Manhattan Borough President’s Community Planning Fellowship

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer’s office is now taking applications for its 2008-2009 Community Planning Fellowship. The program, open to second-year graduate students in planning, intends to engage planning students in public service and to provide practical educational experience. Part of the Fellowship involves attending a planning seminar, which meets at least four times per semester. FHL’s Robert Hammond was a guest speaker at this year’s spring seminar.

In accordance with a hands-on approach to planning curriculum, Fellows will also log 15 hours a week in the office of one of Manhattan’s 12 Community Boards. Projects at the Community Boards may focus on physical planning, policy research, problem-solving, day-to-day matters or longer-term service delivery concerns, and public outreach activities.

Past Fellows have worked to complete community-based plans (197-a plans); develop recommendations on land use applications (ULURP); map and analyze neighborhood conditions; and research landmarks/historic sites.

The application deadline is June 15.

More info about the annual fellowship is available here as a PDF, or on the Borough President’s Web site.

Stop and Smell the Roses

Friends of the High Line moved offices last month, and our new West Chelsea digs are a bit further from the subway. I’ve been using my morning and evening commute to get to know our new neighborhood.

Our new office is just west of the Chelsea Historic District [PDF], where the beautiful Greek Revival townhouses of Cushman Row encourage pedestrians to stop and smell the proverbial roses. Or in this case, the literal ones.

This photo, taken yesterday, shows the roses that are now blooming along the gates of the General Theological Seminary on 20th Street. The gothic-looking Seminary, built on land donated by Clement Clarke Moore, is a beautiful oasis of greenery, and a great place to check out if you’re in the neighborhood.

Tomorrow: Meeting About the Williamsburg Waterfront Park!

An image of East River State Park

[An image of East River State Park, from the NYS Office of Parks.]

The Greenpoint Waterfront Association for Parks and Planning is a coalition of over 40 community organizations dedicated to promoting parks and public access to the waterfront in Greenpoint and Williamsburg.  As we at the High Line know, parks and trees are vital to a healthy community and we applaud their efforts to bring more green to the ‘Burg.

To find out what they’re up to, attend the meeting about the Williamsburg Waterfront Park (the State Park on Kent Avenue and North 7th Street in Brooklyn).

Thursday, May 29, 2008 @ 7:00 p.m.
Peoples Firehouse
113 Berry Street in Williamsburg, BK


RSVP to Michelle Rodecker: abby097@aol.com

 

Westbeth High Line Section

[Left, National Geographic magazine; Right, Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times]

Some of you may have seen this story in last Friday’s Real Estate section of the Times. While the High Line park will begin at Gansevoort and Washington, few people know that the High Line originally went as far south as St. John’s Park Terminal, which covered four riverfront blocks between Clarkson and Spring Streets. (It’s now a UPS warehouse.) In the 1960’s, the High Line below Gansevoort was demolished, with the exception of the little section of rail running through the Westbeth complex, on Washington between Bank and Bethune.

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Lab School 7th-Graders Design the High Line

 

Yesterday, Jeff and I had the honor of judging the Second Annual High Line Design Competition at the Lab School in Chelsea.  The competition is the culmination of a multi-week geometry unit in two of Ms. Rodriguez and Ms. Whelan’s math and science classes that uses the High Line as a model for teaching the students about scale, ratio, and area.  All of the student’s designs for the High Line had to be to scale, incorporate native plants and grasses, and honor High Line planning principals.

More photos after the jump.

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Drink Wine, Support Friends of the High Line

Local wine shop Chelsea Wine Vault is holding a couple of tastings over the next few weeks, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Friends of the High Line.  The first event is tomorrow evening from 7:00-9:00PM at their store in Chelsea Market.  The wines featured tomorrow– over 20 from around the world– will be bright, juicy, crisp, and mouth-watering, perfect for a spring evening. 

The next tasting will be on June 18 (details to come).

Chelsea Wine Vault has been a great friend of the High Line, recently showcasing a pair of our Chalk Shoes as part of their window display in order to raise awareness of the project.  Stop on by tomorrow if you can!

Chelsea Wine Vault’s Spring Fling Party for the High Line
Located near the Ninth Avenue entrance of Chelsea Market
75 Ninth Avenue at 15th Street
7:00-9:00PM
$10.00

To reserve a spot in advance, email rsvp@chelseawinevault.com

Related is Selected as Rail Yards Developer

Another big Rail Yards announcement this morning: the Related Companies have stepped in where Tishman Speyer dropped out earlier this month.

Related’s original proposal included the preservation of the entire High Line, including the spur over Tenth Avenue and the entire 30th Street section, which might have been demolished in Tishman Speyer’s plan. Though we haven’t seen the terms of their current agreement with the MTA, we hope they’ll stick with full preservation, fulfilling the first, and most important, of our principles for the High Line at the Rail Yards.

Developer in Deal With MTA to Develop West Side Railyards [City Room]

Related Cos. wins Hudson Yards Deal [Crain's]

Related, MTA Said to Reach Deal for Rail Yards [Observer]

Tomorrow is Bike to Work Day!

Tomorrow, some of us at FHL will celebrate Bike Month NYC  and National Bike to Work Day by riding in to the office.

[Patrick's sweet ride.]

For now, it looks like the rain won’t start until 10 or 11 AM tomorrow, so hopefully we can get to work dry – fingers crossed!

As a (still relatively) new employee at Friends of the High Line, I’ve been impressed at the number of people in the office who ride their bikes or walk to work, to meetings, and to our events throughout the city.  Robert, Josh, Katie, Danya, and Patrick have inspired me to at least think about making the 8 mile trek from Washington Heights down through the many sections of the Hudson River Park to our new office on West 20th Street. 

FHL staff rides to work from nearby (Chelsea) and kind-of-far (Brooklyn), and in their spare time, too.  Meredith and Peter ride on weekends, and Katie’s done longer cycling events, like the Ride to Montauk

FHL is going green in other ways, too.  We recently switched to a recycled paper stock, we’re working on an office composting program, and we used green materials like FLOR’s recycled carpeting squares to build out our new office space.

Join Us at the Opening of Chalk Shoes to the High Line

Tomorrow night at the Leo Kesting Gallery, we will fete the opening of Chalk Shoes to the High Line, a show documenting the April 16 performance led by artist Julia Mandle that featured 60 8th-graders from the Lab School in Chelsea.  The students donned shoes made from green chalk and scuffed lines along the sidewalks of the Meatpacking District and Chelsea, ending at future High Line access points.  The exhibition that opens tomorrow and runs through May 21 will feature rows of the used shoes, photographs taken by the kids, and a video of the performance by Matt Wolf.

Chalk Shoes to the High Line
Leo Kesting Gallery
812 Washington Street (near Gansevoort)

Opening: Thursday, May 15 6:00-8:00PM

Tomorrow’s opening party also kicks off Meatpacking District Design Week, happening Thursday through Sunday in venues around the Meatpacking District.  See you there!

It’s Official: MTA/Tishman Speyer Talks are Dead

After a last-ditch effort to get their West Side Rail Yards negotiations back on track after Thursday’s announcement, Tishman Speyer was unable to sway the MTA.

The MTA’s statement today was short and sweet. In its entirety:

The MTA met today with Tishman Speyer. Despite the best efforts of both sides, a final agreement could not be reached. The MTA has now re-entered discussions with other interested developers and remains committed to timely development of these unique and valuable parcels of land on Manhattan’s Far West Side.

It’s widely believed that the most likely developer right now is the partnership of the Durst Organization and Vornado Realty Trust.

Hudson Yards Talks Fail Yet Again [Crain's]

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