By George Capsis
Below, I have included my (slightly revised) email exchanges with Valerie Combs—the Senior Vice President and Head of Communications at IAC—between October 25th and 27th. These emails conveyed my attempts to meet Barry Diller in person.
I run communications for IAC, and wanted to get this to you on behalf of Mr. Barry Diller. Please see below the breaking news from Mr. Diller on his plans for Pier 55. This statement is to be attributed to Mr. Diller.
In the last month, I have been the recipient of so much importuning, from so many people, all with the same sentiment: They all express their hope that we not give up and instead find some way to proceed with building Pier 55. Letters/calls/emails/texts—and just walking the streets of New York—I have had countless people tell me how much they were looking forward to having this new Pier, and how unfortunate were the circumstances of its cancellation. This has all had a profound effect on me and my family. So many people had worked for six years to create both the concept and the plans for the Pier. In these last weeks, I began to think that we should not let it go, and that I would try to put aside the disappoints and difficulties of these last years.
So, I’m going to make one last attempt to revive the plans to build the Park, so that the intended beneficiaries of our endeavor can fall in love with Pier 55 in the way all of us have. We’ll need to reinstate our agreements with the Hudson River Park Trust, with the State and Federal agencies that had given us permits, our contractors, and…we’ll need to know that the plaintiffs will not reinstate their litigation. And with all that, we’ll joyfully proceed. (Barry Diller)
Thank you, Valerie for the comments from Mr. Diller.
We will, of course, print them in the November issue. From the several articles in the press this morning (October 26th), there is no question that the battle is over.
Would you ask Mr. Diller if I might interview him?
We are getting close to the deadline so I would like to do it today.
Thank you for reaching out. We can see if Mr. Diller is available. Can you please provide a little more detail for the request?
1. Specific questions or additional detail on what you’d like to cover during the interview.
2. How long you anticipate the interview to be (confirming that you envision this via phone).
3. Whether the resulting story would feature other sources and who else might be interviewed.
4. Confirming your exact deadline and the anticipated run date for the story.
I will try to answer your questions.
1. I recall in one of the earlier projections that the island would have three assembly areas. Is that still the case?
2. Is it still 2.7 acres?
3. Can you review the admission plan? (I remember that some events will be free, some low-cost, and others market-rate.)
4. The original specifications called for the western piles to be 70-feet high. Is that still the same?
5. What type of musical and theatrical events might we expect?
6. Will the piles be constructed on shore and floated into place?
7. What is the completion date?
8. Will the Hudson River Park Trust be responsible for the maintenance?
9. What is the cost of the two bridges to the island?
10. Will the public be invited to suggest events?
Valerie, I would like to do this in person not on the phone.
Thank you. Can we let Mr. Diller know that you suggest a location convenient for him or do you have a meeting place in mind?
Would half an hour suffice? Please confirm and we will see if he is available.
Thank you, again.
Since we are on a deadline, it would be best if Barry came to 69 Charles, the former home of Sinclair Lewis. We could have a relaxed meeting with coffee and Maison Kayser cookies.
Since we are getting late in the day are you open to a phone conversation or a meeting on another day as an alternative option? Thank you, George!
Thank you again, Valerie.
Let us do it tomorrow at Barry’s convenience. Dusty makes a nice lunch.
Thank you for your patience and for providing this additional information. I’ve confirmed with Mr. Diller’s office [that] he is unavailable for interviews at this time.
When will he be available?
I am still waiting for an answer.