Earlier this month, Barry Diller’s futuristic offshore park got closer to reality when the Manhattan Supreme Court dismissed a case against the development that claimed it could have a negative environmental impact. And now the $130 million project known as Pier 55 has cleared its final hurdle, gaining regulatory approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. According to Crain’s, the Hudson River Park Trust revealed today that construction will commence this summer.
Billionaire media mogul (and husband to Diane von Furstenberg) Barry Diller just had a big victory in his road to constructing Pier 55, a $130 million futuristic park off 14th Street in Hudson River Park. As reported by the Post, the Manhattan Supreme Court dismissed a case against the development that claimed it could have a negative environmental impact, wiping out local species such as the American eel and shortnose sturgeon.
Justice Joan Lobis, who noted she enjoys biking along the Hudson, said the project did go through the appropriate environmental review process, which found that it “would not cause significant adverse impacts on the aquatic habitat.” Though the plaintiffs, the civic group known as the City Club of New York, have vowed to appeal the decision, construction is currently set to begin later this year.
Yesterday, 6sqft uncovered conceptual renderings for a nine-acre island/pier in the Hudson River that would serve as a final terminus for the High Line. It would be a circular-shaped cultural and recreational center, dotted with five interconnected pyramid-shaped buildings, as well as an elevated promenade and a marina. It’s quite similar in design and theory to Barry Diller’s proposed Pier 55 floating park, which is planned for a Hudson River site slightly farther south in the Meatpacking District. And then there’s the + Pool, a massive public pool proposed for the East River.
Pier 55, the futuristic, $130 million park and performance space, already has a lease deal and $113 million in funding in place, but it was slapped with a lawsuit saying those involved have failed to throughly evaluate the environmental impact of the park. Which brings us to our question — is this new model the future of public space in NYC? In an urban setting where every square inch of space is at a premium, floating parks certainly are a creative alternative, but are the logistics ultimately too complicated?
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.
Back in April, the city introduced a plan B for Barry Diller’s Pier 55 floating park, but it was far less exciting than the original futuristic design. Thankfully, the latest set of renderings, revealed by Curbed, show that the whimsical nature of the park hasn’t gone anywhere.
Mathews Nielsen, the landscape architect for the project who is working with designer Thomas Heatherwick, unveiled the latest set of images at a meeting this week. They take into account concerns from the local community board, including its height (the platform will now be 62 feet at its highest point as opposed to 70), circulation (the winding pathways are being designed with congestion in mind), and the issue of people jumping off (the periphery will be lined with shrubbery and a fence).
In February, the futuristic Pier 55 floating park planned for the Meatpacking District moved forward with a lease deal between the Hudson River Park Trust and a nonprofit group controlled by Barry Diller, the billionaire media mogul who pledged $130 million back in November to fund the $151.8 million park. Diller is allocating the funds through the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation (his wife is fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg), but under the agreement he can pull his support if he feels renovations at neighboring piers aren’t up to par. And according to DNAinfo, the city’s backup plan in this event is quite underwhelming, completely scratching the floating island and creating a $30 million park similar to others along Hudson River Park.
Rendering of 860 Washington Street, via James Carpenter Design Associates
We tend to think of the Meatpacking District as more of an after-hours or weekend destination for cocktails and shopping, but a piece in the Times today looks at the “influx of office space and more” moving into the neighborhood.
In addition to the much-anticipated opening on May 1st of Renzo Piano’s new Whitney Museum along the High Line, a James Carpenter-designed 10-story glass commercial tower and Samsung’s six-story flagship building are taking shape across from the Standard Hotel. And let’s not forget about Pier 55, the $130 million futuristic floating park that is expected to break ground in 2016 off West 14th Street. With all of these new cultural attractions that will undoubtedly attract tourists, coupled with big-name companies joining the likes of Google in the area, is the Meatpacking District the new Midtown?
Last we heard about Pier55–the 2.4-acre futuristic floating park and performance space proposed by billionaire media mogul Barry Diller that would jut 186 feet into the Hudson at 13th Street–Community Board 2 had mixed feelings about the project. They liked Thomas Heatherwick’s design, but cited concern over the lack of transparency from Diller and the Hudson River Park Trust.
Despite these feelings, though, we’ve learned today from the Times that the Trust approved a lease agreement with Pier 55 Inc., a nonprofit group controlled by Diller, to help develop the $130 million public space. Diller has already pledged $113 million toward the project through the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation (his wife is fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg). So, what’s next?
- Are independent park managers and private-public partnerships, like we’re seeing with Barry Diller and Pier55, turning public parks into playgrounds for the wealthy? [New Republic]
- You’re not the only one who eats on the floor in front of the television. Check out this photo series of how New Yorkers really eat in their cramped apartments. [Business Insider]
- These balcony-based products (New York translation: fire-escape products) will really spruce up your outdoor space. [Core77]
- Want to learn more about NYC’s terra cotta buildings? Attend this lecture February 17th lecture by Dan Allen of CTA Architects. [NY Landmarks Conservancy]
- Never worry about getting your umbrella stolen again with this combination locking design. [Yanko Design]
It’s been relatively quiet over the past six weeks or so as far as news about the proposed offshore park and performance space in the Hudson River known as Pier55. But this week, Community Board 2’s Parks and Waterfront Committee reviewed the project, and though they liked Thomas Heatherwick’s design overall, they cited their main concern as transparency.
The board’s issue stems from the fact that billionaire media mogul Barry Diller, who committed $130 million to the 2.7-acre park, and the Hudson River Park Trust had been working secretively for two years on the plans. According to Curbed, committee member Arthur Schwartz said, “Probably the main public critique of this project has been the way that so much of the design was developed in infinite detail before it even became a matter of public knowledge.”