View Full Version : Pier 54 (AKA Pier 55) - Hudson River Park

July 31st, 2003, 10:53 PM
Pier 54 (http://pier54.com) is hosting many events during this summer.

North Fork Bank presents the concert series, featuring exciting new artists.Staged in a festival setting, complete with food and drink, these events promise an evening of fun and entertainment.

8/7 The Walkmen with special guests Adam Green and The Oranges Band.
Doors Open: 6pm
Show Starts: 7pm

Enjoy all time great movies under the stars! Every Wednesday evening at Pier 54 from July 6 – August 29. Movies begin at dusk (generally between 8 – 8:30 pm). Seating available.

Wednesdays/Pier 54
8/06 Unforgiven
8/13 8 Mile
8/20 Road to Perdition
8/27 Pulp Fiction

Fri, 08/22/03
6:00 pm CD101.9 Jazz Festival: George Benson & Brian Culbertson Pier 54-Hudson River Park
New York, NY
on sale now *

Sat, 08/23/03
1:00 pm CD101.9 Jazz Festival: Will Downing & Chuck Loeb Pier 54-Hudson River Park
New York, NY
on sale now *

Sat, 08/23/03
8:00 pm CD101.9 Jazz Festival: Natalie Cole & Chris Botti Pier 54-Hudson River Park
New York, NY
on sale now *

Sun, 08/24/03
1:00 pm CD101.9 Jazz Festival: Spyro Gyra, Stanley Clarke, Jean-Luc Ponty, & Stanley Jordan Pier 54-Hudson River Park
New York, NY
on sale now *

http://www.wirednewyork.com/images/piers/pier54/chelsea_pier54_12jan02.jpg (http://pier54.com)

A concert on Pier 54 (http://pier54.com) and the construction of Hotel Gansevoort (http://wirednewyork.com/hotels/hotel_gansevoort/). 26 July 2003.

http://www.wirednewyork.com/images/piers/pier54/pier54_hotel_gansevoort_26july03.jpg (http://pier54.com)

May 5th, 2004, 06:02 PM
Pier 54 (http://pier54.com) events this summer:

L.A.'s Rooney hit its pop culture apex when the five-piece rock group appeared on an episode of "The O.C."

Now the band will open the 4th Annual Hudson River Rocks Series on June 6. These are those lovely sundowner shows on Pier 54, 14th Street and the Hudson River, (212) 533-PARK.

Appearing with Rooney are L.A.'s Ozma and Straylight Run.

June 1st, 2004, 06:11 PM
DANCE Shescape and Heritage of Pride proudly present Rapture on the River after the Dyke March. DJ Kris Kono will spin. $25 after May 31; $35 at the event. Pier 54 in Hudson River Park. 5pm-10:30pm.

DANCE Heritage of Pride presents the annual Pier Dance. DJs Tony Moran and Robbie Leslie will be spinning. $50 after May 31; no tickets will be sold at the pier. Pier 54 in Hudson River Park. 4pm-11pm.

June 2nd, 2004, 10:40 AM
The Dances on Gay Pride Weekend have really been unequaled. The closest event in attendance, size, and sheer spectacle was Wigstock. Anyone know if this pier will ever be rebuilt?

June 10th, 2004, 09:33 PM
Pier 54 events from Hudson River Park

River Rocks

July 22, 7pm
Bands to be announced

Aug 19, 7pm
Guided by Voices
Somewhere between the British Invasion and prog rock, Guided By Voices are taking leave of your senses. ‘Half Smiles Of The Decomposed’, to be released August 24 will be the final album from these lo-fi indie rock giants, one of the most acclaimed independent rock bands of all time.

Blues, BBQ & Fireworks featuring Grammy winner Koko Taylor
Aug 15, 2-9pm

This year’s 5th Annual Festival promises another hot line-up with the Queen of the Blues, Grammy winning Koko Taylor as the headliner. Popular local BBQ restaurants will sell their specialties followed by a spectacular fireworks display. Enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of this premier Hudson River Park event.

River Flicks

Dusk, generally between 8-8:30pm
Enjoy all-time great movies under the stars! Every Wednesday evening at Pier 54. Movies begin at dusk (generally between 8-8:30pm.) Seating is available. Free Popcorn. Beverages are for sale.

July 3 The Ring
July 14 The Thing
July 21 Attack of the 50 Foot Woman
July 28 Freaks
Aug 4 Scream
Aug 11 Creepshow
Aug 18 House of Wax (1953 version)
Aug 25 Sleepy Hollow

July 26th, 2004, 05:15 PM
Dale DeGroff introduces Xellent Vodka and celebrates

Dale DeGroff, master mixologist and author of “The Craft of the Cocktail”, has joined forces with the national importer, The Spirit of Hartford, LLC to introduce XELLENT VODKA this summer in the United States.

The initial introduction will be held as part of Swiss National Day, at Pier 54 on the Hudson on July 31st from 5pm to 10pm. The Swiss community in New York, for the first time invites New Yorkers and friends to celebrate Switzerland’s 713th birthday.

The event will allow guests to learn more about America’s ‘Sister Republic’ Switzerland. Co-hosted by several New York Swiss Associations and the Hudson River Park Trust, the celebration showcases a unique mix of tradition and contemporary Swiss culture, products and cuisine. What an Xellent way to introduce the first and only Swiss Vodka.

Up until the late 1990’s, it was illegal to distill grains grown in Switzerland. This law changed in 2002 and the first ever, only SWISS VODKA was created. DIWISA (Distillerie Willisau SA), a family owned distillery north of Lake Lucerne, Switzerland, and near the Swiss Alps, is proud to present. XELLENT VODKA

The quality of any vodka depends on three crucial factors:
• Grains – pure, top-quality Swiss Rye.
• Distillation – the fermented mash is carefully distilled in a traditional, small copper alembic stills. In the second and third phase, the spirit is purified in a column still with 45 plates which refines the product to more than 96% pure.
• Water – The quality and the purity of the water used in XELLENT VODKA is critical and comes from the Titlis glacier at the heart of central Switzerland.

Finally, the product is filtered several times. With all the clarity of pure crystal, only now will it satisfy the palate of the discerning connoisseur. The bottle itself is unique, with a shape similar to a cocktail shaker. It is bright red and conveys the imagery of Switzerland and the Swiss flag through its emblem – red with the white cross. There is no other super / ultra premium package with this vibrancy and heritage.

The final product, in limited production, is an artisan creation. Starting with the cultivation of the materials to the bottling in small batches by hand, XELLENT VODKA, the true Spirit of Switzerland is an XELLENT CHOICE.

XELLENT VODKA is produced by DIWISA in Switzerland and imported into the United States by The Spirit of Hartford, LLC, Hartford, CT. For additional information please visit www.xellent.com.

July 26th, 2004, 06:38 PM
I came upon this old postcard earlier today showing Piers 54 and 55 sometime between their completion (1910) and when the Miller Highway was completed (1927), showing a nice 4-funnel Cunarder and the West Washington Market.


July 27th, 2004, 09:00 AM
Great postcard! The transformation of the Hudson waterfront has been incredible.

