1. Life & Culture

Readers review the new St. Pete Pier

Nearly 100 readers had something to say about the new $93 million signature destination in downtown St. Petersburg.

When it comes to St. Petersburg’s new Pier District, pretty much everyone has an opinion.

It has already been the subject of a decade’s worth of squabbles and political upheaval. So, after the signature landmark, which ultimately cost about $93 million, opened to the public on July 6, we asked readers to weigh in with their reviews. Nearly 100 responded via email and the Tampa Bay Times Facebook and Instagram pages.

The majority found it inviting and impressive, almost deceptively so. There were complaints about shade, restrooms and protesters.

“From a distance the new Pier looks underwhelming,” wrote Dana Frank. “But up close it’s spectacular. Multiple walkways, live music spots, food truck areas, public art, large playground, two restaurants, an open air bar, a museum, gift shop, bakery, live bait shop, plenty of places to sit, improved beach area and beautiful landscaping.”

Related: Two opinion writers walk to the Pier: Is it worth it?

Perhaps mindful of all the debate surrounding the project, Frank added: “Have an open mind and check it out. It is far, far better than the old Pier.”

Like all things surrounding the city’s beloved downtown waterfront, the new Pier District didn’t rise without a fight, and there are some who won’t be swayed. A famous quip from Dolly Parton came to mind for reader Bobbi Napper: “It took a whole bunch of money to make it look that cheap.”

“I’ve not been to the new Pier, I rarely ever visited the old Pier,” wrote St. Petersburg native Heidi Sumner. “Our downtown is thriving all on its own. The sheer waste of the millions of dollars that this new box cost could have gone to affordable housing. ... Leaving the land a welcoming additional green space would have been a much better, more eco-friendly, alternative.”

Related: What 5 local architects think of the new Pier

We limited the reviews collected here to those who actually have stepped foot on the property. Most loved the views it afforded of the whole Tampa Bay area and the nighttime light show of public art and walkways. But there were complaints. Some of the biggest were the lack of shade and the skateboarders (who aren’t allowed) and bicyclists (who are) sharing the sidewalk with pedestrians.

Visitors walk through and shop at the new Marketplace area of the St. Petersburg Pier District. [ SCOTT KEELER | Times ]

Times writers have documented the new arrival with a dining guide, a look at the many pieces of public art found there and the attraction’s night moves and special lighting effects by previewing an evening at the Pier.

Here are readers’ initial impressions, edited for length and clarity:

What they liked

Well spaced: I love how everything is spaced out and not clustered together like the old pyramid, and there are more restaurants and attractions along the way than previously. Plus, there’s more shade leading up to the end of the Pier than before, which is certainly a bonus. My two biggest complaints are the lack of permanent shopping (though I know there will be kiosks and pop-ups along the way as time goes on) and everyone’s lack of respect for the trolleys coming through. They should have a pleasant, but poignant, horn that can be used to tell meanderers and gawkers to get out of the way of the trolley. Otherwise, I can’t wait to go back. — Jim Dietrich

Bring guests: I’m a resident in St. Pete and have been waiting like everyone else for the Pier to be completed. I went for my first visit and was not disappointed at all. It was over-the-top impressive with many things to see and do there, even fish. I bought ice cream and a T-shirt with the St. Pete Pier logo. I’m definitely coming back again and again. I will tell everyone about it and bring guests.— @larryyoke76 on Instagram

Related: The final cost of St. Petersburg's new Pier District are almost in

Something for all ages: As a 70-year resident of St. Pete I’ve experienced three Piers and the new St. Pete Pier is my favorite. It’s functional and has something for everyone of all ages. The Bending Arc is an amazing piece of art and complements our beautiful park and surrounding museums. — Eileen Stafford

