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Pier 55 backers appeal stop-work order on beleaguered floating park

The convoluted saga of Barry Diller’s floating park continues

Rendering courtesy Pier 55 Inc.

The seemingly never-ending saga of Pier 55, the so-called floating park designed by Thomas Heatherwick and funded by Barry Diller, now has yet another chapter. Recall that in the past few months, construction on the futuristic public space was halted as the result of a lawsuit by the park’s longtime opponent, the City Club of New York, which alleged that its environmental impact had yet to be adequately detailed. (That was the City Club’s first victory in its long fight against the park, after several failed lawsuits to stop construction.)

Then, just last week, developer and suspected park foe Douglas Durst—who Diller had previously accused of funding the lawsuits against Pier 55—admitted to his connection to the brouhaha in an interview with The Villager, though he told the paper his involvement was limited at best. (As to why Durst got involved? As he told the Villager, “I have nothing against Diller—except he said he wishes I had been killed by my brother,” the accused murderer and estranged family scion Robert Durst. Oh.)

But the Hudson River Park Trust, which has been pushing for the park’s construction, isn’t resting on its laurels. According to the New York Times, the organization recently filed a revised application for the park, which addressed two of the issues at play in the previous lawsuit, “the use of concrete to fill in some of the 550 pilings that would support the new pier and a barge that was to be docked next to it.”

“The recent court decision was a procedural one concerning how the Corps considered our request for a small amount of concrete fill within some of the project’s piles,” a spokesperson for HRPT said in a statement. “Our new application eliminates that concern because there is no longer any fill proposed.”

The Army Corps of Engineers, meanwhile, which signed off on the project last year, filed an appeal to the March decision, along with the HRPT.

But according to the Times, Diller is starting to get fed up with the continuing cycle of lawsuits, telling the paper he was “ambivalent” about the project at this point. It’s been in the works since 2012, at least, with construction finally getting underway last year—and even then, only a few of the 550 pilings needed to support the structure were put into place. Since then, the price has inflated considerably—from $130 million to $250 million.

“We’ll see what happens with this next step,” Diller told the Times. “Currently, we have an injunction and cannot proceed.”