July 27th, 2004, 09:37 AM
More old Pier 54 photos:

Destroyed by fire on May 5-6, 1932

Rebuilt and back in service (July 4, 1934)

July 28th, 2004, 07:10 AM
Pier 54 events from Hudson River Park


Blues, BBQ & Fireworks featuring Grammy winner Koko Taylor
Aug 15, 2-9pm

This year’s 5th Annual Festival promises another hot line-up with the Queen of the Blues, Grammy winning Koko Taylor as the headliner. Popular local BBQ restaurants will sell their specialties followed by a spectacular fireworks display. Enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of this premier Hudson River Park event.


Big Bill Morganfield

Deborah Coleman (with guitar sideman Hiro Suzuki of Manhattan)

The Holmes Brothers

Luther Guitar Jr. Johnson & the Magic Rockers

Koko Taylor and her Blues Machine

February 1st, 2005, 07:02 PM
The Nomadic Museum, by Shigeru Ban, is being installed on Pier 54. It will house the exhibit Ashes and Snow (http://www.ashesandsnow.org/) from March 5 through June 6.

More info at http://www.hudsonriverpark.org/events/ashesandsnow.html

February 11th, 2005, 09:12 AM
Museum to camp on a pier for 3 months


Downtown Express photo by Talisman Brolin

The temporary museum is being built from shipping containers.

By Hemmy So

Work is finishing on a colossal temporary museum, made from 148 shipping containers, on Pier 54 at W. 13th St.

Recently relocated from Venice, the Nomadic Museum, designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, creates a 45,000-sq.-ft. space from the multi-colored steel shipping containers and recycled paper tubes — used to make the roof.

“Ashes and Snow,” a multi-media exhibit by artist Gregory Colbert, opens on March 5 in the Nomadic Museum and runs through June 6. The exhibit includes 199 large-scale photographs and a one-hour 35-mm film edited by Oscar winner Pietro Scalia and narrated by actor Lawrence Fishburne.

“I hope the Nomadic Museum will create an unforgettable experience, demonstrating unique architectural concepts and sustainable practices with a post-industrial feel,” Ban said.

Ban is known for his structures made from unexpected materials, including the Paper Tube Arch in the Museum of Modern Art sculpture garden.

Ban was also part of THINK, the architectural team that was the finalist to design the World Trade Center site plan. His team’s plan, the Towers of Culture, included two lattice structures in the shape of the Twin Towers.

The Nomadic Museum’s interior will feature a floating library with cameras projecting images of Colbert’s books on the walls. Above the wooden walkway entrance, an almost-translucent handmade curtain made of 1 million pressed paper tea bags from Sri Lanka will fall 40 ft. above museumgoers’ heads.

Colbert’s photographs comprise the bulk of the exhibit. Contexualized in a fictional account of a man’s travels, the photos display Colbert’s own journeys to Asia, Africa and Antarctica to capture interactions between man and animal.

The Hudson River Park Trust is hosting the exhibit, which is organized by the nonprofit Bianimale Foundation. Conceived by Colbert and environmentalist Giuli Cordara, Bianimale Foundation encourages artistic endeavors to increase public support for the protection and conservation of animals and their natural habitats.

“I think it’s a wonderful exhibit,” said Christopher Martin, said the Trust’s vice president of public affairs. “It’s something that’s definitely interesting to see and emotionally moving as well.”

Martin said there had been no objections from the community about giving the pier over for three months to the museum.

“No, not at all. There was a very warm reception from the community,” he said, noting the proposal was well received by Community Board 2’s Waterfront Committee. “It’ll be finished by the time the summer season starts. It’s not the time of heaviest use.”

Martin said the Trust will get $300,000 rent from the Nomadic Museum.

Don MacPherson, chairperson of C.B. 2’s Waterfront Committee, said initially the museum wanted the pier during the peak summer season and into the fall, but the committee got the project to change the dates. Also, he said, the committee got the museum to add one day a week free admission. “We will hold them to it,” he said. The project was approved by C.B. 2’s full board a few months ago.

Admission to the museum will cost $12 for adults and $6 for seniors and students with I.D.

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February 23rd, 2005, 09:45 PM
February 24, 2005

A Dockworkers' Strike? No, It's Art


The 45,000-square-foot mobile museum on Pier 54.

A model of the museum.

http://graphics10.nytimes.com/images/dropcap/p.gifeople speeding down the West Side Highway could be forgiven for not looking twice at Pier 54; the shipping containers stacked there are not an uncommon sight on the Manhattan waterfront.

But in fact, they are passing not just the historic pier on the Hudson River at 13th Street where the Titanic's survivors were discharged, but also a new museum designed by the Tokyo architect Shigeru Ban.

The 45,000-square-foot structure was expressly built to display "Ashes and Snow," a show of 200 large-scale photographic works by the artist Gregory Colbert that opens March 5 and runs through June 6 before traveling to California and the Vatican.

It's not just the show that's going out on the road. The entire museum is to be packed in 37 of the 148 cargo containers that form its checkerboard walls. The temporary structure is composed largely of recyclable materials: the roof and columns are made of paper tubes, the steel containers stacked 34 feet high are used, and a handmade curtain to be suspended from the ceiling is made of one million pressed paper tea bags (used, with the tea leaves removed).

"Shigeru is the Mozart of sustainable architecture," Mr. Colbert said. "Also, from a philosophical point of view, he's done some great public buildings; he says that art shouldn't be for the privileged."

Mr. Colbert, whose work seeks to capture the mystical relationship between humans and animals, said he approached Mr. Ban because he admired his use of unorthodox materials. The architect's previous designs include the paper tube arch constructed in the sculpture garden of the Museum of Modern Art, the Paper Museum and Paper Church in Japan, and the Paper Refugee Shelter, made of plastic sheets and paper tubes for the United Nations high commissioner for refugees.

Mr. Colbert said he wanted the Nomadic Museum, like those other Ban projects, to seem accessible to a wide audience.

"The structure shouldn't be intimidating," he said. "It should feel really inviting. It's a bridge between the arts and the natural sciences. It's not art with a capital A."

Dean Maltz of Manhattan is the associate architect on the project. The host of the show is the Hudson River Park Trust, which runs the pier and is being paid a fee. Constructing the museum hasn't been easy.

"You're building on a pier which is a relic, you're over water, and you're trying to build in New York," William Goins, the museum's project manager and producer of an "Ashes and Snow" documentary film, said on a recent bitter cold day.

As construction continued inside the museum, the shipping containers offered little protection from the wind, though fabric will be stretched across the spaces between them.

"People should come with a coat," Mr. Ban said.

He said he was attracted to the project by Mr. Colbert's photographs of elephants and whales - "quite ancient animals," he said - and the ephemeral quality of the building itself.

"His incredible idea of moving a huge museum was an interesting challenge," he said.

Mr. Ban chose shipping containers because they had age. "Traveling all over the world," he added, "each container has its own history."

Other than those used to transport the museum, the containers will change with each location.

The gallery's main artery is a wooden walkway bordered by stone-filled bays over which Mr. Colbert's unframed artworks will hang from thin cables and suspension rods installed between the 64 columns. The peaked roof trusses are partly made of one-foot-diameter paper tubes that rest on the containers and on columns.

The center of the museum will feature a floating library where turned pages of the artist's books will project images on the walls. A one-hour film by Mr. Colbert, narrated by Laurence Fishburne, will be continuously projected on a wall in a theater at the museum's far end.

Mr. Colbert, a Canadian-born artist, began his career in Paris making documentary films about social issues, which led to his work as a fine arts photographer. His first show, "Timewaves," was in 1991 at the Museé de l'Élysée in Lausanne, Switzerland.

