Banchet, a Unique Event Space Near the High Line

We often get requests from people looking to host events on the High Line. Unfortunately, since it’s still an active construction site, we can’t let people have events up there yet. Many people don’t realize that there are lots of great event spaces in the Meatpacking District. Banchet, just steps away from the southern end of the High Line, is one of my favorites.

Located here, on the corner of Washington and Gansevoort, Banchet is a 1,8000-square-foot floral shop that can be used for weddings, private parties, or photo shoots. The best part about this space is that is comes fully decorated with seasonal flowers. They are available for sit-down dinners up to 120 or cocktail parties for 145.

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 More photos after the jump. Continue reading

BREAKING: Brookfield Not Submitting a New Bid

Brookfield Properties has announced they have not submitted a second bid for the Rail Yards site. Supplementary bids were due yesterday.

Back in January, the MTA asked the five developers to submit supplementary materials supporting their ability to lease, not buy, the 26-acre site. None of this financial information was made public.

Brookfield’s decision not to submit new materials knocks them out of the running for lead developer of the site, but according to a source, they still may be considered as partners in the development. Brookfield recently announced another large-scale development on Ninth Avenue, only a few blocks from the Rail Yards.

There was coverage today in the Times and the Observer.

Introducing PHOTO OF THE WEEK

We think the High Line is pretty.

So we want to share some of our favorite photos of the High Line– one every Wednesday.

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[A tree grows from the enclosed platform of an abandoned meatpacking plant. Click to enlarge.]

If this isn’t enough for you, our flickr page  should scratch that itch.

Engineering the High Line: FREE

Fallingwater Irish Hunger
[Restoration of Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater and New York City's Irish Hunger Memorial by Robert Silman Associates]
Opera House Alfaisaliah
[Danish National Opera House and Saudi Arabia's Al Faisaliah Tower by Buro Happold]

Join Friends of the High Line and the Master’s Program in Exhibition Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology for a free design talk with High Line structural engineers Joseph F. Tortorella and Andre George of Robert Silman Associates, and Craig Schwitter of Buro Happold.  Both teams will spend about one-third of the time discussing the work they’ve done on the High Line, and the rest of the time on their other high-profile projects.

Engineering the High Line
Thursday, February 28
6:30PM
FIT’s Katie Murphy Auditorium
Seventh Avenue at West 27th Street

RSVP to rsvp@thehighline.org

TEXAS is More Interesting Than You Think

I was in Dallas a few weeks ago and learned about a couple of inspiring projects.

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[The La Reunion rail trestle outside of Dallas. Photo from their Flickr page]

Utopian re-conquest of  TX
I met a woman named Sarah Jane Semrad, who, along with a crew of activists, is turning a 35-acre site into an Arts Residency with the main building going up around an abandoned train trestle. The project is called La Reunion  after a utopian artists’ colony that settled in Dallas in the 1850s and who brought the first piano, brewery, and cultural sensibilities to North Texas.

More La Reunion photos.

They also have a blog where you can sign up for email updates, and more on the project and its history is after the jump. 

Proved Wrong Again

A year ago I saw Joshua Price Ramos (now with REX) give a presentation about a design for a theater in Dallas he had designed while working with Rem Koolhaas at OMA.  It blew me away, but I put it in the category of “even more unlikely that the High Line” and thought it was the kind of thing that would never get built– especially not in my home state. I love being proved wrong!

This is a shot of the diagonal supports rising out of the ground as part of the beginning of construction of the Wyly Theater.

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[rending of Wyly Theater from REX]

Unlike a typical theatre setting, this unique design for the Wyly Theatre places these spaces either above or below the auditorium, enabling maximum interaction and flexibility of performance space and seating. The facility’s advanced mechanized “superfly” system can pull up both scenery and seating.

