Through the Lens of
Photojournalist Carl Glassman moved to an apartment overlooking the Tribeca waterfront in 1979. In the more than 40 years since then, he has photographed that changing landscape, especially around Piers 25 and 26, as it developed into part of today’s Hudson River Park.
Glassman focused more keenly on the area after he and his wife, April Koral, founded The Tribeca Trib, a Lower Manhattan community newspaper (now online), in 1994. As a photographer and reporter, Glassman has covered well over a hundred stories about the southernmost stretch of the Park, from the early stages of planning to its continuing development today.
All photos copyright © Carl Glassman.
Piers 25 and 26 in 1982. For years, Pier 26 had served as a parking lot.
A view from the Tribeca waterfront north in 1986 during Hands Across America. The nationwide event, which aimed for people to join hands across the continental US, was a fundraiser to end poverty.
The piers, from Pier 40 north, as an ironworker does a balancing act during construction of the building that is now Citi headquarters in Tribeca.
A houseboat made of scrap materials including Styrofoam that had been docked near Pier 25 in the 1990s. The family that constructed and lived in the boat, the Floating Neutrinos, used abandoned structures from the pier. In 1998, the Neutrinos sailed across the Atlantic in a similar raft — the first crossing of its kind.
In 1994 Pier 25 was strewn with lumber and other debris, much of which came from the remains of a defunct and noisy nightclub called The Amazon Club. The club occupied the pier until losing its liquor license due to neighborhood complaints.
Bob Townley, executive director of Manhattan Youth, took over the lease on Pier 25 in 1994 and began turning it into his vision of a recreational pier, with mini-golf and a volleyball court. Just beyond the volleyball court was a driving range, installed previously.
Inspections of the old pilings of Piers 25 and 26, above and below water, were conducted in 1995. This one is beneath Pier 25. Wood-eating worms, called teredo, damaged many of the piles.
Tango demonstration on Pier 25 in 2001 before 9/11 closed the pier.
Bob Townley in 1997 on Pier 25, the community gathering spot that his organization, Manhattan Youth, ran for 11 years. The organization continues to operate the minigolf, volleyball and food concession on the reconstructed pier.
A volunteer for the River Project pulls a fish trap out of the river in the late 1990s. The Fish Ecology Survey, begun by the River Project in 1988, has continued nearly uninterrupted for more than three decades. It is carried out today by the Park’s River Project team.
The River Project and Downtown Boathouse on Pier 26 in the early 2000s. In the 1980s, formerly abandoned structures were taken over by Tribeca residents Cathy Drew (the River Project) and Jim Wetteroth (the boathouse) for community use and river research.
The field of Pier 25 pilings after the removal of its decking in 2000.
In a continuous caravan following the attacks of September 11, trucks carried debris from “Ground Zero” at the World Trade Center to a site just south of Pier 25. There it was loaded onto barges and taken to the Fresh Kills landfill. The 24/7 operation ended in May 2002.
A worker pauses during construction of the rocky tide deck extension of Pier 26 in 2019.
One of the columns that will support the walkway at the end of Pier 26 is swung by crane to a worker who waits to place it in position.
Pier 26, known as the Park’s ecologically themed pier, is planted with a wide variety of indigenous species that provide visitors with a colorful nature walk and welcome respite from the city.
Depending on the weather, Pier 26 can be a busy circuit for runners, or a solitary one, like on this foggy day in December 2022.