Lord Mayor of Copenhagen and Swimming Pools Part I

2008_03_28_lord-mayor-visit-to-hl-023.jpg 

[Robert Hammond, Lord Mayor of Copenhagen Ritt Bjerregaard, Ric Scofidio, the Mayor for the Technical and Environmental Administration Klaus Bondam]

This morning, we took the Lord Mayor of Copenhagen Ritt Bjerregaard and several Danish officials on a tour of High Line construction (you can see the recently re-installed tracks on either sides of the planking).

I love the Danes and their use of public space. The Copenhagen Harbour Bath is on my short list of swimming holes I want to visit.

copenhagen-harbour-pool1.jpg

The Bath was built in 2002– the water in the Harbor is so clean they don’t even need to filter or chlorinate the water. Some Copenhageners now pack towels and swimwear in their briefcases. 

copwenhagne-pool.jpg

This summer I hope to try our own local version: the Floating Pool that opened last summer. 

Stay tuned for more swimming pools– including one that was once proposed for the High Line!

High Line Featured in NYT Editorial

For the very first time that we are aware of, the High Line was featured in a New York Times Editorial. In it, America’s paper of record challenges the City and Tishman Speyer to seize the opportunity provided by the development rights to the West Side Rail Yards and to do the right thing and “preserve all of the High Line, the 1.5-mile stretch of elevated railway that is being transformed into a green jewel of public space.”

There was considerable pride and a few tears as we read this unprecedented shout-out by the Times.

Read the editorial  on the Times site, or after the jump.

Continue reading

Warehoused! New Historic District to Hug the High Line

 The handsomest factories and warehouses around the High Line got a kiss from the city on March 18, when the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) calendered a proposal for a new industrial historic district in West Chelsea.  When the LPC calendars a proposal, it has a high chance of being approved.  The hearing is scheduled for May 13.  Read the LPC’s statement about the district after the jump. 

Here’s a map of the district:

 west-chelsea-hd__proposed.jpg

[Click to enlarge. Courtesy NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission]

There are many people and groups who’ve helped make this happen, most notably New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who provided crucial leadership on this initiative, as she has done on so many other important projects in our neighborhood (including the High Line!).  State Senator Tom Duane also championed the effort, as did the Society of the Architecture of the City.  That said, the historic district was originally the brainchild of a longtime Chelsea resident and Community Board 4 member, Ed Kirkland.  Ed has been pushing for this historic district for years — it’s one of many ways this dedicated preservationist and tireless community activist has worked to ensure that the most valuable historic resources of our community are maintained.

We’re excited about this district, because it joins the High Line’s preservation in demonstrating the importance of preserving industrial architecture and infrastructure.  Some of the buildings in the district are among our favorites in the High Line neighborhood, including the Starrett-Lehigh Building, the New York Terminal Warehouse Company’s Central Stores, and many others.

west-chelsea-otis-elevator-building.jpg

[The Otis Elevator Building, built in 1911-1912, is one of the buildings in the proposed West Chelsea Historic District.  Photo courtesy NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission.]

Other buildings in the proposed district include: the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company Freight Warehouse; the RC Williams Warehouse; the Cornell Iron Works, and the Reynolds Metal Company.

Read the LPC’s statement about the district after the jump. Continue reading

Celebrating Women’s History With Council Speaker Christine Quinn

Chris Quinn 
[The crowd mingles and enjoys tasty treats inside the Brooklyn Museum's Rubin Pavillion.]

On Tuesday, I attended a celebration of Women’s History Month at the Brooklyn Museum hosted by New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.  The event honored women in the arts, and I ran into a lot of Friends of the High Line’s partners and neighbors there, including some folks from the Whitney and Dance Theater Workshop.

The reception kicked off with coffee and desert in the lobby of the gorgeous Rubin Pavillion, which is a recent addition to the museum that opened to the public in 2004.  This glass-enclosed lobby and the public plaza outside it are two of my favorite spots in Brooklyn.  After the Speaker arrived, the crowd moved to the Cantor Auditorium for an awards ceremony, followed by tours of the museum’s Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art. 

