The rarefied class of decision makers behind the 2.4 acre, $130 million dollar elevated park above the Hudson River designed and largely funded by a billionaire with almost no public input whatsoever have been given permission to break ground.
The City Club of New York had sued to prevent Barry Diller and his wife Diane von Furstenberg from building the park at Pier 55 on the Hudson River—not for treating public land like a private asset, because these things happen—but because they argued that the 300 columns the park has to drive into the Hudson would irreparably disturb the environment, which is a marine sanctuary and spawning ground for striped bass.
A judge dismissed their suit earlier this month. Yesterday, the Army Corps of Engineers cleared the final hurdle for construction to begin as early as this summer. The City Club says they will appeal.
“We are excited to be in a position to start construction,” Madelyn Wils, the CEO of the Hudson River Park Trust, said in a statement.
Wils and the trust’s chair, Diana Taylor (who happens to be Michael Bloomberg’s girlfriend) were some of the only people to see Diller’s early plans for the park, which began with him spending $33 million and eventually grew to $113 million. The city and the state will contribute $17 million and $18 million respectively.
Hudson River Park itself is only 72% finished (not enough funding, you see—where are all the generous billionaires?) but the trust has promised that when it is, money from its commercial ventures will help maintain Pier 55 for the duration of its 20-year lease.
Plus there will be income from Pier 55's three event spaces and their “promise of high-quality arts programing.”
Finally, a place to see outdoor performances in New York City.