There was a new twist in the legal saga surrounding the Barry Diller and Diane Von Furstenberg-funded Pier 55 park this week. After a series of legal losses, the City Club of New York, the group opposed to the park, finally earned a victory in court on Thursday. A United States District Court judge ruled in favor of the Club, ordering work to stop, and demanding that a review be conducted to examine the impact of such construction on wildlife, the New York Times reported.
In April last year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers signed off on the project, finally allowing it to move forward. The District Court judge however found the Army Corps of Engineers to be at fault and said that the agency had failed to consider the impact on wildlife before issuing the permit.
The 2.7-acre futuristic park has been embroiled in lawsuits right from the start. The City Club first filed a lawsuit against Diller and the organization overseeing Pier 55, the Hudson River Park Trust (HRPT) in the summer of 2015. There has been a legal back and forth ever since, including several starts and stops on construction at Pier 55. In September last year, the New York Times questioned whether real estate developer Douglas Durst was funding the legal battle against Pier 55.
The park has already received the support of Mayor Bill de Blasio, Governor Andrew Cuomo, local elected officials, and the community board, as the Times notes. Diller and Von Furstenberg are the largest donors to the Park, but its original estimated $130 million cost has already ballooned to over $200 million. The HRTP could appeal this ruling, but the organization is considering next steps at the moment.
"We have won four challenges in four courts on this project,” a spokesperson for the organization said in a written statement. “Not one of those decisions determined the proposed project would harm the environment -- and neither does this one. But even if largely procedural, we are deeply disappointed by this ruling, and are reviewing it carefully to determine our next steps."