Nightlife :: Local Events

Dance on the Pier Moves to Enclosed Pier

by Steve Weinstein
Contributor
Wednesday May 2, 2012
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Dance on the Pier has long been New York City’s largest-by-far outdoor annual gay dance event. For years, it has been held on Pier 54, at West 14th Street and the Hudson River. Now, the event is moving a bit Uptown, to Pier 57.

The change includes Rapture on the River, the women’s dance event that takes place the night before Dance on the Pier.

The announcement was made by Chris Frederick, the managing director of Heritage of Pride, the organization that runs the city’s mammoth Pride march down to Greenwich Village, and other official Pride-related events. The Pier Dance has long been one of HOP’s principal revenue producers.

The change will probably not be terribly surprising to those of us who have been attending the Pier Dance. For the past several years, the deterioration at Pier 54 has been dramatic. So it comes as little surprise that the city’s annual environmental review found the pier structurally unsound and unsafe for such a large number of people.

Pier 57 is only a little bit to the north. Just south of the Chelsea Piers complex, it is an enclosed space. Built in 1952, it is unusual for its construction: built on floating concrete caissons.

Until 2003, Pier 57, like other Hudson River piers, was underutilized. The city used it as a depot for Transit Authority buses. The pier notably was used as a detention center when the 2004 Republican National Convention was held at Madison Square Garden.

According to Wikipedia, "Medical activists reportedly treated many people held at Pier 57 for chemical burns, rashes, and infections that resulted from direct, prolonged exposure to the motor oil, asbestos, and other contaminants from its days as a bus garage."

More recently, the pier has been the site of several high-profile events, including the annual Food & Wine Grand Tasting.

Because of the enclosure, there will be some changes to the Pier Dance. Rapture on the River will take place from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday, June 23. The Pier Dance itself will start much later and go on later than in the past -- 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Sunday, June 24. Presumably, this also means the end to the traditional fireworks that capped the event.

This isn’t the first time Dance on the Pier has moved. In the ’90s, it moved to an undeveloped portion of Battery Park City for a very wet evening.

The DJs for Dance on the Pier will be L.A.’s upbeat, anthem-oriented Perry Twins to open; and local superstar Boris, who played the Black Party last year, as closer.

Tickets for the Pier Dance can be purchased at this website; or at Village Apothecary, at Sixth Avenue just above Eighth Street and Christopher Street in the Village; or at Delphinium Home, the site of the former Wear Me Out on West 47th Street, just east of Ninth Avenue, in Hell’s Kitchen.

Steve Weinstein has been a regular correspondent for the International Herald Tribune, the Advocate, the Village Voice and Out. He has been covering the AIDS crisis since the early ’80s, when he began his career. He is the author of "The Q Guide to Fire Island" (Alyson, 2007).

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