Overcome with awe: I have lived in St. Pete for the last three years attending Stetson University College of Law. I live downtown and recreate often around town. I have read a lot of negative reviews of the Pier, however, I believe the Pier is the best thing to come to downtown. I visited the Pier for the first time last night and I was overcome with awe as I walked around. The restaurants were great and the views were spectacular. I really do not see how anyone could say something negative about it. It truly is a staple of downtown now. — Calvin Warriner

Nighttime is the best: The BEST time to visit the Pier District is at sunset when the lights of downtown begin to twinkle and the Echelman structure comes to life. From the landscaping to the food to the art, shopping and the children’s playground the new Pier District makes me proud to live in St. Petersburg. — Caterina T. Runyon

The signature sculpture of the new $93 million dollar St. Petersburg Pier, "Bending Arc" by renown artist Janet Echelman, is seen lit up at night. [ BOYZELL HOSEY | TImes ]

Shopping a plus: We loved the new Pier. We went to Hops & Props first, then shopped vendors and spent the rest of the evening walking the entire Pier. We couldn’t get up to the Teak bar, long line. The walkways, plants, playground, restaurants — all are wonderful. What a great addition to our city. Maybe having signs identifying all the Florida native plants they’ve put in would be helpful? We were skeptical about the floating sculpture, Bending Arc, but actually seeing it from underneath was gorgeous, in daylight and at night. The downside, as we were leaving, the protesters started pushing their way through, and ruined everything for our group. The worst was the vulgar graffiti on the beautiful new sidewalk. Why is that okay? — Cheryl Wilson-Jensen

Great artwork: Casting the Net (Bending Arc) should not be underestimated for the unity and celebration of how we have grown in kindness and human rights since 1957. I was working First Night for the St. Petersburg Preservation Society now called Preserve the Burg. My station was at the Museum of History. I related the history of how people of color could not swim at Spa Beach. I can to this day see the look of horror on the face of the little girl with long blonde hair. She looked up to her father for comfort. He gave her the most gentle hug and I wondered if I had spoiled their outing by telling the story. I see now that the story has to be told. — Harriet Deloach

Florida themed: We visited the St. Pete Pier yesterday and were very surprised and pleased at the overall beauty of it. The landscaping was outstanding and very Florida themed. It looked like one of the botanical gardens Florida is known for. The Tampa Bay Watch exhibit was fascinating and so well designed. Also liked the local vendors with their exhibits like art shows we have sorely missed during the pandemic. The only disappointment was not being allowed on the top of the main building without a restaurant reservation. We would have liked to see that view. (Note: According to a city spokeswoman, no reservation is required for the fifth-floor rooftop. — Mary Ellen Kilbride

More attractive venue: We went Friday morning by reservation and spent about three hours. We really enjoyed the trip and feel it is a much more attractive venue than the inverted pyramid version. Would recommend a visit to all, but not sure if they will continue to limit the number of visitors, which is really needed right now. — Ben Collier

Job well done: The setup seems very conducive to taking your time and sauntering from one area to another. The one thing that did strike us is how much heat was being reflected off of the very wide sidewalks. We did realize the need for the wide walks when several trucks drove down toward the end of the Pier with deliveries. We liked the large Bending Arc sculpture but didn’t realize that it was lit at night. We will have to go back in the evening to see that. We very much enjoyed the short, informative lectures provided within the Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center and purchased one of their “Photicular” books. We enjoyed the end of the Pier with the fishing station and the restaurants. And here we come to the one sore spot of our journey. We intended to go up to the Teak restaurant for lunch. I have arthritis in my knee, so the steps were problematic. We tried to take the elevator, but it seemed that only one was working and it was very slow. And, with social distancing, we didn’t feel like we would get to ride for an hour or so. We ended up having an excellent lunch at Doc Ford’s. — Kyle Mills

All three restaurant names are shown on the wall of the Pier Head building. [ SCOTT KEELER | Times ]

