It was recently revealed that plans for Hudson River Park’s “Pier 55” were all negotiated in private and then presented to the public without any degree of transparency or inclusiveness. (Sound familiar?) This way of operating was mastered during the Bloomberg era and is being allowed to continue under Mayor De Blasio. There seems to be a lack of acknowledgement with the new administration that there are always strings attached in some form that invariably hurt the public use of public space when control and insider status are given to these private entities.
The city needs to take back control and properly fund and maintain our parks. And maybe reign in going for so over the top – because as we have seen with the High Line, the businesses that lived for years in that area have not been able to survive; the High Line was used to bolster real estate of and for the wealthy. This is framed as “philanthropy” only because the larger issues of what actually happens when public space becomes privatized are rarely discussed.
If you are not up to speed on the Pier 55 (it is next to – and basically would replace – Pier 54 where the Titanic survivors arrived when they reached New York) and mogul Barry Diller and fashion guru Diane von Furstenberg plans for it, see this New York Times piece, The Billionaires’ Park, and Villager editorial Pier 55 and Public Process in Hudson River Park. They are mandated to have public hearings on it.
Tonight, Wednesday, December 3rd, Community Board 2 Parks Committee meeting at which the Pier 55 plans will be further unveiled and open for public comment. Location: Village Community School, at 272 W. 10th Street between Greenwich Street and Washington Street (West Village).
(By the way, Washington Square Park was supposed to be on the Parks Committee agenda this month but was bumped for this topic.)