Last week, news broke that billionaire media mogul Barry Diller had been working with the Hudson River Park Trust for the past two years on an idea for an offshore park and performance space in the Hudson River. And though it seemed far-fetched at first, the fact that Diller had personally committed $130 million to the project and that detailed renderings had been created made it see much more plausible.
And now Thomas Heatherwick, the British designer behind the Pier 55 floating park, is opening up about how the decrepit West Side piers inspired his vision for the undulating, landscaped “aquatic High Line.”
Hear what Heatherwick has to say
This Week’s Features
Images: Rendering of Pier 55 park via Heatherwick Studio (L); Forest Hills Gardens via Joe Shlabotnik via photopin cc (R)
The city was abuzz on Monday when news broke of media mogul Barry Diller’s $130 million pledge to build a $170 million, 2.7-acre floating park off the shore of 14th Street in the Hudson River. The planning and design process had been kept under wraps for over two years, and though the undulating, amoeba-shaped public space seems like a pretty out-there idea, the fact that a prominent billionaire (the single largest private donor to the High Line and husband of Diane von Furstenberg, no less) has committed so much money to the project makes it much more realistic. The media seems divided on whether or not the park, known as Pier 55, will come to fruition, so tell us what you think.
Rendering via Pier55 Inc. and Heatherwick Studio
Floating space in New York’s waterways is not a new concept. Take the +Pool, for example, the public pool proposed for the East River that was recently supported by Kanye West. But a new offshore park proposed for the Hudson River off 14th Street seems exceedingly ambitious, as it would cost $170 million, be located 186 feet off land, and contain wooded nooks and three performance venues including an amphitheater.
Barry Diller, sponsor-to-be of this ambitious plan, gives the project a much more realistic outlook. The billionaire chairman of IAC/InterActiveCorp, former head of Paramount Pictures and Fox–and husband to Diane von Furstenberg–was the single largest donor to the High Line. He’s pledged $130 million from the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation to make the 2.7-acre park a realty, as well as agreed to run the outdoor space and cover operating expenses for 20 years. He and his wife have starchitect-designed offices in the Meatpacking District and are clearly becoming king and queen of the neighborhood.
More on the futuristic park ahead