We loved it: There was plenty of room for social distancing, there were a variety of things to do for people of all ages and abilities, and the landscaping was multi-layered and gorgeous. The Tampa Bay Watch exhibit was excellent and even though my husband and I have been Floridians for 40+ years (and outdoors people), we even learned a few things there. We had a drink at the tiki hut (Pier Teaki) with so-so service not due to our server, but due to antiquated methods — no computer ordering, no pay at your table ability. So … slow… Dinner at Doc Ford’s was delicious. The only negative was that they walked us through the dining room to get outside to eat when they could have put a hostess station outside the front door and sent us outside that way. All in all, it is a beautiful place that will only get better with time. The plantings will grow into their space, the restaurants will determine what works and what doesn’t. Perhaps more art will be added to make the walkway more interesting. Bottom line, though: We LOVED it. — Barbara Trow

A good start: I visited one day after the Pier opened. Beautiful, breezy day, sparse crowds, and perfect day to enjoy the new Pier. The previous Pier was always a favorite because of the dining options then (Columbia Restaurant and Cha Cha Coconuts). Upon entry, I was impressed with the wide open, grassy entrance. The aerial sculpture was more impressive than I had seen described. I was taken by the simplicity of the physical design. My overriding disappointment is in the limited amount of dining options at the end of the Pier. I feel there should have been a couple other more casual, takeaway, less expensive dining locations at Pier’s end. Very nice and a good start for what I hope will be an evolution of experiences. — Terry Greenhalgh

Better than expected, but still: The overall design of the pier is great, much better than I expected with something for just about everyone to enjoy. The splash pad and the music/entertainment venues are sure to do well, but it could use a bit more to put it over the top as a destination that will keep people coming back. I was surprised there were no underwater lights or other lights shining into the water to attract fish for viewing and catching. This seems like a no-brainer. What would really put it over the top, though, is a zip line. — Dan Kasaris

Crown jewel: We have lived in St. Pete for 40+ years. My husband and I had our first date at the Columbia Restaurant at the old Pier so it held a special place in our hearts. We have visited the new Pier twice, once in the evening and once in the early morning. It is fabulous. We liked everything about it. There is something for everyone. Your editorial writers who were underwhelmed should check their cynicism and try again. It is truly a crown jewel for St. Pete. — Sarah Nohlgren

Beautiful landscaping: I love it! The multidimensional end of the Pier building, Bending Arc and the Discovery Center are fantastic as I expected. What blew me away, however, was the beautiful landscaping, subtle elevation changes and a pond with a fountain. Friends and relatives who have seen my pictures can’t wait to check it out for themselves. — Bob MacDonald

The new playground at St. Petersburg's 26-acre Pier District. [ SCOTT KEELER | Times ]

Great views: I was very pleased with the overall concept and design with some reservations. Personally I enjoyed the park spaces with its walkways, green space and artwork. Really well done and very inviting. That was always missing from the previous pier design. There’s so much for families and children too. Outstanding. By the way, is there a designated space for wedding ceremonies? I like how the “commercial” property (restaurants, gifts) was separated from the green space. There is definitely a lot of concrete to be seen but it’s way better than asphalt I suppose. And I found myself looking for a bench to sit on toward the far end. Seemed scarce. Beautiful views of the downtown and surrounding area. See a lot of potential in the entire design. Overall I really liked it. 8 out of 10. — Ronald

Similar to Chicago: The Pier is so impressive. We were thrilled to see it. Reminded me of Chicago’s Millennium Park in that it defines the community very boldly. The 26-acre area is big enough to allow for an outdoor experience that is not defined by indoor spaces. Loved the novel spaces that are intended for various experiences: sitting on a hill listening to music, watching children play in the fountains, sitting at the beach, watching kayaks or dolphins in the water or enjoying the shade of the checkered entrance canopy. So many different areas for meeting friends or just walking through. Spectacular experience. — Ann E. Briggs

Full-blown park: Wow! It is absolutely amazing! Loved the walkways and the gardens. The playgrounds and splash pad made me wish my kids were younger. The restaurants and bar were so comfortable and inviting looking and the food looked delicious. This is not just a pier, it is a full-blown park where you can hang out for hours. There are plenty of picnic benches and Adirondack chairs and even chaise lounges on Spa Beach. Looking forward to visiting again. — Michelle Page

