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Pier pressure! Billyburg waterfront access coming soon? - Brooklyn Paper

Pier pressure! Billyburg waterfront access coming soon?

Developers of Northside Piers in Williamsburg say the North Fifth Street pier will finally be open for public waterfront access in October — more than three years after it was supposed to be finished.
The Brooklyn Paper / Kristen Joy Watts

A portion of the Williamsburg waterfront will open for public access later this month, giving residents of the park-starved neighborhood some of the open space that was promised under a contentious 2005 rezoning.

The 400-foot-long pier at the foot of the Northside Piers development looks set to open in late October, spokespeople for the Parks Department and the builders of the Kent Avenue high-rises told The Brooklyn Paper.

“We estimate an October opening for the pier only, not the entire esplanade that will be created as more of the site is developed,” said Parks spokeswoman Meghan Lalor.

Once the pier at the foot of North Fifth Street opens, the developer — Toll Brothers — will give the land to the Parks Department, and make annual payments to maintain the site, she added.

The rezoning of the waterfront requires Toll Brothers to complete the public esplanade before it can receive permanent documentation to open the multi-tower development.

So far the pier hasn’t opened because protected pedestrian paths across the active construction site have not been completed.

Neighbors hoped the pier would open this summer when Williamsburg artist Mark Gibian installed a much-ballyhooed 28-by-16-foot, eight-ton, stainless steel sculpture in June.

In September, residents again grew optimistic that the pier would open before fall when signage for the public-space was erected around the neighborhood.

But with no official opening date, some Williamsburg residents are cynical that the pier will actually debut this month — especially considering the lack of progress on the city’s long-planned 28-acre Bushwick Inlet Park.

“We are always on the cusp of getting what we were promised, but it never seems to arrive,” said neighborhood activist Evan Thies.

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