Pier 17: A Beacon of Light in Downtown NYC

Pier 17: A Beacon of Light in Downtown NYC

The New York City skyline is dominated by impressive skyscrapers but Lower Manhattan boasts more than its iconic prewar towers and newcomers like One World Observatory and New York by Gehry. Over on the east side, anchoring the Seaport District is Pier 17.

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:

For more info on upcoming activations and events, follow Pier 17 on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.