Futuristic Island Park On Hudson River Takes Big Step Forward

Courtesy of Pier55, Inc./Heatherwick Studio

New York City is one step closer to having a stunning, futuristic island park floating on the Hudson River as plans for the ambitious project took a step forward Wednesday.

A group backing the new park, or Pier 55, led by billionaire Barry Diller, reached a 20-year lease deal with the Hudson River Park Trust, The New York Timesreported. The agreement includes Diller's pledge of $113 million towards the cost of the $130 million project, leaving the rest to of the bill to be picked up by the city, and leaps the project forward just months after designs for the space were revealed last November. This is good news for New Yorkers who have grown tired of boring, located-on-actual-land parks. The Highline is starting to feel so dated.

Courtesy of Pier55, Inc./Heatherwick Studio

Just looking at the renderings, Pier 55 looks like something out cut out of a sci-fi flick. Designed by Heatherwick Studio, the park will consist of 2.4 acres of green space located 186ft into the river off of 13th Street. Three hundred concrete columns (ranging from 15-62ft high) will support the structure above the Hudson River.

In addition to a unique view and a ultra-modern design, the park will feature performance spaces, as well as normal park things like as paths, landscaping, and probably people playing Hacky Sack, sneaking puffs of marginally illegal drugs, and exposing their kinda-of-gross, under-clothed bodies to the warm rays of the sun.

Once plans are finalized and the pier is signed off on by the Army Corps of Engineers and the State Department of Environmental Conservation, construction of this mirage on the Hudson is slated to begin in 2016.

Courtesy of Pier55, Inc./Heatherwick Studio

Despite the new agreement, some are concerned about the park's construction and longterm effects on the area and the environment there. Environmental issues have been posed by groups regarding construction in an undisturbed region of the river that's designated to be estuarine sanctuary, and according to Curbed NY, local residents have voiced speculation over what will happen to the space once Diller's lease runs out in 20 years.

However, Hudson River Park Trust's President Madelyn Wils said they aren't worried. Wils told the Times, "We take our role as stewards of the Hudson River Park sanctuary seriously. And that’s exactly why we not only conducted a thorough environmental review in accordance with state law, but went beyond what was required by inviting public comment on that review." She also mentioned that "all the protections we need to make sure the project is financed" were taken care of.

In 50 years, both NYC rivers are probably gonna be one giant pier/park/airport, anyway.

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Pete Dombrosky is an Editorial Assistant at Thrillist and he can't wait to sneak booze into Pier 55 and enjoy an afternoon on the Hudson. If that's your idea of a good time, join him on Twitter.