"Ashes and Snow" is organized by Mr. Colbert's Bianimale Foundation, a nonprofit arts and nature conservation group he conceived in 2000 with Giuli Cordara, an environmentalist, the foundation's president.

The exhibition is underwritten by Rolex, which helped support the first show of "Ashes and Snow" in 2002 at the Venice Arsenale. The museum and exhibition will be at the Santa Monica Pier in California from Dec. 4 through Feb. 28, 2006, and at the Vatican in summer 2006.

Mr. Ban said that he would redesign the museum slightly each time it moves "depending on different site conditions" but that neither this nor the building's impermanence presented a problem.

"Three months or three years is not important for me, because the idea lasts," he said.

"It can be seen by more people all over the world if it moves," he added. "Maybe it remains in your memory if it's gone."

The mobile museum will house photographs by Gregory Colbert.

Copyright 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

February 23rd, 2005, 11:13 PM
Building the Nomadic Museum from 148 shipping containers, on Pier 54 (http://pier54.com) at W 13th Street. 5 February 2005.

http://www.wirednewyork.com/images/piers/pier54/nomadic_museum_pier54.jpg (http://pier54.com)

February 25th, 2005, 04:30 PM
Dances With Elephants
New York City’s newest exhibit explores man’s ancient connection to animals—and the museum itself is part of the intrepid show
By Brian Braiker
Updated: 10:17 a.m. ET Feb. 25, 2005

Feb. 25 - Pop quiz: what new temporary exhibit is a populist artistic event that uses environment-friendly materials to redefine a historic New York City space? If your answer was Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s “The Gates,” you were close—but wrong.

Denizens of Manhattan’s painfully hip meatpacking district have surely already noticed the massive structure—148 shipping containers stacked in an elegant checkerboard pattern, jutting 672 feet out into the Hudson River—and pedestrians throughout the city may have found themselves face to face with enigmatic posters of Zenned-out elephants. For a month beginning March 5, Hudson River Park’s Pier 54 will be home to the Nomadic Museum and photographer Gregory Colbert’s “Ashes and Snow,” a one-man multimedia show. “Just as Christo and Jeanne-Claude put the gates in [Central Park] and changed the way people saw the park, this is perhaps helping New Yorkers rediscover their riverside,” the 44-year-old Colbert tells NEWSWEEK.

Disdainful of an art world he calls a “very confined ghetto” and typical museums he views as “overbearing white cubes,” Colbert decided to eschew the easy way of showing his photography. The newly reopened Museum of Modern Art was just not going to cut it. So he commissioned architect Shigeru Ban, a finalist to rebuild the World Trade Center, to create a 4,500-square-foot space to house “Ashes and Snow.”

“A lot of people are intimidated by going to certain museums,” says the photographer. “They don’t feel like they’re sophisticated enough, that they know enough. People rarely have that feeling when they go to a concert or see a film or buy books. This structure was meant to be inviting and not overbearing.” The resulting edifice, the Nomadic Museum, consists of 148 rented and reusable empty cargo containers that make up the walls and humungous recyclable paper tubes that serve as weight-bearing columns. The museum is not only environmentally kind but, as its name suggests, moveable—the shipping container walls will be used to transport the entire show to Los Angeles and then on to Paris, Rome and Beijing.

Looking at Colbert’s 3-by-10-foot photographs, it becomes clear what appealed to him about Ban’s holistic design, which can be rebuilt to fit into whatever space is available. The 200 photos that comprise the bulk of “Ashes and Snow” are epic yet gentle compositions that will hang suspended in midair between the columns running down the museum’s nave. Over the course of 13 years in India, Sri Lanka, Tonga and elsewhere, Colbert has captured surprising images of people dancing, communing and having sundry special moments with members of the animal kingdom: Hindu temple members frolic with wizened elephants; bushmen lie at the feet of habituated cheetahs. Colbert himself is pictured swimming with a whale. The images, all the more arresting in that they are unmanipulated and naturally lit, are printed on Japanese paper made using 300-year-old techniques. “People in photography love to talk about their toolboxes,” he says. “To me the most important thing in the toolbox is natural light and the species I collaborate with, be it Homo sapiens or elephant or whatever.”

The exhibit as a whole can be seen as a sort of manifesto. Colbert, who counts as his patrons designer Donna Karan and ecologist-entrepreneur Paul Hawken, echoes Christo’s democratic approach to art; everyone is welcome and he hopes exhibitgoers re-examine their relationships with animals. “If you watched the Super Bowl, half the ads had animals,” he says. “The most frequent contact there is an animal selling them a product.” It’s hard not to admit Colbert is on to something, even as he delivers dippy sentiments like, “We have no framework to look with wonderment in a unified way at these totemic species” and “We humbly bow to our nonhuman collaborators.” The exhibit was organized by the Bianimale Foundation, a nonprofit group he cofounded that works for the conservation of animals and their habitats. And although the exhibit’s chief patron is Rolex, which helped support a 2002 incarnation of “Ashes and Snow” in Venice, Colbert insisted that their logo appear nowhere near the museum.

“Ashes and Snow” will also include a “floating library” with pages from an epistolary novel written by Colbert projected onto screens. And at the far end of the museum an hourlong film, with narration by the actor Laurence Fishburne over footage of dancing gyr falcons and gamboling pachyderms, will be projected onto a large screen. “I was floored when I first heard about this [project],” says Gordon Baldwin, an associate curator for photographs at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. “The imagery has mythic underpinnings. What impresses me most is that they have an immaculate simplicity. They’re also profoundly moving.”

While Colbert’s photographs are nothing if not peaceful, the museum’s construction has had its own share of agita. “We’re doing something that’s basically impossible,” says William Goins, a filmmaker who was working on a documentary about the show when he signed up to be the Nomadic Museum’s project manager last August. “There’s nothing comparable to this anywhere.”

Pier 54, once owned by the Cunard Line, was where the Lusitania first shoved off and where the Titanic’s stunned survivors were deposited. Although studies had concluded that the old pier would bear the weight of the museum, nobody had bothered to calculate whether the cranes required for its construction could be supported. The cranes now operate on an adjacent barge but the tubular columns that arrived first were 11 inches too long. Then the steel wedges that make up the roof became giant kites when river winds swept underneath them as they were lowered onto the building, nearly dragging a crane into the river. Grizzled dockbuilders are putting in 12-hour days, seven days a week to get the structure ready in time. (“Between you and me,” says Steve Medich, the site’s head electrician, pointing to an exhibit poster of a boy kneeling before an elephant, “I don’t get it.”)

As for Colbert, he stops short of describing himself as an activist, but he says he hopes his work has an impact outside the art world. It is about inclusion, he says. It is about reconnecting people to the natural world. “Is this project a celebration of living nature? Or is this project a requiem?” he asks. “We’re going to find out probably in the next 15 to 20 years.” But for the time being, he remains a cautious optimist.
© 2005 Newsweek, Inc.

URL: http://msnbc.msn.com/id/7025547/site/newsweek/

February 26th, 2005, 10:47 PM
February 27, 2005


Wrenches in Hand, Critics in Hard Hats Take the Measure of Their Creation


Putting final touches on the Nomadic Museum. "I guess it's some sort of minimalism," a dock builder said.