Beauty: Amazing architecture! Definitely adds to the beauty of St. Pete. And A+ for keeping people working. — James Charles

Exceeded expectations: It is totally unique, diverse and awesome. It exceeded my expectations and will be there often. When we were there Wednesday evening to watch a gorgeous sunset all we heard were happy and super-impressed visitors. It will be a featured attraction for locals and tourists for a generation. — Kent Runyon

Well done: We went on a Monday and Tuesday and ate at Doc Ford’s and Teak. It’s simply spectacular. So much to see and do. — Brian Waechter

So proud: It’s AMAZING!!!! I’m so proud of St. Pete. It was a long journey, with plenty of naysayers and roadblocks along the way. This resident and taxpayer is ecstatic about the outcome. Fantastic investment in the city for decades to come. — @hollielayned on Instagram

Mixed reviews

Some fixes needed: Like so many other Pinellas County residents, I was very happy for the grand opening of our new Pier. I thought the new Pier was awesome. However; I gave it an 8 not a 10, for the following reasons: The fishing deck has no available shade, or lighting at night. I was happy to see dogs were allowed, but disappointed to not find any watering stations. (Editor’s note: The water fountains do have dog watering features.) Spa Beach had much seaweed accumulated on the sand. Someone should be hired to rake the beach each morning. The splash pad was only fair, and I thought the splash pad and playground should have been located right next to each other. Lots of open space to walk, and plenty of areas to sit, but more shade is necessary. Thrilled to see the new docking area for the Crossbay Ferry at the Pier. — Linda Bornstein

Protesters walk past the Janet Echelman sculpture as they continue their march through the new Pier District on July 6 in St. Petersburg. [ JONAH HINEBAUGH | Times ]

Shade needed: Tampa Bay Watch’s facility is much more accessible and visible than the Pier Aquarium was. The exhibits are both fun and educational. The beach looks great. The playground and splash pads already appear to be “kid magnets.” The fishing area is attractive and out of the way of walkers. The restaurants look great, but we are not dining in at the moment. One major disappointment is the lack of shade. The shops were the only walkable area with reasonable shade. This was a major issue with the old Pier, and, if anything, there is even less shade for the long walk out to the Pier head. There is much too much concrete, and while the intersecting pathways are nice for wandering, there are huge stretches of unshaded paths that are anything but inviting. A minor disappointment is the Echelman sculpture. We love her work, having experienced it in Washington, D.C., and Portugal. The magnitude of the piece is impressive, but during the day, the colors in her piece get washed out. At night, the lighting needs adjusting. Overall, it will fulfill its purpose of attracting families, tourists and diners. However, it’s not iconic, and the biggest issue of past piers, shade, has still not been adequately addressed. — Hal Freedman and Willi Rudowsky

So much open space: Loved most of what I saw. Loved the open feel to everything. We loved the lawn — and yes, children were rolling down it. I really like the floating structure even in daytime. I understand it is spectacular at night. Like the layout for the fishing platform and the easily available shop to support bait and equipment. We did not go into the Tampa Bay Watch education center, but we plan to do so when I am more comfortable being inside a building. It looks like it will be worth the $5 entrance fee, just not right now. We decided to go up to the Teaki bar to check it out. I really liked the layout and the vibes. It will be a great venue. However, the bar had folks sitting side by side drinking. Every seat was taken. Some tables were quite close together, and were packed. I did not think bars could do that right now. Hate to think what it is like at night. On the whole, I think the city did a great job in keeping crowds under control. We expect to visit frequently. — Ann McNicol

