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That undulating park off Pier 55 may not undulate as much as expected

Written by
Howard Halle

When it comes to construction projects in NYC, what you see in renderings isn’t always what you get. Take the park planned for Pier 55, which is being funded to the tune of $130 million by billionaire Barry Diller.

As originally envisioned by British architect Thomas Heatherwick, the proposal called for an offshore green space supported by 202 futuristic mushroom-shaped columns—or "pots” as they’re called—set at varying heights to create an undulating structure. Construction is well underway, with the 535 concrete piles needed to support the site already in place.

Pier55, Inc.

Nonetheless, according to the Architect’s Newspaper, the Hudson River Park Trust (which is overseeing the project) recently filed a request with the Army Corps of Engineers to replace 70 of the pots with flat piles. Taken together, these changes will straighten out some of the waves in the design. The reason? Companies experienced in marine construction aren’t submitting bids to build the place because the whole pot thing is too damn complicated and expensive.

The proposed modifications are meant to allay these concerns, but don’t worry: According to the Hudson River Park Trust, the landscaping will remain unaffected.

Update: The Hudson River Park Trust  has responded with the following clarifications:

1) The design for the park always included a central plaza meant to be flat.

2 ) While 70 of the original proposed "pots" are being replaced with conventional piers, the park will retain the rolling topography of the original design through the use of foam, soil, columns and "roofs" above the substructure.

3) While the Trust plans to reduce the number of pots from 202 to 132, the actual elevations will not be achieved or affected by what’s holding up the deck.

4) Only 55 of concrete piles have been installed so far, not 535 as mentioned above

In sum, according to the Trust, the undulating park will still undulate.


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