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Barry Diller Park Clear to Move Forward After Court Lifts Injunction

 Pier55 as seen from the esplanade along the edge of Manhattan.
Pier55 as seen from the esplanade along the edge of Manhattan.
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Pier55, Inc./Heatherwick Studio

MEATPACKING DISTRICT — Construction can resume on the Barry Diller-backed pier being built off Hudson River Park, a state appeals court ruled on Monday.

Diller is funding a $130 million park on a new pier between the dilapidated piles of the longstanding piers 54 and 56. The park, referred to as Pier55, is designed by landscape architect Signe Nielsen and features undulating hills and an amphitheater for performances.

Those performances are at the crux of a lawsuit brought by the City Club of New York against Diller's non-profit for the park, Pier 55, Inc., and the Hudson River Park. The opponents take issue with the fact that some performances will be ticketed, though more than 50 percent will be low or no-cost.

City Club lost a case in the lower courts, but recently won an injunction at the Appellate Division, blocking construction until the fall. The injunction would have thrown a major wrench in the project's timeline, as construction cannot occur during the winter months.

The Appellate Division granted a motion for Diller's organization and the Trust, however, allowing them to install the first nine piles needed to construct the portion of the park that will hang over the river.

"We're pleased that the court has reversed its decision, allowing us to get back on track with our planned construction for the summer," said Trust spokesman James Yolles in a statement. "The plaintiffs have yet to produce a single relevant credible expert, and we're confident the courts will continue to rule in our favor."

“With the City Club’s latest charade behind us, we will get back to building the new public park that local residents have sought for years," added a spokesman for Diller's non-profit, Pier 55, Inc.

"Now that both state and federal courts have denied its demand for an injunction, the City Club should take this cue to finally end its absurd crusade against the wishes of the community. We remain committed to making Pier55 a reality and providing new green space for all New Yorkers to enjoy.”

But a lawyer for the City Club dismissed Pier 55's victory lap as premature.

"The injunction remains in place and is only amended to allow nine piles to be placed," said City Club attorney Richard Emery. "Diller does that at his peril, in that they will have to be removed if we win — and the Appellate court ruled that we had shown a likelihood of success on the merits. So this means very little despite the posturing."

The Appellate Division did not specify why they granted the motion, though the Trust's attorneys had pointed to a separate federal appeal in which a judge had ruled that no irreparable harm would be done if construction was allowed to continue during the summer.