Great playground, but disappointed: Nothing but concrete. The playground is awesome though. The building is terrible. The fishing area in the back is 25 percent of what it used to be. They could have done all the beautiful landscape, waterspouts and playground at the back end of the old Pier or a new one that looks like old Pier with many levels, restaurants and aquarium and then save some money maybe for the homeless. Also, I went Thursday morning. 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. was my reservation. They said they were open. But they wouldn’t let us go upstairs, couldn’t see the top of the Pier, couldn’t go up the elevator, gift shop wasn’t open — just very disappointed. (Editor’s note: A city spokeswoman said CDC guildelines caused some line confusion in opening weeks, but no reservation is required to visit the fifth floor.) — James Priebe

Boat slips, bike racks needed: My wife and I visited the Pier on a Wednesday and we were overall impressed with everything we saw. A few things I saw did raise some questions. I did not see any way to access the Pier by boat. There were no transient boat slips in place. I can only assume that they will be going in soon along the sea wall by Doc Ford’s. As bicyclists, like many residents in St. Pete, we will be visiting the pier by bike. I was surprised to see so few bike racks at the Pier head itself. I can see where bikes will be locking up wherever they can until more are installed. We are proud of what St. Pete has done with this project and will be visiting the pier regularly. (Editor’s note: Boat docks are slated to be installed by early 2021; there are bike racks throughout the district.) — Larry Anton

Nice, but less than expected: So we have been waiting patiently for the Pier to be finished and were disappointed that the opening had to be delayed due to the pandemic. You can only imagine our delight when we signed up for the sneak peek preview on July 6. So here are our observations: It is nice. Good for walkers and water lovers for the view. But I think we were disappointed tremendously. I think it had to do with expectations. We expected to walk into a new, mini-city with lots of things to do and see. There is a nice beach, a few nice places to eat and drink, but that is about it. I look forward to seeing it at night but I do not consider it a destination spot but rather a “pass by and see thing.” The second big observation is that residents are not taking masking guidelines to heart. While we waited in a very long line to get in, no one was safe distancing and the people behind us were coughing excessively. Let’s hope it continues to grow and expand. — John D. Brant

Tweaks needed: I love, love, love the new Pier. I was at the Pier at sunset on opening night and it could not have been more gorgeous. What a view spot. I plan to change my bicycle habits this summer to wear a swimsuit and stop off at the Pier splash park and beach to cool down. Fabulous! Suggestions for improvement: Get rid of the gates on the stairs of the Pier head building, or move the gates higher. We want a view even when the restaurants are closed. Add a large shade covering to the big blank concrete expanse beside the splash park. It’s hot out there. Please add breakfast service. Many of the nicer shaded areas have no seating. Please add more shady benches and chairs. But I absolutely love the new Pier. It was worth the wait. — Linda Todd

What needs work

More shade: We enjoyed our time at the Pier but what it really needs is more shade structures similar to Tampa’s Riverwalk. Once you move on from the open air market, shade is tough to come by unless you go into a business or restaurant. — Rusty Birchall

Sun and rain protection needed: I have been to the Pier twice, at night. The downfall to the Pier is not enough shade from the sun and covering, for protection when it rains. I think there should have been more restaurants, small stores and street performers. — Jean Garret

Not senior friendly: Wow, so disappointed. Waste of money. Not senior friendly. The walk too long from the overpriced restaurants . Money could have been better spent on community affordable housing, or removing all the homeless that is out of control. — B. Powers

Trolley path: I think the trolley path needs to be painted a solid color and labeled better. It’s currently barely labeled and easy to ignore. — Jim Dietrich

Benches needed: I visited the Pier for opening week. Beautiful, but should not allow bicycles or skateboards. It will get way too crowded as more people visit the Pier. Also, should put up more benches next to the eating venues. — J. A. Friedline

Shade needed: The long walk on the concrete surface to the end of Pier has to have some type of cover to protect us from the sun. Explain why half of the panels in the initial shade structure are missing. — Mike MacMillan

No rain shield: I visited the Pier and was not impressed. I am hoping there will be more going on once we are out of this virus. The splash pad and playground are great if you have kids. ( I do not.) There are very little shaded areas. In the heat wave we are having that would be helpful. The biggest surprise was the roof over the top floor of the pier. The roof does not protect visitors when it rains. We got to the top floor, stopped at the bar and ordered a drink. After paying for it our bartender warned us we would get soaked in a few seconds. A rain cloud opened up right over top of us and the rain comes right through the roof! Why would you put this type of roof in a region where rain clouds pop up all the time? — Jean M.