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/dropcap/a.gifs West Side Highway rubberneckers are well aware, the Nomadic Museum nearing completion on Pier 54 at West 13th Street is no ordinary exhibition space. Designed by the architect Shigeru Ban as a traveling home for "Ashes and Snow," an exhibition of photographs and a film by the artist Gregory Colbert, the museum is a fanciful 45,000-square-foot structure built of shipping containers, giant paper tubes and a fabric-like roof.

When the show opens on Saturday, critics will have their say. But in recent months Pier 54 has been nothing more than a vast and bizarre construction site, and the only museumgoers have been workers in canvas overalls who have been taking delivery of outsize recycled materials from river barges and assembling them in an odd and painstaking fashion.

Which invites the question: What do these workers make of what is probably the most peculiar structure most of them have ever worked on?

"From what I'm told, it's art," said a cherry-picker operator named Mike Ferry, an expressive smirk spreading across his face as he sat in the cab of his big machine on a recent afternoon.

William Dandorf, a dock builder, added with a shrug: "It's all for art. Somebody wants to look at art."

As a groaning red crane hoisted ashore a 34-foot column resembling a gargantuan toilet-paper tube, a dock builder named Erik Romero squinted in thought. "I guess it's some sort of minimalism," he said finally. "It didn't take much to build a huge structure. I mean, it took a lot, but. ..."

Like many of the laborers who had been working seven-day weeks since construction of the museum began in December, Jeff Blake was finally starting to take pleasure in looking at the strange building, whose difficult construction had made the workers virtual strangers to their families. "The more and more you bring it together," he said, "it looks nice."

Perhaps because the project has been all-consuming for so long, some workers are looking forward to showing their families what has been occupying them.

Among them was Mr. Ferry, the cherry-picker operator. "When it opens up," he said as he delicately maneuvered three co-workers toward the pinnacle of a column, "I will bring my wife, because it's part of her life, too, because of me not being home. I'd like her to see it."

Copyright 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

March 7th, 2005, 11:48 AM
Creatures comfortable
The Nomadic Museum rolls into town and hosts a photo exhibit focusing on humans and animals living in harmony


March 6, 2005

Just as "The Gates" bow out, another temporary art extravaganza alights in New York City, softening winter with a sepia glow. "Ashes and Snow" will remain through the spring in an unheated shed jutting into the Hudson River, and it may linger longer in the memory than the orange shower curtains that lately festooned Central Park.

The new project is both humbler and more exalted. In a cathedral built of steel shipping containers and cardboard tubes, explorer and photographer Gregory Colbert has hung his poster-size photos of people nuzzling elephants, cavorting with whales, embracing cheetahs and dancing with hawks. Instead of predators, we become partners: The human shall lie down with the beast.

Colbert has made 33 expeditions over 13 years to such distant habitats as Burma, Tonga and the Azores, and not just to produce souvenirs of exotic places. The photos he came back with have the clarity and luminescence of medieval stained glass, and like Gothic windows, they function as visual sermons. The Canadian native urges his fellow humans to recapture a mystical intimacy with the beautiful beasts that share the planet.

A lifelong outsider to the club of dealers and curators who dispense art-world prestige, Colbert has made a quiet living selling his photographs for well more than $100,000, he claims, adding, "I bleed my collectors with glee."

It's largely his money behind the Bianimale Foundation, which is paying for the $5-million Nomadic Museum on Pier 54. The exhibit, along with the building that houses it, will be packed up and shipped to Los Angeles in early June. Next year, the whole caravan moves on to Beijing.

Recycling of sorts

But the Nomadic Museum, designed by the Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, is reproducible rather than truly portable. In Los Angeles, the foundation will rent a new batch of containers, while the ones disassembled from the disused West Village pier will return to their regular jobs holding computer chips and aluminum tubes.

The building's raw materials are ready-made. The standard cargo container is the ultimate artifact of global industry and relentless trade, and here 148 of them are stacked at the city's rusty edge. The effect is unexpectedly graceful. The great steel boxes are arranged in a checkerboard pattern, alternating with angled sheets of canvas, giving the walls a corrugated texture and making the 4,800-pound containers look simultaneously massive and dainty.

A $5 million "bargain"

The enclosure looks brilliantly straightforward, but building it wasn't easy: Hoisting large canvas panels from a barge onto the roof turned out to be like trying to pilot kites through frigid bluster. On his last visit before the opening of the show, Ban was visibly appalled to learn that the building had cost $5 million - a bargain for so much Manhattan real estate, perhaps, but far more than he had hoped. ("The Gates" cost more than four times as much.)

Inside, the long, dark hall becomes a nave, where ghostly pillars and rafters made of cardboard tubing materialize out of the gloom. Colbert's photographs are suspended between the columns like framed rectangles of golden light. At the far end is a multimedia altar, where his hour-long film of interspecies harmony runs in a continuous loop, accompanied by a commissioned score.

In this sacramental space, the photos seduce through starkness and spirituality. Printed on rough paper handmade in Japan, they nevertheless have a sleek graphic simplicity reminiscent of magazine ads.

A boy with eyes closed and a Modigliani face crouches serenely beside a placid cheetah. A woman in billowing white robes twists rhapsodically between two rows of pillars as a hawk swoops just above her head. A young girl lies half-submerged in a pond, apparently oblivious to the elephant about to tap her with its trunk.

These could be scenes from a dream, though it's hard to say whether the humans have conjured the beasts or the other way around. To those of us accustomed to communing with wildlife only through fences or car windows, the improbable meetings between fauna look as though they must have been digitally manipulated, but Colbert swears not.

Species sharing space

"I see this as a poetic field study," he said. "I go and interact with people who try to look at the world through the eyes of an elephant." At times, he must share the animals' space himself: That pony-tailed man engaged in an underwater pas de deux with a sperm whale is Colbert; nobody else was willing to get that close to one of the world's largest carnivores. "I've been able to apprentice myself to a lot of different species," he said.

His work is both timeless and exquisitely timely. He evokes a paradisiacal vision of creatures at peace with one another, but his techniques blend ancient craft with the latest electronic tools. He e-mails images to a master printer in Italy, while assistants in his East Village workshop salvage bindings from 17th century books.

Colbert makes the venerable fresh and the new look antique. His contemporary concern for recycling led him to invent "tea paper" made from thousands of discarded tea bags that have been soaked, sun-dried, emptied and glued into a translucent patchwork in shades of brown. He had a platoon of helpers glue great sheets of tea paper onto plywood boards, then weatherproof them with beeswax and attach the panels to the facade of Ban's museum. The result is a triumphant merger of the prefabricated and the handmade.

Control freak

There is paradox, too, in his aestheticized displays of surrender to the wild. As an activist, he deplores the human habit of erecting barriers between civilization and the natural world. But as an artist, Colbert exerts the totalizing control of someone obsessed with detail and determined to shape the perfect environment for his work. He has enshrined his images in bespoke architecture, lighting and music.

Linear, monochrome and etched in bold lights and darks, Colbert's pictures beg to be transferred to poster and page. In reproduction, though, they look striking but flat, veering close to cloying commercial illustration.

It's only when they float in Ban's hallowed warehouse that they acquire their full spectrum of vibrato. The exhibit envelops its visitors, plunging them deep into an animate cavern, before spitting them back out, dazzled and edified, onto the Hudson's gritty banks, where wildlife consists mostly of citified rats.

WHEN & WHERE "Ashes and Snow" - through June 6 at the Nomadic Museum, Pier 54 at West 13th Street, Manhattan. For hours and admission prices, call 866-468-7619, or visit www.ashesandsnow.org.


