The highly anticipated and controversial Pier 55 may not be as marvelous as expected. A permit modification request discovered by Architect’s Newspaper reveals that the Heatherwick Studio-designed waterfront park is now slated to be smaller and with far fewer “pots” – a key element to the design. The new design will be 2.4 acres and appears to be flatter than originally expected.
The Hudson River Park Trust filed a permit modification that would eliminate many of the pre-cast concrete pots that created the undulating base for the park, taking the number of pots from 202 to 132. Instead, the park will feature a flat base surrounded by landscaping. It has also been down-sized from 2.7 acres to 2.4 acres. The change was cited as being made due to concerns about costs.
Opponents of the project see this change as one more reason to ditch the design altogether. “Pier 55 was conceived and sold on the basis of a major sculptural art, so by putting it on a flat base and putting a lace tablecloth around it, the whole thing becomes a parody of itself,” said Michael Gruen, president of the City Club of New York. Other opponents cite environmental concerns and concerns that the park would obstruct the view of the Hudson.