Looks unfinished: Underwhelming, too much concrete, not enough shade, and it looks unfinished. I had a long, hot walk getting to the main Pier building, noticing along the way that the concrete is already cracked and filled in many spots. Then, a 30-minute wait to get to the top of the Teaki bar. The view is beautiful, as it always has been, but one cocktail cost $16. That is not local friendly. As for the $1.5 million dollar art work, it looks like a big net during the day. It should be renamed “for the birds.” I hoped for more. — Lisa Maker Bailey

More bike racks: We like what we see, we know we will like it even more as time passes. But there is one flaw that we noticed immediately: Not enough shade! Another small personal problem flaw: Not enough bike racks. — Bill and Bessie Morse

Embarrassing: The Pier is objectively beautiful, no doubt. However, when you juxtapose this immaculate $90 million park to the relative destitution that exists just a couple miles away in south St. Petersburg, it becomes embarrassing. One could argue that the Pier brings jobs and boosts tourism, which will fuel the economy and provide new opportunities for low-income earners. However, many of the people clearing tables, working events and security can’t afford to sit down and have a meal and drinks at places like Pier Teaki or Doc Ford’s. Racist ostracization will inevitably dissuade many families who would otherwise be interested in spending time there, or take away from their full enjoyment of this park space. We like to think our city has moved beyond this point, but as the ongoing protests have showed, many residents feel like they still don’t have a place at the table. Until we appropriately fund the south side and lift up our most vulnerable residents, the Pier is nothing but a poor investment to me. — William S. Kilgore

Dolly Parton comes to mind: The main Pier structure brings to mind a similarly amusing quote once said by the great Dolly Parton: ”It took a whole bunch of money to make it look that cheap.” Just hope they at least plan on giving it a Coat of Many Colors paint job. — Bobbi Napper

Bunker: The instant vision that entered my mind upon seeing the main structure at Pier’s end is that it perfectly captures the look of a gigantic German artillery bunker, circa World War II. War buffs will love it! Please tell us this is just the inner concrete core that will eventually support another iconic Pyramid we once adored. — Roger Napper

Drowning hazard: The new St. Petersburg Pier is a sparkling gem on our beautiful waterfront. I was so delighted to finally get out there and see it for myself, but then nearly gasped when I reached the children’s playground. As a pediatric RN with 30+ years of experience, the first thing I noticed was an unfenced body of water right next to the children’s playground. Adding further concern was the amount of high grass and foliage at the water’s edge that could easily obscure a child that has slipped away from their caretaker’s sight. We all know how fast this can happen. There are regulations in our county and state for barriers to prevent direct access to pools. A similar barrier should be placed around this before we have a terrible tragedy. (Editor’s note: The city has plans to fence this exposed area off.) — Teresa Kropp

Safety concern: My one concern is being able to keep the Pier a safe place. It is so large that crimes could easily be committed there and no one would know. I also think it is important to not allow it to be a congregating point for homelessness or drug activity. This is such a great place that I hope it is maintained well so that people can enjoy it for a long time. — Calvin Warriner

An eyesore: The $92 million dollar Pier is an ugly abomination of wasted space and an eyesore for local residents. The pre-pyramid Spanish style architecture, that was the real Pier, was aesthetically pleasing and fully functional, with shops, dancing venues, a bait shop, ice cream parlor and more. It attracted a classy crowd, which exists no more. The cost to construct would have been half what was wasted on the “ugly glass house.” The charm and elegance that once befitted St. Petersburg has been lost to a bastion of fools in city hall. — Mark Johnson

