A New York state appeals court issued an order to delay the start of construction at Barry Diller’s park on stilts in the Hudson River while it decides on a lawsuit against the project.Pre-construction work at Pier 55, first announced in 2014, began only yesterday. The platform off of Manhattan’s west side is set to hold a 2.7-acre public park.
Last year, the civic organization City Club of New York sued to block the project until it underwent a new environmental review and won the approval of state lawmakers. A Manhattan judge tossed that suit in April, but the club appealed and now won the temporary injunction halting construction until a final decision is reached.
In a statement, the City Club president Michael Gruen called the order a “valuable step in ensuring that this secretive and misguided project will not get off the ground.”
Diller, head of InterActiveCorp, Expedia and the former chairman of Paramount Pictures, and his wife, fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, donated $113 million to the project. The Hudson River Park Trust, which oversees construction, chipped in $39.5 million for what has derisively been called “Barry Diller Island.”
“This time-wasting and out-of-touch lawsuit is an insult not just to the local community board, which overwhelmingly supports this project, but to the New Yorkers from across the city who will enjoy this park for years to come,” a spokesperson for the The Hudson River Park Trust said in a statement. A day earlier, a federal judge denied a work stop motion in a separate lawsuit against the project. A spokesperson for Diller and von Furstenberg’s Pier55 Inc. added that “this is a temporary delay for a project that has won approval from all levels of government and consistently withstood legal scrutiny.”