Courtesy Pier55 Inc/Heatherwick Studio


News & Updates


November 16


The Hudson River Park Trust (HRPT) and The Diller – von Furstenberg Family Foundation today announced plans to build “Pier55” – a public park and performance space on Manhattan’s lower west side.

The project will replace the deteriorated Pier 54 and be funded primarily by the Diller –von Furstenberg family, which has established a new nonprofit, Pier55, Inc. (P55). P55 will build and operate the pier in cooperation with HRPT. Construction of the 2.7-acre pier is expected to commence in 2016 at a cost in excess of $130 million, to which the City of New York will contribute $17 million. Separately, New York State will provide $18 million for the construction of an expanded public esplanade that will run from Bloomfield Street to 14th Street.

Under a 20-year lease, P55 will fund the programming, operations and day-to-day maintenance of the pier, including landscape, lighting and other park amenities. P55 will oversee all of the pier’s programming while HRPT will maintain the park as it does all of the public piers in Hudson River Park. Pier55 will be open the same hours as the rest of Hudson River Park, and, through the lease, P55 is committed to providing maximum public access, including during most performances. 

“New York City’s waterfront provides tremendous opportunities for everything from tourism to outdoor recreation, and Pier55 is the perfect example of how we can tap into that resource to build a more enjoyable city for all,” said Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. “Building this new pier will greatly improve the Hudson River Parkland, and I thank the Diller – von Furstenberg family for their generosity and vision in the pursuit of a better New York.” 

“Hudson River Park has become a destination for millions of New Yorkers from across all five boroughs,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “The revitalization and transformation of this pier into a vibrant arts and community space will bring new energy and new visitors to our waterfront. We are deeply appreciative of the generosity of great New Yorkers like Mr. Diller and Ms. von Furstenberg without whom this visionary project would not have been possible.”

“We are so lucky as a family that we get to do this,” said Barry Diller. “If the Pier when completed is anywhere as much sheer fun, strife, stimulation and joy as it has been conceptualizing it, and in working with Diana Taylor and Madelyn Wils, the Heatherwicks, and the glorious team of Scott Rudin/Stephen Daldry/George Wolfe and Kate Horton to make it a reality, then it will exceed my wildest expectations.”

“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?”

HRPT is governed by the Hudson River Park Act and operates on a premise of financial self-sufficiency; it receives no public funding for its operations. The partnership announced today will allow HRPT to focus its funds and fundraising efforts on the rest of the four-mile park, which attracts more than 17 million visits a year. The new pier will be will be constructed between the pile fields of Pier 54 and Pier 56, which will remain in order to provide a fish habitat.

“Pier55 will provide New Yorkers and visitors to Hudson River Park with a gorgeous park worthy of our city’s grand tradition of iconic public spaces,” said Diana Taylor, Chair of the Hudson River Park Trust. “We are thrilled to partner with two great New Yorkers like Barry and Diane, whose vision and generosity will enhance the city for generations to come.”

“This distinctly New York partnership brings together the kind of creativity, bold long-term thinking and funding commitment that are essential for such a world-class venture, and moves us closer to fulfilling our mission as a self-sustaining park,” said Madelyn Wils, President and CEO of the Hudson River Park Trust. “The Diller – von Furstenberg family’s support and dedication, and our partnership with the City and State, make this project both transformative and sustainable – we couldn’t be more excited to be moving forward together.” 

"The new Pier55 will add to the amenities of Hudson River Park in particular and Manhattan at large," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "I'm glad that a partnership has been created between the Hudson River Park Trust and the Diller – von Furstenberg Foundation to make it happen and guarantee that it's open to all." 

“Whenever we add new parkland where none previously existed, it’s a permanent boon for our community,” said David Gruber, Chair of Community Board 2. “In this case, combining cultural programming with beautiful public open space will ensure that Pier55, like the rest of Hudson River Park, is a gift the whole city can enjoy. It is now going to go through a public review process so that the community can fully see the whole plan and have input into the project.”

P55 and HRPT have enlisted some of the finest architectural and artistic talent in the world to design Pier55, including design firm Heatherwick Studio and landscape architect Mathews Nielsen. The pier will be a place of discovery, where visitors can wander and wonder, finding something new around every corner: places to lounge, eat lunch, or just lie in the grass. The park’s undulating topography – replete with lush lawns and pathways – will offer sweeping views of the Manhattan and northern New Jersey skylines for all park-goers and provide a natural viewing area for the new performance space, which will be designed to immediately serve as one of New York City’s premier venues for music, dance, theater and public art, along with community events. The majority of Pier55’s programming will be free and low cost, with prices set in accordance with nonprofit programming in New York City. 

