East River Waterfront Esplanade, Pier 35 (Mussel Beach)

By Joe Kowalewski, Norlite LLC

New York City received a grant from the New York State Department of State to create an artificial habitat 66 feet long intended to attract colonies of blue and ribbed mussels along the East River shoreline promoting river ecology and thus named “Mussel Beach.” It will act like a tidal estuary (ecosystem) in which the animal and plant life depend on the rising and falling of the tides.

The Fort Miller Co., Inc. produced 522 cubic yards of high performance lightweight concrete for a 30% weight reduction to fabricate 30 custom pieces weighing as much as 118,000 pounds each. The required 28 day compressive strength was 5,000 psi; this was far surpassed, with the 28 day average well over 6,600 psi.

The custom precast pieces consisted of sloped and specified textured surfaces. The thirty pieces were pre-assembled in The Fort Miller Co., Inc. yard and then carefully selected granite boulders were precisely placed at an angle on the graduated slopes of the pieces. The thirty pieces were disassembled and then barged down the Hudson River to the project site.

The 30 custom pieces (Mussel Beach) were assembled at Pier 35 and are visible through a cutout design in the pier construction. This provides the public a location on the Hudson River to view the rise of high tide and the receding low tide that usually is not visible because of the sea walls that rim this part of the island.

Owner: New York City Economic Development Corporation
Precast Supplier: The Fort Miller Co., Inc.
Engineer: EIC Associates, Inc.
Lightweight Aggregate Supplier: Norlite LLC

Additional project photos are located at  https://tribecacitizen.com/2019/05/06/a-new-pier-park-for-the-east-river-esplanade/.

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