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Massive Hudson River Park Backed by Barry Diller and Diane Von Furstenburg Wins Unanimous Approval

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Pier55, the massive public NYC Hudson River park backed by Barry Diller and Diane von Furstenburg to the tune of $113 million has won unanimous approval from the Hudson River Park Trust on Wednesday, DNA Info reports:

Pier55 will feature 2.7 acres of new floating public park space rising from the river near West 14th Street. The pier is expected to open in the spring of 2019, said Madelyn Wils, president of the Trust...

...Diller is contributing $113 million to Pier55's construction, and will fund the park's maintenance for 20 years.

The park will be erected at the end of 14th near the Meatpacking District. More, including details on all the community board concerns and contentiousness, at DNA Info...

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Barry Diller and Diane von Furstenburg to Help Finance Proposed Massive NYC Park on Hudson River

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Diane von Furstenburg and Barry Diller will provide the bulk of financing for a $165 million dollar park proposed for the site of a crumbling pier along the Hudson River, Gothamist reports.

Writes Gothamist:

A crumbling old Hudson River pier once used by ocean liners like the Lusitania will be torn down and replaced by a 2.7 acre park on the water featuring rolling hills and an outdoor amphitheater. Mayor de Blasio is expected to reveal further details about the park at a press conference this morning, but the Hudson River Park Trust has revealed that the park will be largely financed by a foundation formed by the billionaire couple Barry Diller and Diane von Furstenberg.

...Von Furstenberg, the fashion designer, and Diller, the former head of Paramount Pictures and Fox, have committed $130 million to the park, with the city pledging another $17 million, and $18 million from New York State to build an esplanade to the pier park. The park will be between the pile fields of Pier 54 and Pier 56, which will remain in order to provide a fish habitat.

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The park will be erected at the end of 14th near the Meatpacking District - also Von Furstenburg's fashion headquarters (are you watching House of DVF yet?).

The park's planning is being criticized by city advocates over a "lack of transparency" according to Gothamist.  The Hudson River Park Trust’s board, the Army Corps of Engineers, the state Department of Environmental Conservation, and the public will have a chance to weigh in before the project is approved.

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(gothamist via jmg)


Andrew Sullivan Set To Start Independent Pay Site February 1

AndrewsullivanbeastGay blogger Andrew Sullivan announced today that he and his executive editorial team, Patrick Appel and Chris Bodenner, are leaving their virtual home at Newsweek-owned The Daily Beast to set up shop as a pay site with no ads, a move they say will help them get back to their online grassroots.

From Sullivan's announcement:

...As we contemplated the end of our contract with the Beast at the end of 2012, we faced a decision... As we debated and discussed that unknowable future, we felt more and more that getting readers to pay a small amount for content was the only truly solid future for online journalism. And since the Dish has, from its beginnings, attempted to pioneer exactly such a solid future for web journalism, we also felt we almost had a duty to try and see if we could help break some new ground.

The only completely clear and transparent way to do this, we concluded, was to become totally independent of other media entities and rely entirely on you for our salaries, health insurance, and legal, technological and accounting expenses.
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As of February 1, we will revert to our old URL - www.andrewsullivan.com... Here's the core principle: we want to create a place where readers - and readers alone - sustain the site. No bigger media companies will be subsidizing us; no venture capital will be sought to cushion our transition (unless my savings count as venture capital); and, most critically, no advertising will be getting in the way.

The cost will be $19.99 a year, which works out to about a nickel a day. Whether or not you think that is a fair price probably depends on how much you value Sullivan and his team's opinions. If you ask me, that's actually a pretty good deal.

In the meantime, The team's work will still be accessible at The Daily Beast until their new site officially launches next month.


Barry Diller and Scott Rudin Launch E-Publishing Firm

IAC Chairman Barry Diller and producer Scott Rudin have jumped into the E-book business, the NYT reports:

DillerMr. Rudin and Frances Coady, a longtime publishing executive, have formed a partnership with Mr. Diller in a new venture called Brightline. It will publish e-books and eventually physical books in a partnership with Atavist, a publisher based in Brooklyn with expertise in producing electronic books and articles.

The alliance creates a new competitor in the rapidly changing digital book market, one that is dominated by Amazon, the online retailer, which has roughly 65 percent of e-book sales. Though fledgling, the new venture will enjoy the support of two influential executives who control a wide array of resources in media and entertainment.


Report: Daily Beast and Newsweek to Merge

The announcement is coming tomorrow, reports the New York Observer:

Newsweekbeast "It will be a 50-50 merger of the two companies. The editorial staffs will combine under the editorship of Tina Brown, who will again run a high-profile glossy. Newsweek owner Sidney Harman, 92, and IAC chairman Barry Diller had for weeks disagreed over an operating structure for the hybrid publication. The deal reached today establishes a daily role for Mr. Harman and strong editorial independence for Ms. Brown...For now, Newsweek will be called Newsweek and The Daily Beast will be called The Daily Beast, with some intermingling of the names to come later."

UPDATE: The official announcement.


Matt Drudge: 'I Do Not Love Sex with Men'

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New York magazine's Intelligencer got a "quick response" from Matt Drudge after emailing him about his placement on OUT magazine's 'Power 50' list this year along with another glass closet inhabitant, Barry Diller.

Drudge Said Drudge: “False. False. False. I do not love sex with men. My site is not anti-gay. I present both sides of the anti-choice-life issue. I am not anti-tolerant! Except against big-government freaks. I liked Chaka in the eighties, and have not watched Young and the Restless in twenty years! But I do watch Judge Judy!”

OUT editor Aaron Hicklin talked about the 'Power 50' in a Sunday piece for the UK's Guardian and why he has no problem with naming those who haven't publicly acknowledged their sexuality:

"Much has changed in two years. For a start, four of the names included in the 'Glass Closet' story that accompanied the inaugural Power 50 list have since come out, starting with Foster who finally acknowledged, in December 2007, her 'beautiful Cydney, who sticks with me through the rotten and the bliss'. Second, we are now in Barack Obama's America, opening up a very different vista for gays and lesbians, in which the days of being knocked back and forth between evangelical Republicans and poll-sensitive Democrats seem, finally, to be numbered."


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