2008 in the Headlines

newsiesIt’s been a great year for the High Line in the news. In no particular order, here are some highlights:

A Dash of Crystalline Water Ice

That time of year is upon us (winter, that is)– and much more officially so, now that we’ve received our first significant snowfall of the season– and the High Line, mythical as it might seem, is no less affected than the rest of New York City by a fresh blanket of everyone’s favorite type of precipitation. Many of New York’s most famous street scenes and landmarks are transformed by snow, making them symbols of New York City in winter. Judging by the effect of last Friday’s snow on the High Line, we’re eager to see the High Line join the likes of Central Park, Radio City Music Hall and the Empire State Building in the ranks of New York City landmarks that are altered spectacularly in the winter to become memorable and historic parts of the New York City landscape.

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More pictures after the break.
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Happy Holidays from the High Line.

christmas tree on the high line

[Section 2 of the High Line near 29th Street in Winter 2007.  Before construction began on this area, a High Line neighbor would decorate this tree every winter.  ]

Vote for the High Line District!

Curbed.com is running it’s annual Curbed Cup and this year they are focusing on the year’s most newsworthy microneighborhoods.   The High Line District made the 1st round — and we’re up against Hudson Square near Soho (?).

Vote for the High Line District!

History Lesson, Pt. 1: The Westbeth Artists Community

While the High Line itself is rich with its own unique and storied history, it is also part of the larger historical context of the city it has called home for over a century. In this recurring series, we hope to rediscover the High Line by taking a look at some of the important historical locations in the surrounding area.

westbeth_small1Built between 1880 and 1900, The Westbeth Artists Community is located at 463 West Street. From 1898 to 1966 it functioned as a laboratory for the Bell Telephone company, when it served as America’s largest industrial research lab. Many major technological inventions and innovations in the field of telecommunications trace its origins to the lab, including the first experimental talking movie, radar, the first phonograph record, and black and white and color television, an invention of particular significance for fans of such fine modern television programming as The Jerry Springer Show and Baywatch. The site was even home to part of the Manhattan Project during World War II. Continue reading

“Designing the High Line: Part 2.” