First it was undulating. Then it was undulating not so much. Then it was gone for good. Now, hard on the heels of news that plans are kaput for a futuristic park off of Pier 55 (conceived by British designer-of-the-moment Thomas Heatherwick, and paid for by billionaire mogul Barry Diller and his wife, Diane Von Furstenberg), comes word that the Whitney Museum of American Art will be taking over the site for a permanent outdoor installation by artist David Hammons.
The original idea for the park called for an offshore structure supported by lilly pad–shaped columns that locals soon dubbed “Diller’s Island.” This being New York, the project drew lawsuits to stop it, courtesy of the City Club and big-time real estate developer Douglas Durst, who footed the legal bills. (Durst claimed that it was nothing personal with Diller, though he claimed that the latter had once wished that Durst’s brother had killed him. That would be Robert Durst, who’s been notoriously linked to multiple homicides.) After a series of court-ordered setbacks, Diller decided to throw in the towel.
Enter the Whitney and its proposal. Though there are no renderings as of yet, according to The New York Times, Hammons plans to create a ghostly version of the original Pier 52 building as it existed before it was torn down—a kind of minimalist skeleton that looks like a 3D schematic floating in air. The folks at the Whitney are mindful of the pitfalls of Diller’s Island, which foundered on issues surrounding its environmental impact, and want to avoid the same mistakes. But who knows what creative reasons are waiting out there for another lawsuit?