As with any major project ready to make waves in NYC, we were just counting the days until Barry Diller’s plan for a futuristic floating park would run into legal trouble. Today, the Times reports that opponents of the $130 million project have joined together to sue Diller and The Hudson River Park Trust (who approved the plans to build) in order to stop construction. The civic group, known as City Club of New York, are saying that the parties have failed to throughly evaluate the environmental impact of the park, and they want Pier 55 to undergo a new environmental review while also obtaining approval from the State Legislature.
City Club contends in their suit that “the trust failed to conduct a required environmental review, relying instead on an older analysis that did not envision Pier 55, the demolition of Pier 54 or development along the river since then.” This, they say, allowed Diller and the The Hudson River Park Trust to infer that removing the existing pier and building an island and walkway supported by 547 pilings driven into the river would do no damage to the environment.
However, what really seems to be fueling the group’s opposition is the fact that the project was developed without any public involvement. As the Times writes, one of the arguments in the lawsuit filed by City Club is that the project arose from a “secretive process designed to reach a preordained outcome that lacked the transparency required by state law and was not designed to elicit meaningful public scrutiny.” As many have argued, Pier 55 is a blatant example of how America’s rich are turning public parks into “playgrounds for the wealthy” and that the city needs to really consider the “eco-gentrification” issues that arise with building a project like this.
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Neighborhoods : Meatpacking District