by Sarah Dougherty on Jul 15, 2014
Sure, the views are hard to beat – but the sounds alone might be what you remember most about your first visit to Pier 2. Nowhere else in the city can you hear the quick skids of basketball shoes, boisterous bocce cries, and roller skaters keeping pace to Top 40 hits all in one place. There’s the clanging of lockers, the swooshing of swings, the thuds and pangs of handball pros and, amongst it all, the pristine silence of a lone yogi on the back corner of the Pier 2 play turf. All of this set to the ever-present soundtrack of the New York Harbor. Ahh!
For the city that has it all, Pier 2 is unique. Having opened just three months ago, thousands of people have already visited the pier for pickup play, permitted leagues, birthday bocce and shuffleboard events, street ball tournaments, free kayaking and large events like New York Road Runners’ Brooklyn Half Marathon Expo – at which runners picked up race bibs, and visitors enjoyed everything from Peruvian street food to free workout classes, live music and Mohawk haircuts.
Against Manhattan’s striking skyline, Pier 2 carries a strong sense of history and tradition. NYC Parks have always played a role in bringing communities together outdoors. When Mayor La Guardia commissioned the Parks Department to build New York City’s first bocce courts in East Harlem in 1934, he wanted to give American-Italian families the opportunity to enjoy the Italian pastime in New York. NYC Parks and Recreation continued to diversify the use of park space by creating multi-purpose areas that would attract people of all ages, interests and backgrounds. While today’s Pier 2 bocce players might not be the trousered, bowler cap-wearing gentleman that once ruled the courts, they do not lack zeal. And in the off-chance that they do get tired of bocce— basketball, shuffleboard, handball or roller skating are only a few steps away.