The Dinner Party

[Just because I love it, a shot of Judy Chicago's The Dinner Party, now housed permanently at the Sackler Center. Photo by Susan Jablon.]

Breaking: MTA Selects Tishman Speyer as Rail Yards Developer

rail-yards.jpg 

The MTA announced today that it has selected Tishman Speyer as the developer for the West Side Rail Yards. This announcement ends a 6-month bidding process, which originally involved 5 competing developers. Tishman Speyer outbid the only other remaining contender– a joint venture between the Durst Organization and Vornado Realty Trust– by $112 million, offering to pay $1.004 billion for the rights to develop the 26-acre site.

Read the Mayor’s Press Release

Tishman Speyer Wins Hudson Yards Bid  [Crain's New York Business]

Tishman Speyer’s initial bid plan for the rail yards can be seen here. The developer is working with architect Helmut Jahn, landscape architect Peter Walker, and master planner Cooper Robertson. They plan to build 10 million square feet of commercial space, 3 million square feet of residential and leave 13 acres of open space.

Given the sudden change in gubernatorial administration, many thought the rail yards bid process would be delayed, so the MTA’s announcement comes as somewhat of a surprise. Tishman Speyer’s anchor tenant, Morgan Stanley, reportedly dropped out of the deal earlier this month.

Tishman Speyer’s plan preserves most of the High Line, but proposes to demolish the spur over Tenth Avenue, and part of the section along 30th Street.

Statement regarding the MTA’s selection of Tishman Speyer as the developer for the West Side Rail Yards

Friends of the High Line commends the MTA’s, Governor Paterson’s, and Tishman Speyer’s commitment to preserving the majority of the historic High Line structure at the rail yards, and we look forward to working with all parties to ensure that the remaining sections– the spur over Tenth Avenue and the full section along 30th Street– are preserved as well.

The treatment of the High Line in Tishman Speyer’s bid shows considerable progress from the days when it was presumed the site could not be developed without its demolition. We applaud the MTA, Governor Paterson, and Tishman Speyer for their recognition of the High Line as an asset. We are encouraged that they now share our vision of a continuous walkway, connecting the new residential, commercial and open space at the rail yards with the gallery district of West Chelsea and south to Gansevoort Street, that will be the next great city public park for New Yorkers and visitors alike.

We look forward to working with Tishman Speyer and the MTA to ensure full preservation of the entire historic High Line structure, including the spur over Tenth Avenue– almost 1/3 of the rail yards section. Additionally, we hope to work with the leadership of the Javits Center to ensure that a pedestrian easement is preserved on the 33/34 block, north of the rail yards site, so that the High Line may extend to connect with the Javits Center and the planned #7 extension.

We owe a great deal of our success so far in this process to the tireless support of our elected officials: Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Governor David Paterson, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Borough President Scott Stringer, and State Senator Tom Duane, as well as the advocacy efforts of Manhattan Community Board 4, and our Friends of the High Line volunteers and supporters. Our rail yards advocacy would not be possible without the generous financial support of the A.G. Foundation, the Greenacre Foundation, the Leon Levy Foundation, John and Wendy Neu, and Wendy Keys and Donald Pels.

  

Check it out at PULSE

Searching for a downtown alternative to the Armory show this weekend? Look no further than Pier 40, which will house the PULSE Contemporary Art Fair, exhibiting works in all media from over 70 international galleries.

