Arctic Addition

New York City’s Pier 17 will transform into a winter wonderland

Architecture East Urbanism
Rendering of Pier 17 rooftop ice rink by Visualhouse (Courtesy Rockwell Group and Howard Hughes Corporation)
Rendering of Pier 17 rooftop ice rink by Visualhouse (Courtesy Rockwell Group and Howard Hughes Corporation)

As summer comes to an end and temperatures begin to drop, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission has approved plans to convert the newly revamped Pier 17 into a rooftop winter village during the colder months. The proposal by Rockwell Group will introduce a warming hut, winter marketplace, and ice rink nearly the size of Rockefeller Center‘s to the city’s waterfront, making the historic South Street Seaport district a year-round attraction.

In recent years, the Seaport has transformed into a lively residential and commercial hub, where residents and visitors have been drawn to the area for its top retail, dining, and cultural attractions, as well as its spectacular views of the Brooklyn Bridge and New York City skyline.

Rendering of Pier 17's rooftop ice skating rink

Rendering of Pier 17’s rooftop ice skating rink (Courtesy Rockwell Group and Howard Hughes Corporation)

The winter wonderland idea originated from the urban ice skating rinks at Rockefeller Center and Bryant Park, which have historically been popular seasonal attractions. The design is further inspired by a set of five different materials that the firm wanted to celebrate in connection with the neighborhood’s rich past as a gateway for international shipping and maritime activities. Those materials include bronze, teak, commercial barrels, cargo units, and ice. While only temporary, the installment will cover over 50 percent of the rooftop of Pier 17, a massive 30,000 square feet.

Rendering of Pier 17's rooftop warming hut and lounge

Rendering of Pier 17’s rooftop warming hut and lounge (Courtesy Rockwell Group and Howard Hughes Corporation)

The renovation of Pier 17 and its subsequent winter addition are parts of a larger plan to bring new restaurants, shopping centers, and family-friendly public spaces to a neighborhood that is drenched in history. There is no doubt that Pier 17 will achieve this goal, as it has already helped revive the vibrant and effervescent neighborhood, contributing to Lower Manhattan’s recent evolution into a community that never sleeps.

Pier 17’s rooftop is known for hosting several sold-out events ranging from comedy shows to concerts. Still awaiting completion are two restaurants by celebrity chefs David Chang and Andrew Carmellini, as well as a 19,000-square-foot ESPN studio.

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