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Pier 55, A Floating Park On The Hudson, Is Finally Taking Shape

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Along Manhattan‘s West Side, it’s becoming increasingly easier to recognize the weirdly undulating terrain of Pier 55, a $250 million floating park on the Hudson River dreamed up and paid for by media mogul Barry Diller and his wife, the fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg.

Field Condition, a photo blog that documents construction projects, shared some recent photos with Gothamist that show significant progress on a massive concrete underbelly, which will serve as the park’s platform. The 2.4-acre park designed by Hudson Yards’ Vessel designer Thomas Heatherwick is meant to resemble a leaf floating on water. To achieve that delicate effect, workers have been installing 132 tulip-shaped concrete pots which rest on pilings in the river. According to a NY Times story, each pot weighs more than 90 tons.

To construct the park’s rolling terrain, the pots are positioned at different heights, rising as high as 30 feet into the air. The shape arose from environmental as well as aesthetic concerns; the height permits sunlight to pass below onto an area that has been designated a marine sanctuary and also protects the park against storms.

As the photos show, a renovated section of the Hudson River Park promenade has also recently reopened to the public.

Plans for the park, which is located near the Meatpacking District, were first unveiled in 2014. Envisioned as a lush, one-of-a-kind green space with a 700-seat amphitheater for performances, the Pier 55 development appeared to be dead two years ago, after Diller surrendered in the face of a protracted legal battle in which opponents, including real estate developer Douglas Durst, raised environmental concerns and accused him of building a luxury amenity for the rich.

Under a lease agreement between Diller and the Hudson River Park Trust, which oversees the development, 51 percent of the tickets for the performances will either be free or under $30 dollars.

Roughly a month or so after withdrawing the plan, Diller came back onboard in October 2017, after Governor Andrew Cuomo negotiated a compromise between the two sides. But the fight over the project proved to be costly. The park was initially budgeted at $35 million.

“Other than write checks there’s nothing much we can do,” Diller told The Hollywood Reporter last year. “We want to build it right. And yes, it’s true — the delay was costly. But my family’s lucky. We have the resources and we’re gonna do it.”

The project is expected to be completed in the spring of 2021.



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