When you’re there, check out the Artware Editions (Booth F-5). Artware is a gallery in the West Village that specializes in functional objects and furniture designed by artists. We are excited to be working with Artware to create artist-designed objects inspired (and some made with actual artifacts from) the High Line. Stay tuned for more info on those. Below, one of their pieces for the fair entitled Twin Table by Richard Roth.

yellowtable1.jpg

Dispatches from the Nursery

13_0311_hamamelis-pallida.jpg

[Gay Kepple from Millane Nursery, tagging the tented Hamamelis Pallida for a planting area on the High Line]

Sierra Bainbridge and Maura Rockcastle at Field Operations, the landscape architecture firm leading the High Line design team, have been traveling to plant nurseries around the east coast in search of native plants for the High Line. Planting is projected to begin this spring. Sierra explains what the trips are all about:

“We’re scouring native plant nurseries throughout the region, searching for many of the native trees and shrubs proposed for the High Line.  Some of the native material we have found is a little smaller than planned, which only means it will have more time to naturalize and grow into its new environment.

Our first tagging trip was on February 28, to the north fork of Long Island. There we tagged the first tree for the High Line, the Koelreuteria paniculata (Goldenrain tree) for the area around the stair entrance to the High Line at 14th street. Because the planting beds have very shallow depths, we are planting lots of smaller trees and shrubs so that they will fit and acclimatize to the conditions on the High Line as they grow. We measured a few pre-dug Koelreuteria rootballs to ensure they would fit into the shallow depths of their planting bed, but we ended up choosing trees that are still in the field. We saw a lot of other great plants that day, but we went only for the lovely Koelreuteria.”

2_tagging-the-first-tree-for-the-high-line-koelreuteria.jpg

[Sierra, left, tagging the first tree for the High Line, with Annette Wilkus from SiteWorks, the planting contract manager. ]

1_tagging-koelreuteria-3.jpg

[Tagging the Koelreuteria paniculata]

3_measuring-root-ball-depth.jpg

[Measuring the rootballs]

Continue reading

Chalk Shoes to the High Line

Chalk ShoesFriends of the High Line is set to kick off our spring programming season, and we’ll be starting off with a bang.  We’ve commissioned Brooklyn-based multi-disciplinary artist Julia Mandle to work with a group of 60 students from the Lab School in Chelsea to mount a performance and exhibition this April and May. 

The kids, all 8th-grade art students, will be wearing chalk shoes during the performance, scuffing their feet along the sidewalks of the Meatpacking District and Chelsea.  In the end, they will create a giant urban chalk drawing ending at the future access points of the High Line.  The idea is to mark the future paths that people will take to the High Line, and generate excitement about the park’s opening later this year.  More details after the jump!
[Photo by Ronald Cowie (2008)]
 

Continue reading

Florent: “Don’t Cry for Me”

restflorent.jpg 

An update on the imminent closing of beloved Meatpacking District institution Florent, which will soon lose its lease after 22 years on Gansevoort Street: According to the Villager‘s resident news-cat Scoopy, restauranteur Florent Morellet is not looking for another space, but is excited to pursue other projects, including writing his memoir and devoting more time to his art: drawing maps of imaginary cities.

Florent is planning a five-week going-away bash, from Memorial Day to Gay Pride on June 29. In a final display of irreverence, he’s theming each week around one of the five stages of grieving: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.

He told us he’s gotten an outpouring of sympathy from restaurant fans for closing. “Don’t cry for me,” he says, pointing out that the end of his restaurant chapter is just the beginning of another great adventure.

We wish him luck on what’s sure to be a brilliant career in memoir-writing, mapmaking, rabble-rousing, landmarking, theatrics, editorializing, farce, pyrotechnics, airport entertainment, Bastille-storming, and championing of great causes small and large.

Florent Moves [Scoopy's Notebook]

Florent Goes to Court! [High Line Blog]

Florent Watch: Restaurant Officially Being Shopped for $700K/Yr [Eater]

Join Us at the Armory Show- Sunday March 30

Join Friends of the High Line and Armory Show founder Paul Morris on a personal tour of the famous art fair. This annual event features work from living contemporary artists from more than 150 international galleries. Morris will give some history of the fair, and hand-pick some of his favorite galleries and pieces to show High Line supporters.
Tours will be mid-day with a ticket price of $10. Please RSVP to rsvp@thehighline.org for tour times and meeting location.

armory

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.