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Pier-55-Heatherwick-04 All renderings by Pier55 Inc/Heatherwick Studio
After all the drama, including a New York Times headline declaring the project dead, construction on the floating public park in the Hudson River, dubbed Pier 55 and also known as Diller Island, is now moving forward, according to a site photo taken by CityRealty today. The two walkways leading to the pier from Hudson River Park have mostly been laid. Prior to the work coming to a halt last summer, just a few straggling concrete pylons had been positioned.
Pier55 construction 2018 All construction photos by CityRealty
Pier55 construction 2018-2
Pier55 construction 2018-3
Pier55 construction 2018-4
The project was originally proposed by media mogul and billionaire Barry Diller and Hudson River Park Trust in 2014, but the following years weren't particularly kind to them; costs soared from $35 million to $250 million, and the City Club of New York filed a series of environmental lawsuits. This caused Diller to officially pull the plug on the project in September 2017. But just two months later, it was back on, thanks to a deal brokered by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The deal stipulated that lawsuits from the City Club of New York would cease as long as Cuomo could ensure the completion and renovation of other parts of Hudson River Park.

Earlier this month, Cuomo pledged $50 million to the long-delayed Hudson River Park and called on the city to match the investment. And while the governor and Mayor De Blasio don't typically see eye to eye on matters (especially on issues involving the MTA), this case seems to be the exception. Melissa Grace, a spokesperson for the mayor has said, "We are happy to work in consultation with the state, and we have agreed to match the funding for this park."
Pier55-03 The two walkways leading to the pier are being put in place
The 2.7-acre park and performance space replaces Pier 54, where survivors of the Titanic were brought ashore in April 1912. Pier 55's construction is occurring just south of RXR Realty and Young Woo & Associates’ Pier 57, and between the pile fields of Pier 54 and Pier 56 which are being preserved for marine ecosystems.
The public park’s design by London-based Heatherwick Studio features an undulating topography that frames views of the skyline while providing places to lounge, eat, or just lie in the grass. The amphitheater-like area will offer a natural viewing area for music, dance, theatre and public art, in addition to community events. The Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation has already committed at least $113 million toward the project — the largest to a public park in city’s history says the New York Times.
This section of the waterfront adjacent to the Meatpacking District is overflowing with new development. Onshore, the Jeanne Gang-designed Solar Carve Tower has just topped out, the torquing towers of The Eleventh designed by Bjarke Ingels Group are rising, and Pier 57 is readying Google’s 250,000-square-foot arrival. Additionally, just south of Pier 55, the Sanitation Department is vacating the Gansevoort Peninsula to be incorporated into Hudson River Park. According to the park website, the peninsula’s Pier 52 is to have a rocky shoreline beach, a play lawn, and recreational boating areas.
Lastly, we dug up a few new renderings and details of the ambitious plan to permanently dock the S.S. United States next to Pier 57. The proposal designed by Handel Architects would have accommodated more than 800 micro-luxury hotel rooms, a beach and winter club, a museum, restaurants, and nightclubs. In 2016, the plan was considered a serious option to salvage the super-liner. However, the SS United States Conservancy, the organization dedicated to saving the ship, chose Crystal Cruises as a suitor with their plan to return the ship to service. They backed out of the deal months later citing technical and commercial challenges.
SS United States-04 Site plan with the SS United States docking at Pier 57 (Handel Architects)
Content Specialist Sandra Herrera Sandra Herrera is a writer, editor, and graphic designer based in Brooklyn, NY.
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