Letter: How Mr. Diller Got His Island
Lisa Foderaro’s rehashing of the many opinions of the proposed construction of Pier 55 (NY Times, April 5, 2015) omits many essential facts.
Completion of the park from 29th to 44th Streets will cost far more than $175 million, since the park terminates at Pier 99 at 59th Street, not 44th Street.
In a last minute amendment to the Hudson River Park act in June 2013 the State Legislature gave an extraordinary gift to the Hudson River Park Trust to sell unused development rights from 550 acres of land above and under water which it does not own.
The NYC Planning Commission has yet to hold hearings on from and to where these rights can be sold. Sale of these rights could provide capital and maintenance funds for the foreseeable future. The three block long Pier 40 shed looming over the park and blocking views of the distant shore, could be replaced by a fifteen acre park open to the river and sky. We could walk and sit on real grass, not the plastic turf inside the invisible privatized soccer fields which now occupy it. Its income producing parking garage and Trust offices could be moved across West Street as part of the transfer of 800,000 square feet of unused development rights to the St. John’s Terminal and adjacent properties.
In the meantime, we New Yorkers will obtain a gift of a world class landscaped oasis on Pier 55 supported over the water, another great park improvement following those of the High Line and Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Mr. Benepe is a retired urban planning consultant who once prepared large scale plans for areas of Manhattan as a planner for the NYC Housing and Redevelopment Board.