NYC’s Visionary $170 Million Pier Park On The Hudson

From Central Park to Washington Square, New York City is home to a number of remarkably distinct outdoor recreation spaces. Stepping into the future, the city is now contemplating a bold new addition: an island playground right on the Hudson River.

That’s right, a marvelous new floating park is expected to rest on the Hudson River thanks to media mogul billionaire Barry Diller and his wife, celebrity fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg. Dubbed Pier 55, the offshore park will replace Pier 4 near 14th Street and will be built atop an undulating platform, 186 feet off the Hudson River coastline.

Designed by Heatherwick Studio, the futuristic park will feature a series of wooded nooks, gardens, and three performance venues, including a 700-seat amphitheater.

“New York has always reminded me of Venice, so I am happy the time has come to properly honor its waterways,” said Diane von Furstenberg. “What better than a park on the city’s western bank to rest, watch a sunset or a performance?

NYC’s Visionary $170 Million Pier Park On The Hudson  - ClapwayPhoto Courtesy of Pier55, Inc./Heatherwick Studio

Altogether, the park is expected to cost a whopping $170 million. A $130 million slice of the total is expected to come from Diller, the chairman of IAC/InterActiveCorp and former head of Paramount Pictures and Fox, while an additional $39.5 million would come from the city, the state, and the Hudson River Park Trust.

Since the park does not need to raise money to get started (Diller has also agreed to cover the park’s expenses for the next two decades), authorities are so far proceeding full-fledged. Already, the proposed plan has the support of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio; both are set to join Diller and the trust in formally announcing the concept on Monday.

“The revitalization and transformation of this pier into a vibrant arts and community space will bring new energy and new visitors to our waterfront,” said New York City mayor Bill de Blasio.

While many are on board with the project, others are arguing that locals should have had more input, showcasing a clear tug of war in New York City between private control over public spaces.

Still, Madelyn Wils, president and CEO of the trust, argued that it was not privatization at play and that the park would remain open and accessible to everyone.

The proposal still must be approved by the trust’s board, and will undergo a 60-day public review before it’s presented to Community Board 2.

If approved, work will begin in 2016 with a scheduled completion date of late 2018 or early 2019.