Did Pier 55’s “floating park” proposal end because of the Whitney Museum’s proposed art installation on the Hudson River nearby? That’s what the lawyer representing the City Club of New York, which opposed the Barry Diller-funded park, is suggesting in a new New York Times piece examining the demise of the park.
Following a series of lawsuits the City Club had lobbed against the project, which had stalled the park, and rapidly escalated construction costs, Diller agreed to meet with the opposition to hammer out a deal. Richard Emery, the lawyer for the City Club, told the Times that “Barry was getting everything that he wanted.”
The City Club’s demands included the following: that the Hudson River Park Trust (HRPT), the body that oversees the waterfront park, renovate Pier 97, and speed up two reclamation projects; and that no company owned by Barry Diller should profit from the “floating park,” according to the Times.
It seemed clear to the opposition that camp Diller had agreed and that the Thomas Heatherwick-designed project would move forward, so it had to be something else according to Emery.
Emery went on to add that folks at the Whitney Museum had met with HRPT several times, and may have failed to mention it to Diller. Madelyn Wils, the president of the HRPT denied this suggestion and told the Times that Diller’s staff was aware of the proposal. Diller however told the Times that he only found out about Whitney’s proposal after he had already pulled the plug on the project.
The saga of this park has turned into a bunch of he said, she said at this point, and the future of Pier 55 now remains uncertain.
UPDATE: a spokesperson for the HRPT issued the following statement to Curbed:
“The idea that the demise of Pier55 had anything to do with the Whitney proposal -- and that the Trust somehow concealed that proposal from Mr. Diller -- is absolute nonsense.”