More design images of the Wyly Theater from REX

Watch the design animation

Live webcam shot of the construction

The theater is part of the larger Dallas Center for the Performing Arts, a new multi-venue Center for music, opera, theater and dance that will open in 2009. Norman Foster and Spencer de Grey designed the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House that is under construction a stone’s throw from the theater. Total funding total funding for the project exceeds $277 million to date with more than 100 Dallas families and corporations contributing $1 million or more.

Continue reading

High Line Envy at the Big Dig?

Boston may own New York in baseball, but in regards to creative re-development of disused behemoths of the mid-20th century, they may be woefully behind Gotham. Consider Sunday’s Times article describing the slow evolution of the park being built atop the Big Dig where Boston’s old Southeast Expressway used to run.

Jerold Kayden, a professor of urban planning and design at Harvard, said that the parks lacked boldness and creativity and that the corridor remained “an urban void.” It might have been more interesting, Professor Kayden said, to leave the highway intact as an elevated park like the planned High Line, formerly a railway, on the West Side of Manhattan.

Boston Has High Hopes Now That the Dig Is Done [New York Times]

Storefront for Art and Architecture Benefit at DVF

Storefront 25th Anniversary Benefit

This save-the-date for the Storefront For Art and Architecture‘s 25th Anniversary Benefit recently made its way into our office. The event, honoring architect (and Storefront founder) Kyong Park, and artist Shirin Neshat, will be held this April in the Diane von Furstenberg Studio, a brand-new space tucked inside a landmarked meatpacking building just steps away from the High Line.

One of the more striking features of the Work Architecture Company-designed DVF Studio is a diamond-shaped skylight/conference room called the Jewel. Natural light filters into the building through the glass-ensconced and crystal-studded “stairdelier,” a chandelier/staircase that may give the spiraling Apple store staircase (down the block) a run for its money as the neighborhood’s most visually striking way to travel between floors.

The benefit is coming up April 29th.  Check out Storefront’s web site for more information.

Action-Packed Construction Update

Section 1 is very busy right now as the team prepares for a delivery of soil in a few weeks. I went up this morning to take stock of all the action happening on the Line right now. Here are some highlights. Click all photos to enlarge.

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Tracks are being re-installed in their original locations, after being marked and stored on the Line during earlier phases of construction. Track installation is almost complete up to Little West 12th Street. Later, the areas underneath the tracks will be filled with soil, and plantings will grow up around them.

Tons more fun after the jump.

Continue reading

New York ASLA Seeks an Executive Director

The New York Chapter of the American Society for Landscape Architects is seeking a full-time Executive Director. Applications are due February 29th and should include a one-page cover letter and resume to info@asla.org.

Founded in 1899, American Society of Landscape Architects is the national professional association for landscape architects representing more than 14,200 members. The NY ASLA have long been friends of the High Line, and honored our co-founders last year at their President’s Awards Dinner. 

Read the full job description here.

Awards Sweep for High Line Champion Amanda Burden

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It’s award season for Amanda Burden, Chair of the New York City Planning Commission  — and one of the High Line’s earliest, most passionate champions.  Earlier in February, we saw her glide up to the podium to accept a New York City Cititzens Committee award, presented by Charlie Rose (right photo, and check out New York Social Diary’s coverage).  And last week, at at Travel + Leisure’s Design Awards 2008, Nancy Novogrod (T+L editor-in-chief and High Line supporter) presented Amanda with the mag’s Design Champion award.  T+L ran a full-page photo (above, left) of Amanda on the High Line’s spectacular rail yards section (this part of the High Line still needs some saving — go to our Rail Yards Blog for more info.)  

 We’re happy to see Amanda recognized for her work.  Back when the Giuliani administration wanted to tear the High Line down, Amanda, then a member of the Planning Commission, testified personally about the need to save the structure at our first City Council hearing.  Then, when Mayor Bloomberg appointed her as Chair of the Planning Commission, Amanda oversaw the rezoning of West Chelsea, which included many provisions  that made the High Line’s preservation and transformation possible.

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