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Work resumes on Pier 55’s Thomas Heatherwick-designed park

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This $250 million has overcome years of drama to finally make some progress in earnest

Max Touhey

After a drama-filled year at the Meatpacking District’s Pier 55 park project, construction on the futuristic green space is finally underway again. CityRealty captured ongoing construction work at the site, which confirms that the Thomas Heatherwick-designed project is back up and running.

Let’s recap all the happenings from last year real quick; Following the announcement of the Barry Diller and Diane Von Furstenberg-funded project a few years ago, the project kept getting blocked by lawsuits filed by the City Club of New York, a group in opposition to the park.

Construction work hobbled along for much of 2017—one lawsuit would halt construction, the park’s backers would overcome it and resume work, and then work would be halted once again due to another lawsuit.

In May 2017 it was revealed that developer Douglas Durst had funded some of the lawsuits against Pier 55 allegedly due to his ouster from the Friends of Hudson River Park (a spokesperson for Durst says he resigned), an independent non-profit. A separate organization, the Hudson River Trust is in charge of design, construction, and maintenance of the four-mile long Hudson River Park, within which Pier 55 is located.

Even Mayor Bill de Blasio intervened, trying to convince Durst to back away from funding the lawsuits. But after months of such back and forth, Diller expressed frustration and decided to back out of the $250 million project, effectively terminating it.

Then, Governor Andrew Cuomo intervened, and convinced the City Club to cease with its lawsuits, which prompted Diller to come back on board. Cuomo went one step further and decided to commit $50 million toward the completion of the Hudson River Park, if the city agreed to do the same; the city got on board as well.

In the midst of all of that, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer appointed Douglas Durst to the board of the Hudson River Park Trust, effectively ending the opposition against the floating park.

With all of the kinks now ironed out, work is underway and construction will likely wrap up in the next couple of years.