When History is Paved Over

Pier 45 went from a seedy, crowded, and accepting pier, to a pristine location for tourists, jogging and dog walking.

The piers were used in the early 1900s for shipping, but as shipping methods changed, soon the docks and warehouses were being abandoned. The West Side highway was built, creating the perfect isolation for these piers to be taken over by the gay community, especially young queer folk of colour and gender non-conforming people.

The piers were used for cruising, naked sunbathing, sex, drugs, and art. They became safe havens for queer people that were homeless, and a place to go to where they could be accepted. 

As all hubs of liberal living do, the Village attracted the new bourgeoisie and art enthusiasts brought on gentrification. This prompted talks of renovations, police presence, and cleaning out the area, seeing the youth on the pier as a nuisance. The Queer Pier revolts and efforts of groups like FIERCE were substantial, but in the end, the Hudson Park was renovated to become the pristine location it is now: meant for people that are running, and walking their dogs, or looking out at the view... everyone but those who were there before they were displaced, without another place to go.