The on-again, off-again, undulating, maybe not-so-undulating Hudson River park and outdoor performance center at Pier 55 is apparently back on again. Known colloquially as “Diller Island” for its main proponent, media mogul Barry Diller, the project seemed dead in the water when its nick–namesake walked away, citing countless lawsuits—some of which were underwritten by Diller’s fellow plutocrat, real estate honcho Douglas Durst. But then Governor Andrew Cuomo—feeling, perhaps that he couldn’t let the opportunity for a major tourist attraction to slip away—decided to intercede one more time.
In the spring, both he and Mayor Bill de Blasio called Durst to persuade him to drop his suit—and in fact the whole shebang was was close to being finalized when Diller decided, somewhat unexpectedly, to ghost. Finally, with some wheeling and dealing, Cuomo convinced the parties concerned to take another shot at realizing what’s supposed to become the centerpiece of the 4.5-mile-long stretch of redeveloped waterfront that was originally slated to open in 2003 (only 70 percent of the total project has been finished so far). Diller is back on board, and Durst has signed on to the agreement.
In the meantime, the Whitney is proceeding with its plan to erect a permanent public art installation by artist David Hammons on a nearby site—which will only make the area an even bigger cultural destination if all finally goes according to plan.