THE HISTORY OF PIER 66 MARITIME
Pier 66 Maritime is a former car float (railroad barge) that is now used as a public access pier at the foot of West 26th Street in Hudson River Park on the west side of Manhattan.
Originally built for the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western railroad, later known as the Erie Lackawanna Railroad, this historic car float was just like hundreds that were used to carry railroad cars from New Jersey to New York City. Pier 66 Maritime is located at one of the few remaining float bridges that were used to receive these barges. The float bridges rode up and down with the tides so as to always match the height of the surface of the barge.
How did it get there?
The barge was purchased from a shipyard in Staten Island. After several weeks work in the yard (the deck was mostly gone) it was towed by a single large tugboat to its original location at Pier 63. On the way, the tug had to run off for another job and left John & his crew floating in the Kill Van Kull for several hours before coming back to finish the job.
Evntually, the barge was floated into location and ramp was attached to the cement bulkhead. The barge was then slowly pulled away from the bulkhead until the other end of the ramp was perfect and dropped in position into a precut notch. At that time, four giant spuds (large lengths of 16" diameter pipe), contained within "spud wells", two at each end of the barge, were cut loose and allowed to drop to the river bottom, thus anchoring the barge in position.
Why is it there?
The mission of Pier 66 Maritime is to bring people to the waterfront. We are also dedicated to the preservation of the historic Hudson River and ships. We are a member of numerous historic ship groups and active in the waterfront community.
Pier 66 Maritime is also home to the Light Ship Frying Pan and the retired NYC Fire Boat, John J Harvey.
We are open to the public, so come on down and experience the history of NYC's amazing waterway!