New New York: After a century of darkness, Pier A Habor House reopens

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BATTERY PARK (PIX11)--The five boroughs are changing and changing fast. What's old is new and that is especially down at the southern tip of Manhattan.

Right across from the Statue of Liberty sits the only Victorian pier left in New York City. Last year, it was falling apart, but not anymore.

Pier A Harbor House in Battery Park recently re-opened its doors after being closed to the public for more than a century. The Pier was built in 1886 to serve New York City Harbor police and Department of Docks, the boats of which would capture pirates.

It was also home to the Fire Department Boat until the early 1970s then sat empty, rotting and crumbling ever since.

After more than $40 million in renovations over the past few years, Danny McDonald and Peter Pulakakos have taken over and transformed this historic landmark into a  three-story entertainment house.

"We kept the downstairs floor with a large bar like a beer hall," Pulakakos said.

In its storied past, Pier A served as the VIP entrance for European Ambassadors traveling to Ellis Island.

"Back in the day this was an immigration hall," Danny McDonald said.

The pier serves as a historical memorial as well, perfect for children interested in exciting history.

"It's a three-story wine tower, but it was a clocktower," McDonald said. "It was the first tribute to First World War and built in 1919."

For the first time in decades, it echoes through southern Manhattan. The inside designed with fuse-boxes and gauges a steamboat feel and the third-floor is still under construction.

McDonald said the Harrison Room is opening soon.

Since Pier A has been under construction for more than a century, McDonald considers it part of new New York.

"Absolutely," he said when asked if it fit that "new New York" criteria. "The fact the public has not been able to access this pier in 128 years."

Pier is now open free of charge with views of Financial District skyline and waterfront landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

"It should be that interactive space and a New York experience," McDonald said. "The views are important as anything else."

Pier A is open daily from 11 a.m. to 4 a.m.

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