P55 Leadership:

Barry Diller – Chairman

Scott Rudin – Vice-Chairman

Stephen Daldry – Director

George C. Wolfe – Director

Kate Horton  - Executive Director for Programming

Mr. Diller said: “From the early stages of the project, I asked Scott Rudin to join me in conceptualizing all aspects of the project. We decided early on that the programming for the park – and the design of the park itself – should be ambitious in every way. We felt we should primarily commission work from artists of every variety – from world renowned to local New York City talent. Soon, we brought on Stephen Daldry and George Wolfe to be Directors of P55, responsible for all the programming. We have also engaged Kate Horton to be our Executive Director for Programming.” 

“I'm thrilled by the opportunity to play a part in what will likely be a tremendous and deeply beautiful addition to the recreational life of our city,” said Scott Rudin. “The process of incepting this park and performance center has been both enormously challenging and hugely exciting, and the chance to be part of this – to be in at the creation, and then through the completion and even into operations – of something that has every chance to be a game-changing addition to the landscape of the city for both the community and for the artists who will make work here, is something I love. And the opportunity to do this with people with whom I have worked over and over, for many years – Barry Diller, Stephen Daldry, George Wolfe and Kate Horton – all of them signal forces in what they do, and who make everything they touch better and more inspired –is a peerless opportunity. I'm hugely grateful for it.”

“Pier 54 was held in great affection by many New Yorkers, with its diverse history of concerts, performances, gatherings and chaos,” said Stephen Daldry. “The chance to rebuild, to reinvent, and crucially to reimagine the old Pier, as Pier55, is a true gift. I feel privileged and proud to contribute to its unique and continuously evolving fabric. The tremendous ambition of Heatherwicks' wonderful park will inspire us to create an extraordinary program of commissions, artist residences, education initiatives and community engagement that we hope will become an essential part of the rich and diverse cultural landscape of the city. My enthusiasm for this new park holds no bounds.”

"I'm thrilled to be involved in a project that features a performance component that is populist in its ambition, expansive in its desire to nurture artists, and is also an exquisitely beautiful gathering place for all New Yorkers," said George C. Wolfe.

“It is a rare privilege to be part of the team responsible for realizing the extraordinary vision for Pier55 – to make a beautiful park with an amazing artistic program for so many people to enjoy, participate in and be inspired by,” said Kate Horton. “It will make an incredible addition to New York’s fantastic cultural landscape and we hope it will become loved by the local community, artists, visitors and audiences for many decades to come.”

“When I was little I used to come to Manhattan to visit my great aunt who lived here and never forgot being driven down the West Side Highway and seeing the fields of disused pile heads sticking out of the river,” said Thomas Heatherwick. “All these years later, my studio and I are honored to now be growing another set of river piles in the midst of these historic ones to hold up a new phenomenal public park with special spaces for performances. This project is a tribute to the ambition and vision of the Hudson River Park Trust and the Diller – von Furstenberg Family Foundation.”

“Pier55 will be unlike any other pier in Hudson River Park,” said Signe Nielsen. “Unexpected topography and captivating spaces will create physical, visual and cultural experiences found nowhere else in the city, much less on the waterfront. The drama and delight of the landscape will make this a magnificent destination that will define a new paradigm of public parks.”

Since 2011, HRPT has sought to redevelop Pier55 in a shape that is more conducive to flexible park use and ensure for improved circulation at public events. The plan for Pier55 does just that. 

The proposed lease must be approved by the HRPT Board of Directors. Prior to that vote, HRPT will undertake a mandatory 60-day public review and comment period, during which it will post the draft lease and other materials relevant to the project on its website. The project will also be presented at a December meeting of Community Board 2.

“Today is a great day for Hudson River Park’s more than 17 million annual visitors,” said Mike Novogratz, Chair of the Friends of Hudson River Park. “Thanks to the Diller – von Furstenberg family’s generous commitment, New Yorkers will have a thrilling new way to experience the arts right in their own backyard. This is a great example of how ‘Big Philanthropy’ can make a real difference in the lives of New Yorkers.”

“This is a great day for Hudson River Park,” said Tupper Thomas, Executive Director of New Yorkers for Parks. “We’re always excited when a philanthropist understands the vital role parks play for all New Yorkers, and this project expresses that democratic vision with a thoughtful, engaging design. Perhaps most critically, it at also provides the maintenance funding that’s so important for any new parkland. Hudson River Park is used by millions every year, and Pier55 will make it an even more valuable public resource for years to come.”

“Pier55 will bring a ‘Treasure Island’ to New York's waterfront, providing a neighborhood amenity, regional resource, and citywide destination for recreation, great views, and inspiring outdoor cultural offerings,” said Adrian Benepe, Senior Vice President and Director for City Park Development at the Trust for Public Land. “The Diller-von Furstenberg family’s gift for this park project is the largest for any park in the city’s history, and an affirmation of the need to keep building great parks for a growing city.”

“This philanthropic gift to New York City draws upon so much of what makes a grand urban public space – and then takes it a step further,” said Margaret Newman, Executive Director of the Municipal Art Society. “Pier55’s imaginative, almost dreamlike design and artistic ambition will touch everyone who visits. This park will be an invaluable public asset for our city for generations to come.”

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