Barry Diller’s $250M offshore Pier 55 park dubbed ‘Little Island’
Rendering courtesy of Little Island
The offshore park currently under construction in the Hudson River has been officially christened “Little Island,” the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation announced Wednesday. The Pier 55 project, which is being funded by billionaire Barry Diller and overseen by the Hudson River Park Trust, includes over two acres of public green space across a wave-shaped structure near West 13th Street in the Meatpacking District. First proposed in 2014 for $35 million, Little Island is expected to cost $250 million and open in the spring of 2021.
“It’s a joyous feeling to see Little Island rise up in the Hudson River, and now I can’t wait for New Yorkers and its visitors to cross the bridge, leave the boisterous city behind, and play, lay back, and be stimulated every which way by the Island,” Diller said in a statement.
Designed by Heatherwick Studio and Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects, the park is meant to resemble a leaf floating on water. The park sits on 132 concrete structures that put it 15 feet above the Hudson River. The undulating support structure allows for a variety of elevations, ranging between 15 and 62 feet.
Little Island will feature four different landscape typologies at its four corners, with rolling hills, walking paths, and lawns, along with 100 species of trees and shrubs. Expected to open in the spring of 2021, the park will host year-round arts and educated-related programming.
The on-again, off-again Pier 55 project, once called Diller Park, faced a number of setbacks since a plan to develop a futuristic park at the site first materialized in 2014. Opponents of the park, including real estate developer Douglas Durst, blocked its construction for nearly three years until Diller called it quits and announced plans to pull the plug.
But just a few weeks after Diller canceled the project, Pier 55 was back on the table, following support from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who said he struck a deal between the two groups. In his State of the State speech this past January, Cuomo pledged $23 million to complete the Hudson River Park, part of the agreement reached nearly two years prior.
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All renderings courtesy of Little Island