Letters to The Editor, Week of Sept. 28, 2017

Letters to The Editor, Week of Jan. 3, 2018

City Club did right thing

To The Editor:

Re “Diller blew $40 million on aborted Pier55 plan” (news article, Sept. 22, thevillager.com):

How telling that the players behind Pier55 won’t acknowledge the mistake of making their plans and deal in secrecy and the appearance of sidestepping the environmental review process. Their claim of overwhelming community support echoes Donald Trump’s claims of having won the popular vote and the biggest inaugural crowds. Many in the community were skeptical, or opposed to this over-the-top design, clearly intended to attract international attention and the accompanying tourist hordes strolling the High Line. Those crowds would have been disappointed to find Pier55 closed frequently for private or ticketed events, complete with velvet ropes and guest lists.

The park doesn’t need a world-class attraction, it needs to be finished. There’s a lot of riverfront land between 30th St. and 58th St., but absolutely no park at all. In Northern Europe, the meagerly landscaped bike and walking paths that make up most of Hudson River Park are called arterial infrastructure, not parks. While it’s a shame to lose such a big financial gift to the park, the premise was flawed. The City Club did the right thing.

Christopher Gaylord


Pier55 facts and foes

To The Editor:

Re “Diller blew $40 million on aborted Pier55 plan” (news article, Sept. 22, thevillager.com):

While the recent Villager article on the demise of Pier55 contained a number of inaccuracies from various sources, there are a few that are important to correct.

First, it was noted in the article that two courts ruled against the Hudson River Park Trust. In fact, the Trust won four lawsuits in state court, including from the highest court of this state. The plaintiffs’ one litigation success, in federal court, was on a technical process issue, which quickly lost any relevance with the redesign of the project that was ultimately approved. Further, the federal court decision never reached any substantive environmental claims.

Second, the article included a clear misinterpretation of an anecdote featured in a recent New York Times article.

The Trust is on record from community board meetings, newspaper articles and court papers stating that because Pier 54 had been used almost exclusively for events for more than a decade, it was in the public’s interest to rebuild it by changing the shape to better serve the park’s events and public who used it, which included improving emergency access.

While our board chairperson did approach Mr. Diller about funding the reconstruction of Pier 54 at the end of 2011, there was no design concept at that time.  It then took a year before his interest in funding a project was even preliminarily established, and still more time before Thomas Heatherwick was hired.

Anyone who understands design knows it’s a slow, iterative process, and the concept for what ultimately became the Pier55 design took many months more to percolate.

In short, as evidenced by articles in Capital New York (now Politico New York) in 2012 and 2013, there was no design to present in those years, and it was also no secret that we were working with Mr. Diller to secure, we hoped, a large gift for a future project.

Ultimately, we tried to deliver a world-class public park space for passive recreation and outdoor performances. Thanks to concealed, well-funded delaying tactics devoid of any sound legal basis, that was not to be.

Madelyn Wils
Wils is president and C.E.O., Hudson River Park Trust


Many opposed Pier55

To The Editor:

Re “Pier55 is sunk” (Scoopy’s Notebook, Sept. 14):

The New York Times has consistently repeated Barry Diller’s propaganda that opposition to his island in the Hudson River Park was limited to a “small band of opponents,” as stated most recently in Monday’s full-page Times article.  This is far from accurate.

While only a small group had the time and resources to mount a concerted effort, in fact, community opposition to the Pier55 plan was widespread, while community support was thin.  Madelyn Wils’s frequently quoted statement that Diller was offering a park was just untrue: He was offering a major performance space, boosting his ego and, not incidentally, his entertainment business.  It was of dubious compatibility with a real park, one which is not large and offers badly needed and very popular quiet open space in what is now a residential area along the river.

Previous over-amplified events on Pier 54 and other piers regularly drew serious protests.  Diller Island looked to many of us as a venue for constant loud events at exclusionary high prices, not a benefit for the community.  This point of view got little or no attention in the Times.

Yes, the Hudson River Park Trust supported the plan.  The Trust is desperate for the money Diller offered, and so was willing to overlook the detrimental effects to the park this authority is supposed to preserve. Quite possibly the mayor’s and the governor’s support also had something to do with money, easing some of the pressure for the needed governmental funding.

The neighborhood’s reaction to the collapse of the project, reflected most recently in the Sept. 14 issue of The Villager, was a loud sigh of relief and a vote of sincere thanks to Riverkeeper, the City Club and Douglas Durst.

Nancy Pasley


‘Cher’-ished pieces

To The Editor:

Re “Ode to Cher: Gardeners weep over willow’s loss” (news article, Sept. 21):

A virtual “giving tree.” I hope everyone is making beautiful coffee tables and art with all that beautiful wood.

Bambi Everson


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