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City Pier A facts for kids

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City Pier A
Manhattan - Pier A from the harbor 01 (9440395329) crop.jpg
(2013)
Location Battery Place at the Hudson River
Manhattan, New York City
Built 1884-86
Architect George Sears Greene Jr. (engineer)
NRHP reference No. 75001203
Quick facts for kids
Significant dates
Added to NRHP June 27, 1975

Pier A Harbor House (commonly referred to as City Pier A) is a municipal pier in the Hudson River at Battery Park in Lower Manhattan, New York City. It is sometimes nicknamed the "Liberty Gateway" despite never having been a major disembarkation point. Pier A is the last surviving historic pier in the city.

The Pier was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975, and was designated a New York City landmark in 1977.

History

Pier A was built from 1884 to 1886 to serve as the headquarters of the New York City Board of Dock Commissioners (later known as the Department of Docks); it also served as a home for the Harbor Police. The engineer in charge of construction and design was George Sears Greene Jr. (1837-1922), who had served as the engineer-in-chief of the New York City Board of Docks from July 1875 to 1898. He was the son of the civil engineer and Union general George S. Greene (1801-1899). The building's roof, made of tin, was painted green to resemble the color of oxidized copper. During a renovation by the Battery Park City Authority, this roof was discarded and replaced with copper.

The pier was expanded in 1900 and again in 1919 with a clock installed in the pier's tower as a memorial to 116,000 US servicemen who died during World War I. The clock is a ship's clock and was donated by Daniel G. Reid, founder of United States Steel Corporation. The clock was unveiled at noon on January 25, 1919 by Rear Admiral Josiah S. McKean, with speeches made by Mayor John Francis Hylan and Docks Commissioner George Murray Hulbert. It is said to be the first World War I memorial erected in the United States.

The New York City Fire Department used the pier from 1960 to 1992 as a fireboat station. In 1991, the American Merchant Mariners' Memorial was installed on a rebuilt stone breakwater just south of Pier A, connected to it by a dock. Designed by the sculptor Marisol Escobar, the memorial depicts four merchant seamen with their sinking vessel after it had been attacked by a U-boat during World War II. One of the seamen is in the water, and is covered by the sea with each high tide.

From 1992 onward, the pier was vacant and fell into disrepair. Several proposals for redevelopment fell through; for instance, in 2007, Daniel L. Doctoroff, deputy mayor for economic development, proposed to use the pier building for the ferry terminal to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island and other harbor destinations.

A restoration of the pier commenced in 2009. Pier A's restaurant and bar, Pier A Harbor House, opened to the public in November 2014.

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