The City Club of New York, a small civic organization, took the Trust to court on multiple occasions to fight the proposed pier, which would rise 14 stories at its highest point from custom “mushroom cloud” pots atop white piles. Designed by Thomas Heatherwick with landscape architects Mathews Nielsen, Pier 55’s lush greenscape was programmed for performing arts. For years it was rumored that developer Douglas Durst was secretly bankrolling the City Club’s lawsuits, and in May Durst confirmed he was funding the court challenges in an interview with The Villager.
“Because of the huge escalating costs and the fact it would have been a continuing controversy over the next three years I decided it was no longer viable for us to proceed,” an upset Diller toldThe New York Times.
In an email to Pier 55 supporters, Diller lamented that a “tiny group of people had used the legal system to essentially drive us crazy and drive us out.”
Even the City Club was surprised by the news. Its lawyer, Richard Emery, called Diller’s move “a great decision,” adding that it respects the estuary, a point of contention in the group’s recent legal battles.
Besides the ego feuding, it is also Heatherwick’s second high-profile project to meet the rubbish bin in recent weeks. The London designer’s Garden Bridge, a massive verdant expanse over the Thames River in London, was killed by the city in April.