The Japanese architect Shigeru Ban has made a career assembling poetic buildings from cheap, factory-made parts. After the 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan, he and a corps of volunteers spent five weeks erecting a church made of cardboard tubes like giant toilet-paper rolls. Though it was intended as emergency solace, a decade later, the Paper Church still stands.

"For me, there's no difference between a temporary and a permanent building," Ban said during a visit to the Manhattan pier, where workers accustomed to building skyscrapers were assembling his Nomadic Museum with shipping containers, paper pillars and prefab canvas panels. "Do you know how durable concrete is? It gets damaged after 10 years, and it's very difficult to repair. It gets destroyed by earthquakes. Paper buildings don't."

The Japanese architect came to New York in the early 1980s to be near a band of young architectural innovators dubbed the "New York Five": Peter Eisenman, Richard Meier, Charles Gwathmey, John Hejduk and Michael Graves. Shuttling between Japan and New York over the next 20 years, Ban developed the notion of the high-class shack. He built a "Wall-less House," in which the floor curves up cavelike to meet the ceiling at one end and opens onto the landscape at the other.

Among his current projects is a single-family house in Sagaponack in which factory-made cabinets double as structural supports, much the same as the Nomadic Museum's cargo boxes do.

Ban is fascinated with the elegance of efficiency, but he insists that nobody should confuse storage space with living space. "Many architects have proposed building with containers," he said, "but I'm not interested in the interior of the container."

- Justin Davidson

Copyright © 2005, Newsday, Inc.

March 7th, 2005, 11:53 AM
According to http://www.ashesandsnow.org/

Open to the Public from 5 March 2005 to 6 June 2005

Museum Hours
Tuesday to Thursday 11 am to 7 pm
Friday and Saturday 11 am to 8 pm
Sunday 12 noon to 5 pm
Closed Mondays

Ticket Prices
General Admission $12
“Pay as you wish” Tuesday 11 am to 3 pm

March 13th, 2005, 11:03 AM
March 12, 2005
When Nature Becomes a Looking Glass: A Tour Through the Exotic Elsewhere

Sometimes it takes a temple, a big awe-inspiring chunk of architecture to give art a proper aura. Sometimes such a setting makes matters worse. A case in point is "Ashes and Snow," Gregory Colbert's spectacularly vacuous exhibition of 200 large photographs and a slow-moving film in the vaulting Nomadic Museum, a temporary structure made of shipping containers that covers most of Pier 54 on the Hudson River at 13th Street.

Installed in this environmentally smart, if eminently Egyptian pavilion, designed by the Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, Mr. Colbert's efforts form an exercise in conspicuous narcissism that is off the charts, even by today's standards.

The exhibition, whose next stop is Los Angeles, is a kind of vanity production. Its cost has been met by the Bianimale Foundation, founded by Mr. Colbert and largely financed through the sale of his work. The foundation also supports environmental initiatives in Africa, as well as the more modest efforts of two other artists. (Also under way is a project with the choreographer William Forsythe.) The show, which has a $12 admission charge, is also partly sponsored by Rolex, which purchased these photographs from the foundation and is covering the show's extensive advertising.

Mr. Colbert's sepia-toned images prove once again that while colonialism may be dead or dying, its tropes are ever with us. In these pictures, beautiful non-Western women and children interact with exotic animals in faraway places and at revered ancient sites. Beatific teenage monks bow before elephants at temples on the plain of Pagan in the former Burma. A nearly naked daughter of the African bush, her hair in exquisite cornrows, leans dreamily into the flank of a watchful cheetah in the Namibian desert. The muscular, ponytailed Mr. Colbert, wearing a sarong, dives with sperm whales, plays hide and seek with a manatee, and swims in deep water with an elephant.

Many of these images are striking for their simplicity, serenity and how-did-they-do-that? drama. Who doesn't love majestic animals, or "nature's masterpieces," as Mr. Colbert calls them? But you would barely think twice about these photographs if you saw them framed under glass in a Chelsea art gallery. They're too derivative.

They take us back to nature along the familiar routes of fashion photography, spare-no-expense ad campaigns and National Geographic cultural tourism. They evoke Richard Avedon's 1955 fashion classic "Dovima With Elephants," Irving Penn's images of stoic Peruvian peasants, images of the young Dalai Lama and bus stop posters for expensive spas. They hark back to the 19th century, when early photographers traipsed the globe to record the alien glories of empire for the folks back home, and the early 20th, when Isadora Duncan was photographed dancing among Greek ruins.

Mr. Colbert's ruins include the great Temple of Amun at Karnak, Egypt, where Berthe Bermudez, a graceful latte-skinned woman, is seen dancing in a turban and white priestess caftan, while a royal eagle, looking very much like the birds depicted in the temple's famous reliefs, performs breathtakingly close fly-bys. Holding long feathers in her hands, she performs a similar turn with an eagle at the Temple of Hatshepsut at Luxor.

Blown up to as much as 10 feet across and displayed like hanging scrolls in the darkened interior of the Nomadic Museum, the images are part of an art spectacle as extravagant in its own way as Christo's "Gates," with the 45,000-square-foot Shigeru Ban pavilion the most interesting element. While not the first example of sustainable architecture to be displayed in New York, it must be the largest, and should help raise public awareness about building with reusable or recycled materials.

But the structure's interior, Mr. Colbert's domain, is Anne Rice by way of Pottery Barn, a setting worthy of induction rites for the cult of Isis. The lights are low and the music eerie. Five dozen tall columns flank a promenade of handsome rough-hewn wood. Suspended on thin wires, the photographs seem to float between the columns, while their hard-edged shadows, thanks to the pinpoint illumination, are cast onto swaths of white crushed stone on either side of the wood pathway. If Batman were a Minimalist, these ink-black rectangles would be his symbol.

The columns may be recycled cardboard tubes, but at 35 feet tall, and closely regimented into a procession several hundred feet long, they invoke the power of ancient pharaohs who ruled as gods. Not surprisingly, in Mr. Colbert's film that screens continuously at the far end of the building, he starts to seem a bit godlike. The pretentious voiceover, written by Mr. Colbert and narrated by the actor Laurence Fishburne, is riddled with clichés and first-person pronouns: "I want to see through the elephant's eyes. I want to dance the dance that has no steps. I want to become the dance."

Also sepia-toned, the film serves as the both exhibition's denouement and its indictment. The animals, of course, are even more imposing when shown in motion; their majesty, vulnerability and wisdom become almost visceral. But gratuitousness abounds. In one sequence, Ms. Bermudez and some other dancers flail à la Duncan in the water while elephants shift around behind them. The camera avoids any wet dashiki moments by staying above the clavicle. Another sequence, in which Ms. Bermudez interacts with a pack of rather aggressive African wild dogs, is pointlessly scary.

And of course there's the artist himself: the only white guy and adult male in sight. He swims with the animals and occasionally with other humans: beautiful women, who, like him, are bare-chested and clothed in sarongs. Toward the end of the film, he participates in an underwater duet that demurely borders on foreplay.

This exhibition pulls out all the stops to sensitize us to the natural world, but mainly it reveals that selfless sincerity is often close to overweaning egomania and that the path between them is unconsciousness.

"Ashes and Snow" is on view through June 6 at the Nomadic Museum, Hudson River Park, Pier 54, at 13th Street.

