pier 62, 63 and 64, have returned to our Chelsea parklands to develop a dynamic, cutting-edge playground that will connect urban children to the environment and maximize sustainability.

“There is an inherent need for children growing up in the city to have better access to nature and all of the freedom that comes from un-prescribed exploration,” explained MVVA’s Scott Streeb, adding that the reimagined play area strives “to provide a transformation from the urban into a natural realm where children can choose their otherworldly adventures.”

The redesigned play area’s pipefish climbing structure.

An impressive 22-foot tall pipefish climbing structure will form the centerpiece of this imagination-sparking play space, creating an iconic focal point while bringing a native Hudson creature to the heart of Chelsea Waterside. The innovative pipefish, the first structure by visionary Danish playground design firm Monstrum to be installed in New York CIty, will invite climbing, balancing, swinging and sliding--all in an exploratory environment developed to feel natural and immersive.

Reclaimed stonework from the neighborhood features in the playground’s design.

The sustainable design of this engaging environment will also provide a natural connection to its environmental and historical setting. According to MVVA’s Paul Seck, “The playground design adds to the existing tree canopy and utilizes recycled local materials, rooting it in sustainable best practices and connecting it to its historic surroundings.” Giant stone ram and cow heads salvaged from 20th century meatpacking plants will find a playful new purpose in Chelsea Waterside as climbing structures, and ornamental buttresses preserved from the old West Side Highway will have a home here among the water play elements. New water distribution technology that minimizes usage in the water features (while maximizing fun!) will further increase sustainability.

The redesigned play area’s water features will provide many fun ways to keep cool. Renderings provided by MVVA.

The new Chelsea Waterside Play Area will offer an exciting, innovative enhancement to the neighborhood, and is certain to continue its legacy as a beloved destination for kids and families. There's still time to support this important project and we still need your help to cross the finish line! Learn more about Friends of Hudson River Park’s Chelsea Waterside Capital Campaign and get involved at