Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation Awards $20 Million to Help Complete High Line Park

New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced a $20 million gift from the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation to support completion of the High Line, a 1.5-mile-long elevated railway-cum-park that runs along the West Side of Manhattan from Gansevoort to 30th Street, the New York Times reports.

The single largest gift ever awarded to a New York City park will be added to the High Line's endowment and used to cover design fees for the final half-mile section of the wildly popular park.

The park, which is maintained by the nonprofit Friends of the High Line, hosts up to three million visitors a year, ten times what the Friends of the High Line co-founders Joshua David and Robert Hammond had anticipated. As a result, raising funds to cover costs associated with the park's upkeep — about $3 million annually — has been a challenge, especially given the budget constraints on the city, which supported construction of the first two sections of the park. "If you ask Josh or me what keeps us up at night, it's not next year or whether we complete it — we know it will get done," Hammond told the Times. "It's the maintenance, and this [gift] gives us security."

IAC and Expedia chairman Barry Diller and his wife, designer Diane von Furstenberg, were early and generous supporters of the High Line, having previously donated a total of $15 million in two installments to the project. "It's not surprising that Barry and Diane — visionaries that they are — got in early on the High Line project," said Bloomberg. "But even better, they are seeing it through. Their generosity is leading the way for the High Line to become a New York icon that will be enjoyed for generations to come."

Lisa W. Foderaro. "Record $20 Million Gift to Help Finish the High Line Park." New York Times 10/26/2011.