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All renderings of Little Island courtesy of The Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation/Heatherwick Studio All renderings of Little Island courtesy of The Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation/Heatherwick Studio
UPDATE 11.13.2019: Construction is moving apace at the Thomas Heatherwick-designed Pier 55. According to a press release, and new photos taken by CityRealty, work is on track for a spring 2021 completion. Today the project's funder and conceiver, The Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation, announced the official name of the undulating waterfront green space: Little Island.

When we last checked in on the project in July 2018, only some of the concrete pylons were driven into the Hudson's riverbed. Now it appears most, if not all of the 132 "tulip-like" pylons are in. The structural caps have also been formed which will ultimately create the supporting slab of the 2.4-acre park. Ranging from 15 feet to 62 feet in height, the varying elevations will allow for assorted topography and for visitors to capture new perspectives of the city and skyline. Of course, there is still a long way to go (ahem, soil and vegetation) before we can tread on this floating cloud in the river.

Barry Diller of The Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation says, “It’s a joyous feeling to see Little Island rise up in the Hudson River, and now I can’t wait for New Yorkers and its visitors to cross the bridge, leave the boisterous city behind, and play, lay back and be stimulated every which way by the Island."
 
 
 
 
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Little-island-04 Litte Island as of late October 2019 (CityRealty)
Little-Island-03 At the foot of the pier, a newly paved bike path and paved esplanade opened over the summer

PIer 55 as of mid-July 2018 . The white piles will support the undulating pier deck (CityRealty)
Construction photos taken 7.10.2018 by CityRealty
Pier55 construction 2018 All construction photos by CityRealty
Pier55 construction 2018-2
Pier55 construction 2018-3
Pier55 construction 2018-4
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.
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 and commissioned by RXR Realty 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.

In January 2019, it was announced that RXR Realty has partnered with the ship's conservancy to again devise a plan to reuse the retired ocean liner. According to Newsday, the conservancy has been pushing to turn the ship into a permanently docked mixed-use attraction along the Hudson River in Manhattan." RXR, in partnership with Young Woo & Associates, is wrapping up construction on Pier 57 just to the north of Little Island. It will bring new offices anchored by Google, retail, and an elevated recreation areas to the waterfront.
SS United States-04 Possible site plan with the SS United States docking at Pier 57 (Handel Architects)
Editor's Note: This post was originally published April 18, 2018.

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Luxury Homes in Midtown | Newly Renovated Studio-2BR Homes View Property
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