Spare me: Having been an officer in the west coast Florida letter carriers’ union, I was fortunate enough to have had the honor of traveling to many major U.S. cities. In each city, I would ask the local delegates to recommend a venue. I saw the Liberty Bell, Wrigley Field, the Gateway Arch, Hoover Dam and climbed Diamond Head among my many other pleasurable ventures. Conversely, they would ask for a reciprocal recommendation in the event they ever visited St. Pete and I would enthusiastically tell them to check out our inverted pyramid. Now I have an additional reason to be happily retired. It spares me the embarrassment of telling the gals to make sure they visit the Pier District and behold the million-dollar flying pantyhose. Yawn. — Steve Wojchowski

Too much concrete: I and three of my friends took a tour of the Pier area. Nothing really blew our socks off. For $92 million I’m not sure we got our money’s worth. I don’t live in St. Pete, but I’m down there three or four times a week so I’m very familiar with the area. Way too much concrete, and with vendors starting to line the pathway to the Pier it was tough to get a decent water view. I have a feeling it’s going to look like the Saturday Morning Market except in a different location. There were a few areas that children might like at least for a short period of time, but I’m not certain what adults are supposed to do out there except visit Doc Ford’s. And as for the sculpture, if you want to call it that, it looks pretty spectacular when you’re standing under it but at a distance even at night and especially during the day it looks like a giant fishing net and there is no way that I’m going to believe those studies that say birds are not going to fly into that. Bottom line: I give it about a C. — Jim Moran

It needs color: As we approached from the north in our kayaks, we noticed something was missing on the new Pier building and that something was color. Too much cement! It needs some tropical splash! After all, aren’t we the city of murals? Let’s get some bright dolphins, turtles and tarpons. If this is already in the works, never mind! St. Pete rocks! — Whitney Johnson

Mixed review: My take is: No. 1. No art displayed from local St. Pete artists. 2. Echelman net piece ... not worth the money. 3. Tilted hill???? Nobody using it? 4. Loved the playground! 5. Loved the restaurants and places to sit. 6. Lose the skateboards, longboards and rollerskates ... not the place for them. 7. Need more local vendors! More public restrooms? — Danute Krebs

Little shade: I was very disappointed by the amount of money spent on cracked concrete and landscaping. There was very little shade as I walked up to the top of the Pier. The restaurants catered more to the white people. Nothing appealing for us Black folks to eat. I felt out of place as a Black woman in my 50s. The Bending Arc was very underwhelming. I don’t feel that the money was well spent and they need to do an investigation because we’ve been robbed of $92 million dollars. Bring back the inverted Pier. I’m a tax-paying citizen and I want my money back. — Odessa Jackson

Problems at the restroom: My fiance and I drove to the Pier on a Friday afternoon, reservation in hand, and spent the lunchtime hours taking in the sights. Lunch at Doc Ford’s was delicious. We were served well by having a dining reservation there. Walkup guests were being quoted 45-minute waits. Then we braved high winds at the rooftop Pier Teaki. The drinks and views there were worth the walk. Pier Teaki, though not to the fault of the proprietor, is where the problems started. First I was waiting for a rooftop restroom at Pier Teaki. A customer happened to tell me he’d seen other people waiting before giving up. He suggested the door might be locked. I flagged a manager down who told me “the city” has the key and that he’d have to call them. He was very cordial and took me to a different, interior restroom. Later, back on the main floor of the Pier, I went into a public restroom. I couldn’t unlock the door to exit. I finally figured out how to get the door open. Your mileage may vary. — Alex Cobb

Concrete jungle: It’s awful. Just a rooftop bar made of small areas. It’s a concrete jungle. No tropical trees along the walkway. It has limited restrooms for so many people. It will bring people with all of the hype, but they will most likely hate it as much I did. If you want to ride bikes or things like that it’s probably the way to go. I won’t go back. There is no reason to. No dancing, no entertainment, etc. — Lynn Vlaming