Friday, June 26, 2009


The new High Line park has been open now for about three weeks, and I walked it on the first afternoon, hoping to avoid crowds. It is, against heavy odds, a piece of public urban space New York can be proud of. While I am sure it is not nearly as interesting and beautiful as it was back when it was abandoned, covered in native wildflowers and weeds, and the neighborhoods it ran through were quiet and desolate (I wish I had the gusto and thought to try to sneak up onto it then!) the new adapted use park is really well done. I can't wait for the second portion, for the plants to really grow in and establish themselves, and the day when each end has an anchor to draw you from one end to the other. The south end will have the Renzo Piano designed Whitney Museum and the north end a large park which will be part of the Hudson Yards redevelopment (which, like other big projects around the city, should be all wrapped up by around 2095).

We as a city are lucky someone had the vision to preserve this piece of the city's history instead of tearing it down so more ticky-tacky condos could be built in it's place. The irony is the ticky-tacky condos (as well as some well designed buildings) that were built near the park are all now much more desirable (indeed, many of them were built because of proximity to the High Line) than they would have been without it. See, developers? Sometimes preservationists aren't just cranky biddies who want to stop progress in it's tracks. Imagine what the area around this nightmare could have been like if the original had been saved...

Here is what the Times thinks of all this
and then there are some who are not fans

Of course, this is New York, and it wouldn't be New York without some (justifiable) anger over the fact that the glitzy park of celebrity sponsorship is getting more attention and care from taxpayers than much larger parks that don't run near Pastis and the Stella McCartney store.

Some more pics:

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