March 21st, 2005, 10:50 AM
I went to this on pay-what-you-want Tuesday. (11am-3pm). Best quarter I ever spent!
The interior is quite church-like. Very effective, interesting mega-artwork like the Gates.


April 13th, 2005, 03:53 AM
It is sure looking good out there...I was there on sunday, and with the good weather it looked almost like, dare I say, Venice Beach in L.A.?

May 16th, 2005, 10:53 AM
From last evening's episode of Law and Order: Criminal Intent . . .

June 18th, 2005, 09:42 AM
Murphy, Sieber, Vilanch Perform at Pride Celebration, June 20

Donna Murphy, Christopher Sieber, Bruce Vilanch and Orfeh are some of the stars lined up to perform at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center's annual Garden Party Pride Celebration on June 20th from 6 to 10 PM at Pier 54 on Manhattan's West Side.

Suede and Jimmy James will also perform, as well as jazz guitarist and his wife, singer Jessica Molaskey (Songs for a New World, Parade). In addition, Terrence McNally will be honored with the the Vanguard Award; Hairspray's Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman will present the award to him. Comedian Kate Clinton will emcee the evening, while New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, Delta Burke, Leslie Uggams, Bob Guiney, and the Lavender Light Gay Gospel Choir and the Youth Pride Chorus are scheduled to make appearances.

Murphy is a Tony Award-winner for Passion and The King and I, and has also appeared on Broadway in Wonderful Town and The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Sieber received a Tony nomination for his role as Sir Galahad in Spamalot; his other Broadway credits include Chicago, Into the Woods and Thoroughly Modern Millie. Vilanch is a comedian and comedy-writer who currently stars as Edna Turnblad in Hairspray, while Orfeh has appeared in the Actor's Fund Benefit concerts of Hair and Dreamgirls, as well as on Broadway in Saturday Night Fever and Footloose. McNally is a four-time Tony winner--for his plays Master Class and Love! Valour! Compassion!, and for his books to the musicals Ragtime and Kiss of the Spider Woman. His other plays include Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, Lips Together, Teeth Apart, and Bad Habits, while he has also penned the books of The Full Monty and The Rink.

Hudson River Park's Pier 54 is located on the West Side of Manhattan at 14th Street. Ticket prices begin at $50.

Visit www.gaycenter.org for more information on the Garden Party and other Center events.

September 23rd, 2005, 08:39 AM
Expensive, but a lot of stuff....


May 24th, 2006, 08:43 AM
What's the official scope of the original Chelsea Piers?

I assume the southern boundary is the Cunard/White Star Pier 54 at Little West 12th Street.

I'm curious if the piers between 23rd and 42nd were also part of the complex.

May 24th, 2006, 09:28 AM
What's the official scope of the original Chelsea Piers?

I assume the southern boundary is the Cunard/White Star Pier 54 at Little West 12th Street.

I'm curious if the piers between 23rd and 42nd were also part of the complex.

Chelsea Piers, completed ca. 1910, consisted of Piers 53-62 and did not include the piers between 23rd and 42nd. This vintage post card shows the southern end of the complex and Lusitania beside Pier 54:


This 1931 aerial shot shows the entire complex and a nice collection of steamers and biplanes and Majestic easing into one of the White Star berths at the northern end:


May 24th, 2006, 10:46 AM
Chelsea Piers, completed ca. 1910, consisted of Piers 53-62 and did not include the piers between 23rd and 42nd.
Thanks Manhattan for the quick response and cool photos.

I started a wikipedia article on the Pier and included a link to this thread:

The article on Chelsea Piers needs some expansion if anybody is so inclined.

For good measure here's a photo of the Carpethia at the pier after it brought in the Titanic survivors.

May 24th, 2006, 11:13 AM
I started a wikipedia article on the Pier and included a link to this thread:

The Wikipedia article describes Pier 54 as being "the intended docking point of the RMS Titanic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RMS_Titanic) in 1912." That's incorrect. As a White Star vessel, Titanic would have used one of the White Star piers at the opposite end of the complex. When Cunard's Carpathia arrived with Titanic's survivors, she first sailed upriver to the White Star berths, where she lowered Titanic's lifeboats into the water, and then went back down to Cunard's Pier 54 to discharge her human cargo.

Today's seeming inability to get anything grand built in NYC is hardly a new phenomenon. The construction of Chelsea Piers was hugely controversial and took decades to complete. The generation of long ships typified by Lusitania required the creation of piers long enough to accommodate them, but the US War Department, which had jurisdiction over navigable waters like the Hudson, refused to approve the construction of piers extending further into the channel than the existing piers. The solution was to remove all landfill and buildings between Thirteenth Avenue and West Street from 12th to 23rd Streets (and Thirteenth Avenue itself), creating space for the new piers.

May 24th, 2006, 11:55 AM
The Wikipedia article describes Pier 54 as being "the intended docking point of the RMS Titanic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RMS_Titanic) in 1912." That's incorrect. As a White Star vessel, Titanic would have used one of the White Star piers at the opposite end of the complex. When Cunard's Carpathia arrived with Titanic's survivors, she first sailed upriver to the White Star berths, where she lowered Titanic's lifeboats into the water, and and then went back down to Cunard's Pier 54 to discharge her human cargo.

Today's seeming inability to get anything grand built in NYC is hardly a new phenomenon. The construction of Chelsea Piers was hugely controversial and took decades to complete. The generation of long ships typified by Lusitania required the creation of piers long enough to accommodate them, but the US War Department, which had jurisdiction over navigable waters like the Hudson, refused to approve the construction of piers extending further into the channel than the existing piers. The solution was to remove all landfill and buildings between Thirteenth Avenue and West Street from 12th to 23rd Streets (and Thirteenth Avenue itself), creating space for the new piers.

That's all pretty cool. Thanks! You can of course modify a wikipedia article directly (and unfortunately it can become very addicting). After your posting I searched for more detail and I see that the Titanic's intended destination was Pier 60. There's a lot of pages out there that say Pier 54 was the destination (thanks no doubt to the fact that the Cunard White Star sign is still visible there).

May 24th, 2006, 12:24 PM
the Cunard White Star sign is still visible there

That faded sign reflects the merger of Cunard and White Star in (I believe) 1935, which the British government required as a condition for subsidizing the completion of Queen Mary. "White Star" remained in the company's name until (I believe) 1952.

