Construction restarts at Pier 55 offshore park with new walkways in place
Rendering by Pier55 Inc/Heatherwick Studio
After years of drama, during which the project was declared dead, then given new life, construction on the public park anchored in the Hudson River (also known as Pier 55 and Diller Island), is now moving forward as evidenced by a site photo taken by CityRealty this week showing two walkways leading to the pier from Hudson River Park now in place. As 6sqft reported last October, the Pier 55 project spearheaded by media mogul Barry Diller was rebooted with Diller’s renewed commitment, complete with the backing of his recent legal foes, former ointment-fly Douglas Durst and Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Diller, who announced his plan for a futuristic cultural park in 2014, tapped Thomas Heatherwick to design the structure. Pier55 calls for an amphitheater and two open landscaped areas for staging performances, perched on pilings in the river. First estimated at $130 million nearly four years ago, the project’s cost has now skyrocketed to $250 million.
Photo credit: CityRealty
Diller pulled the plug on the project in September 2017 due in part to environmental lawsuits filed by the City Club of New York, backed by developer Durst. But just two months later, it was back on, thanks to a deal brokered by Governor Andrew Cuomo which stipulated that the litigation would cease as long as Cuomo could ensure the completion and renovation of other parts of Hudson River Park.
Earlier this month Cuomo pledged $50 million to the long-delayed Hudson River Park and called on the city to match the investment. Melissa Grace, a spokesperson for the mayor said, “We are happy to work in consultation with the state, and we have agreed to match the funding for this park.”
Map via site plan–which also shows the SS United States docking at nearby Pier 57–courtesy of Handel Architects
The 2.7-acre park and performance space replaces Pier 54, where survivors of the Titanic were brought ashore in April 1912–nearly exactly 104 years since today. The public park’s design by London-based Heatherwick Studio features an undulating topography that frames views of the skyline while providing places to lounge, eat, or just lie in the grass. The amphitheater-like area will offer a natural viewing area for music, dance, theatre and public art, in addition to community events. The Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation has already committed at least $113 million toward the project —the largest to a public park in city’s history.