While summer is usually the time for lots of sun and brightness, that has nearly been the case for our beloved city. We have been in darkness since March and while our island begins to open, we are reminded that one of our newest additions is turning on the lights. Quite literally. We’re talking about the Seaport and Pier 17. An area with no lack of history. Just down the road from the Financial District and The World Trade Center, the area has more recently been synonymous with Wall Street workers and tourists visiting the 9/11 Memorial. But this summer changes all that with the the reopening of Pier 17 in the Seaport District.
Home to the South Street Seaport Museum and the city’s largest concentration of restored maritime buildings, the Seaport District, which includes Pier 17 is being reclaimed for New Yorkers via dynamic food, drink, art, architecture, retail, and entertainment concepts that foster community and engage the city’s denizens, year-round. Pier 17 and the surrounding Seaport District comes out of its tourist trap shadows as its new tenants incorporate the neighborhood’s rich past, while embracing its future as a port of discovery.
It may have a lower profile than many of its neighbors, but the redesigned pier has an enviable position extending over the East River, with stunning Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridge views—and the ability to light up the skyline in a rainbow wheel of shades. If you’ve seen Pier 17 at night, especially in 2020, when the lights have signaled hope and solidarity for the city, you’ll realize how unique the structure is.
“Our goal,” SHoP Architects’ Gregg Pasquarelli told Metropolis Magazine, “was that at night the floating glass box, glowing softly, would be seen as a new kind of beacon or lighthouse on the waterfront.”
To achieve the affect, the SHoP team created Pier 17’s lightband — an envelope of 20-foot-tall glass lightboxes that envelop the building’s top two floors. Working in consultation with lighting experts L’Observatoire International and architectural glass company Bendheim, SHoP designed the lightband to withstand the wind blowing off the East River, and to allow for a clean, modern façade that could be programmed to reflect a full spectrum of colors.
Since it was first lit in 2018, the lightband has helped bring awareness to a variety of holidays and social initiatives, including 9/11 Remembrances, Pride Week, and a tribute to the late Kobe Bryant.
Look for Pier 17 to light up the downtown skyline on the following upcoming dates:
➡ September 1: Red, to raise awareness for the live events industry with #WeMakeEvents
➡ September 3–5: Red & Gold
➡ September 7: Red, White & Blue, celebrating Labor Day
➡ September 10: Orange, to mark Hunger Action Day
➡ September 11: Blue, a Tribute in Lights to honor the Anniversary of 9/11
➡ September 15: Red, to mark World Lymphoma Awareness Day
➡ September 20–25: Green, in honor of Climate Week
➡ September 26: Blue, in honor of Mesothelioma Awareness Day
➡ October 3: Red, for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation Annual Memorial
➡ October 13: in honor of National Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) Awareness Day
➡ October 15: Purple, for GLAAD Spirit Day