June 18th, 2009, 10:41 AM
Pier 54 Events (http://pier54.com/events/)

June Events

27 June 2009, Saturday, 5pm – 11pm, Heritage of Pride’s Rapture on the River
28 June 2009, Sunday, 4pm – 10:30pm, Heritage of Pride’s Dance on the Pier
July Events

8 July 2009, Wednesday, 8:30pm, River Flicks (http://pier54.com/riverflicks/) – Iron Man (PG13)
9 July 2009, Thursday, 6pm, River Rocks (http://pier54.com/riverrocks/) – Matt & Kim
12 July 2009, Sunday, 6:30pm, Moon Dance (http://pier54.com/moondance/) – Swing with George Gee Big Band
15 July 2009, Wednesday, 8:30pm, River Flicks (http://pier54.com/riverflicks/) – Vicky Cristina Barcelona (PG13)
19 July 2009, Sunday, 6:30pm, Moon Dance (http://pier54.com/moondance/) – Tango with Hector Del Curto & The Eternal Tango Orchestra
22 July 2009, Wednesday, 8:30pm, River Flicks (http://pier54.com/riverflicks/) – The Dark Knight (PG13)
23 July 2009, Thursday, 6pm, River Rocks (http://pier54.com/riverrocks/) – Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
26 July 2009, Sunday, 6:30pm, Moon Dance (http://pier54.com/moondance/) – Latin with Los Hermanos Colon
29 July 2009, Wednesday, 8:30pm, River Flicks (http://pier54.com/riverflicks/) – Hancock (PG13)
August Events

2 August 2009, Sunday, 6:30pm, Moon Dance (http://pier54.com/moondance/) – Latin with Nu Guajiro
5 August 2009, Wednesday, 8:30pm, River Flicks (http://pier54.com/riverflicks/) – Tropic Thunder (R)
9 August 2009, Sunday, 6:30pm, Moon Dance (http://pier54.com/moondance/) – Swing with David Berger Jazz Orchestra
12 August 2009, Wednesday, 8:30pm, River Flicks (http://pier54.com/riverflicks/) – Sex and the City: The Movie (R)
13 August 2009, Thursday, 6 pm, River Rocks (http://pier54.com/riverrocks/) – Yeasayer
19 August 2009, Wednesday, 8:30pm, River Flicks (http://pier54.com/riverflicks/) – Pineapple Express (R)
23 August 2009, Sunday, 2-9pm, Blues and Barbeque (http://pier54.com/blues/)

June 19th, 2009, 04:42 PM
Pineapple Express on Aug. 19th
Not the 12th
typo on the Pier 54 site

June 24th, 2009, 11:38 AM
I am looking for help in expanding the Pier 54 History (http://pier54.com/history/) page, anyone interested send me a PM.

July 9th, 2009, 01:29 AM
Went to the Iron Man showing. It was great, and my first time doing anything like it. I think next time though I'll just show up closer to start time and lounge near the back as I prefer being able to move freely. Those empanadas looked delicious.

August 19th, 2009, 10:54 AM
Hi everyone, i've been a titanic fan for a very long time but only jsut got around to learnign the history of pier 54 and everything.

im sure theese might be some photo's youve seen before but i wanted to share them with you because i found them intresting and eary at the same time. Also i just want to point out i didnt take theese photos and i odnt know who did.

The Entrance way as is today,


The Entrance way in 1940, The men are longshoremen who are there for a 'shapeup"- where the boss chooses who among them will get to work that day.


and what i have done here is to merge the two pictures together to show a ghostly image of Past meets present.


I hope you find theese picture intresting and of some use, i would love to hear your thoughts on them.

Dan of Spam

August 19th, 2009, 11:54 AM
If you examine the colored picture closely, you can still discern the ghostly legend, "Cunard White Star." (But you knew that.)

The pier building is gone.

August 19th, 2009, 04:25 PM
I remember seeing this and wondering if this was where the Titanic would have pulled in, I guess I was right.

August 19th, 2009, 05:09 PM
There are two sets of ghost lettering on the beam. Cunard White Star was formed in a 1933 merger. Before that, pier 54 belonged to Cunard. The rescue ship Carpathia was a Cunard vessel, and docked at pier 54 with the Titanic survivors.

The recovered lifeboats, White Star Line property, were unloaded at White Star's pier 59, the designated docking pier for Titanic.

August 19th, 2009, 05:46 PM
I hope you find theese picture intresting and of some use, i would love to hear your thoughts on them.

Dan of Spam

Given our current levels of unemployment these days here in the US, that (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showpost.php?p=294343&postcount=35) merged image is very poignant. Great post: hope you keep the spam(UK) coming. :rolleyes:

November 16th, 2012, 09:38 PM
Barry Diller contemplates a major investment in Hudson River Park

Pier 54 at W. 13th Street. Ralph Hockens via Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/rhockens/2301412562/)

By Dana Rubinstein

Media mogul Barry Diller is contemplating a $35 million donation to rescue a languishing pier in Hudson River Park, according to sources familiar with his plans.

Diller, the chairman of IAC, which owns, among other properties, Match.com, the Daily Beast and CollegeHumor, has made a commitment to underwrite the renovation of Pier 54, which juts into the Hudson River at West 13th Street, in the event that the Trust gets matching funds from the city and state.

To that end, the Trust has asked architectural firms to submit design proposals for the pier.

"The design proposals or design concepts are either just being delivered or about to be delivered," said James Capalino, a lobbyist and boardmember of the Friends of Hudson River Park, the Trust's fundraising partner.

"It’s supposed to be an event venue," he said.

Diller's spokesperson had no immediate comment.

The Hudson River Park Trust, which is chaired by the mayor's girlfriend, Diana Taylor, and whose president and C.E.O. is former New York City Economic Development Corporation executive Madelyn Wils, is supposed to be self-sustaining.

But in recent years, it has run into financial difficulties (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/28/nyregion/hudson-river-park-after-early-success-faces-new-challenges.html?pagewanted=all).

In a January 2012 article detailing the Trust's fiscal challenges, the Times reported (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/28/nyregion/hudson-river-park-after-early-success-faces-new-challenges.html?pagewanted=all) that according to Wils, "demolishing and replacing Pier 54, at West 13th Street, where the wood pilings are severely deteriorated, would cost $33 million; constructing its planned amenities would cost an additional $30 million."

The Trust once held events on the pier, but has been forced to close it (http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/politics/2012/11/6564570/Pier%2054,%20near%2014th%20Street,%20is%20in%20suc h%20a%20state%20of%20disrepair%20that%20the%20Trus t%20has%20stopped%20holding%20events%20there%20and %20has%20had%20to%20close%20much%20of%20the%20pier %20to%20the%20public.) due to its state of disrepair.

The process of soliciting the designs has so far not been made public by the Trust, which declined to say whether the architects are being paid for the proposals. (The Trust's procurement guidelines (https://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/attachment/u/1/?ui=2&ik=9a2891f503&view=att&th=13afb7d20892709d&attid=0.1&disp=inline&safe=1&zw&saduie=AG9B_P8DTZQcVL9vJr8YuXoNWA4b&sadet=1353000897813&sads=HceJVcM53z2f1cBHJJ8cAMkZL-M) call for the process to be public when it comes to the planning of major design changes to the park.)

"Pier 54 is one of the Hudson River Park's last undeveloped public piers and has enormous potential to be another open-space gem for New Yorkers to enjoy," said Stefan Friedman, a spokesman for the Trust, in a statement. "While we have reached out to members in the design community to discuss ideas, we are still in the extremely early stages of this effort. The very moment we have funding for the pier, we will reach out to our partners in the community, and, together, we will determine how best to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity."
A spokesman for the Trust declined to comment on Diller's plans.

UPDATE: Justine Sacco, a spokeswoman for Diller, sent over the following statement: "This is all incredibly premature and highly speculative. We’ve been having informal discussions with Hudson River Park Trust about a project but are far from proceeding."


December 9th, 2014, 07:17 AM

Hillside on the Hudson

Heatherwick unveils floating park above New York City's Hudson River.

