2014 A Park on the Water
The Hudson River Park Trust is a nonprofit charged with converting four miles of abandoned piers and industrial lots strung along the lower west side of Manhattan into nature spaces and entertainment venues. In 2014, the trust proposed one dramatically different park that had emerged from its discussions with philanthropists Barry Diller and Diane von Furstenberg. Asked to contribute funds for a simple pier rebuilding along the decayed Hudson waterfront around 13th Street, Diller urged something more ambitious. He hired a prominent architect to design an undulating wooded and grassy area that hovers above the river on 300
mushroom-shaped concrete columns. The suspended island would be reached by two gangways, and would feature open amphitheaters where a range of ambitious live performances would be scheduled.
In addition to offering these ideas and promising a $113 million donation to build the park, Diller recruited top theater and entertainment impresarios to advise on the cultural programming, and created an independent foundation to take responsibility for carrying it out. The proposal enjoyed wide endorsement from New York leaders. But this being New York City, some activists were politically and environmentally annoyed by the notion of a privately funded park, requiring piers driven into a river. Lawsuits were launched in 2015 to try to stop the project, and had managed to stop all work on the endeavor by mid-2017.