A verdant wonderland amidst the monstrous urban conglomeration that is New York City – the scope may seem to come out of a page of fantasy, Utopian work. However, that is exactly what the Hudson River Park Trust plans to achieve, in a bid to effectively revamp the dilapidated Pier 54. This bold urban renewal project will entail a huge 2.7 acre park (designed by Thomas Heatherwick) along the Hudson river that will be based upon an organic-looking yet artificially constructed island.
Now, of course a park trust can’t really be expected to have that kind of money to construct an entire pier/island with its specific verdurous landscape. In that regard, the endeavor will be financially aided by billionaire media mogul Barry Diller, who will donate a whopping $130 million for the project. In fact, the entire plan of constructing the Pier 55 park was kept secret for over two-and-a-half years, with the Diller’s initial donation promise being just limited to $35 million. However, over time, the endeavor has surely grown in ambition and scope – with the gradient-bearing organic platform of the park envisaged to be supported on a whopping 300 concrete-made pylons that will come in heights ranging from 15 to 70 ft.
As for the spatial organization of the Pier 55 park, the lush ambit will boast of lawns, gardens and pathways. But the ‘piece de resistance’ of the setting will arguably be the open-air amphitheater with its 800 seats. To that end, this theatrical installation will host plays and performance arts that will specifically chosen by a team of Oscar-winning movie producer Scott Rudin, theater director and producer Stephen Daldry, and playwright (and former producer of Public Theater) George Wolfe.
The interesting part is how this hush-hush opulent scheme might just see the light of the day with construction expected to start by 2016. This building phase can only proceed after the Army Corps of Engineers and the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation have give their seal of approval – which is again expected to happen, since almost $40 million for the project will come from the city coffers. However, there are concerns raised about the rather ‘hidden agenda’ behind the endeavor, with Assemblywoman Deborah J. Glick voicing her opinion (as told to NYTimes)-
Throughout history, there’ve been major patrons of the arts. They get to determine what the classics are, whether they commission a Beethoven symphony or a major park. But it is deeply disturbing that the trust failed until now to disclose what it is doing.