Heatherwickks 2.7-acre floating park will include gardens, cultural venues, and rolling hills.
Courtesy Heatherwick Studio/MNLA

The next bold architectural statement planned for Manhattan’s Far West Side will not be a High Line–hugging condo, but an undulating 2.7-acre park anchored nearly 200 feet offshore. Heatherwick Studio and Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects designed the futuristic structure, known as Pier 55, which will feature lawns, gardens, and three cultural venues. The floating park and arts destination would be primarily funded by billionaire media mogul Barry Diller and his wife, fashion designer Diane von Fürstenberg, who have pledged $113 million of the $130 million total cost. The location of Pier 55 is ideal for the power couple, who both oversee companies headquartered within walking distance of the site. New York City will also be providing $17 million for the pier and New York State is spending $18 million to upgrade the esplanade along the river




Pier 55 is propped up above the river on 300 concrete piles that essentially double as the park’s planters. These piers rise to varying heights—from 15 feet to 71 feet—to create the effect of a rolling hillside above the Hudson. By lifting the corners, Thomas Heatherwick told AN, the park could add three dimensionality to the riverfront’s profile and create a unique topography that offers sweeping views from the river. “There is no reason, if you need to make a new pier to start off with, and your brief is to put horticulture into that, that that should be as flat as a pancake,” he said.

The firm’s initial presentation to the Hudson River Park Trust (HRPT) and to Diller and von Fürstenberg happened just hours before Superstorm Sandy swept across New York City. After that point, the brief changed entirely, said Heatherwick. At their lowest point, the cast concrete piers are designed to provide enough clearance for the park during a future storm.




While Heatherwick is still designing Pier 55’s arts spaces, Diller has announced that an A-list team of performing arts types, including the award-winning film and theater producer Scott Rudin, has been brought on to program them. According to the HRPT, the majority of cultural events will be free or close to free. Through a nonprofit, called “Pier55,” Diller and von Fürstenberg will fund the costs of this programming, as well as day-to-day operations, and maintenance for the next 20 years.



Pier 55 would replace the crumbling Pier 54, which holds a significant place in maritime history: It was the first departure point of the Lusitania and where survivors from the Titanic were brought ashore. According to the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/17/nyregion/with-bold-park-plan-mogul-hopes-to-leave-mark-on-citys-west-side.html?_r=0), the HRPT wanted to rebuild the historic pier, but did not have funds to do it. Diller was then brought in, and the largely secretive design competition that would culminate in Heatherwick’s design was launched.

A public hearing about the plan—specifically, the proposed 20-year lease between the HRPT and the Pier55 non-profit to redevelop the site—is scheduled for December 17. As it stands now, construction is expected to start in 2016.

The Diller–von Furstenberg Family Foundation is expected to cover any cost overruns.

Henry Melcher


December 10th, 2014, 11:24 PM
It's hard to see in the aerial shot, but there's an at-grade crosswalk across Route 9A at W13th St.

There are two other projects at this location:

1. The Pier 54 Connector Project will widen the esplanade from Gansevoort to W14 by building out over the water, similar to what was done at the East River north of the Maritime Building.

2. NYS DOT Route 9A W13 St Crosswalk.

Proposed Lease agreement (diagrams start on page 130):


February 13th, 2015, 03:54 AM
Suggestion to Mods:

Add Pier 55 to thread title?

Lease Deal for Pier 55 Park in Hudson River Is Approved

FEB. 11, 2015

A rendering of the proposed park and performance space to be known as Pier 55 in Manhattan.
Heatherwick Studio, via Associated Press

Plans for a cultural island in the Hudson River took a step forward on Wednesday, when the Hudson River Park Trust approved a lease agreement with a group controlled by Barry Diller that plans to help create a new $130 million pier with performance spaces and sylvan paths.

The lease agreement would be between the trust, the public benefit corporation that oversees development of the four-mile park and Pier 55 Inc., a nonprofit organization headed by Mr. Diller, a billionaire and prominent figure in the media industry.

Mr. Diller, chairman of IAC/InterActiveCorp and former head of Paramount Pictures and Fox, has pledged $113 million through a family foundation to construct the park. The balance will come from New York City. Pier 55 Inc. will also operate and program the 2.4-acre pier, which will jut 186 feet into the river from the shoreline at 13th Street.

Some residents and elected officials, while acknowledging Mr. Diller’s generous philanthropy, have complained about the secrecy with which the proposed park was hatched. And environmental groups have demanded a full environmental review, pointing out that the new pier would involve construction in an undisturbed area of the river that is a designated estuarine sanctuary.

Pier 55, as the new space will be called, would replace the existing, but dilapidated, Pier 54. That pier would be razed, leaving a field of piles in the river, and the new parallelogram-shaped pier would be built immediately north atop 300 concrete columns that will range in height from 15 feet to 62 feet above the water.

The Army Corps of Engineers and the State Department of Environmental Conservation will also need to sign off on the new pier before construction, scheduled for 2016, could begin. In the 1980s, environmental concerns helped defeat the proposal to build a superhighway, known as Westway, along the river on the West Side of Manhattan.

Hudson River Park is a city-state hybrid created by state legislation in the late 1990s. The idea was to repurpose a series of piers along the river’s edge, converting them to lawns, skate parks, restaurants, playgrounds — all connected by a bicycle and walking path. The park, which is supposed to be self-sustaining, would have its maintenance and operations paid for by the development. But it is still only 70 percent finished.

The trust has had financial setbacks in recent years. One of the planned commercial sites, Pier 40 at Houston Street, is so deteriorated that it now needs at least $100 million worth of repairs.

The trust has had no luck in attracting a suitable development proposal there, partly because of the pier’s condition, and the latest plan calls for funding the repairs through the sale of development rights.

Mr. Diller and the trust’s chairwoman, Diana L. Taylor, began talking a few years ago about Pier 54. At the time, he pledged $35 million, but the project ballooned to $130 million, as his vision of a cultural pier with three performance sites grew.

To direct the arts spaces, Mr. Diller has enlisted a high-profile quartet: George C. Wolfe, the former artistic director of the Public Theater; Stephen Daldry, the British film and theater director and producer; Kate Horton, a British theater executive, and Scott Rudin, the film and theater producer.

Community Board 2, whose district includes Greenwich Village, voted last month in support of the project and praised the “promise of high-quality arts programing.” But it but also voiced “concerns about the future funding” of the pier. In particular, the community board worried what would happen if Pier 55 Inc. had financial troubles in the future, or vacated the lease.

The 20-year lease has an option to renew for another 10 years. Madelyn Wils, the trust’s president, said she felt confident that “all the protections we need to make sure the project is financed” were in place. She added that in 30 years the park should be completed, along with its planned commercial development, which will support all park operations, including those of Pier 55.

The environmental group Riverkeeper has called on the trust to perform an environmental-impact statement. Among the group’s concerns about the new pier are the potential for storm-water runoff, harm to the river sediment from driving hundreds of new piles and the impact of new shady areas on habitat.

“Shading changes the interaction between fish species and affects the ecosystem dynamic,” said Sean Dixon, a staff attorney for Riverkeeper.

Instead of a full environmental impact statement, the trust completed an environmental assessment form, with fewer requirements. The trust defended its actions, noting that the form was more than 200 pages.

“We take our role as stewards of the Hudson River Park sanctuary seriously,” Ms. Wils said in a statement. “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.”


May 31st, 2015, 09:03 AM
Construction started to widen the esplanade area from Gansevoort to W14th St, approx the width of the original pier headhouse platform. Bikeway realigned, bus stop layby added at W14 St, and crosswalk landing at W13 St. Pier 54 arch and granite foundation will remain as artifacts.