Pier 26: A Delightful Learning Lab

At first glance, the beauty and recreational aspects of Manhattan’s newest pier are front and center, as it is often full of runners and people snapping pictures of the view. However, if you look a bit closer, you’ll quickly realize the space was thoughtfully designed to promote a better understanding of the natural environment. Pier 26, which opened earlier this fall, is the newest addition to the Hudson River Park.

“Hudson River Park runs four miles along Manhattan’s west side attracting over 17 million visits each year. The Park provides an oasis for New Yorkers and visitors alike with a variety of recreational and educational activities.”


Pier 26 itself contains 4 distinct ecosystems spanning from east to west, starting with the Woodland Forest, Coastal Grassland, Maritime Scrub and ending with a Rocky Tidal Zone, that dips into the Hudson River.

This morning I had pleasure of touring of the Tide Deck, getting an up-close view of the tide pools and floating wetland area. As a local parent and former educator, I was delighted to hear how closely the Hudson River Park Education Team was involved in the completion of the pier from the very beginning. From decks and stairs that can comfortably fit classes, to hidden storage spaces for teaching materials, it is clear this space was designed as a vibrant outdoor learning lab.

While Tide Deck tours (and hopefully school field trips) don’t resume until Spring 2021, visitors can easily educate themselves through the visually instructive signs that pepper the walkways. If you are lucky to be in the area, I recommend taking time to explore all the delightful elements incorporated into this lovely green city space.

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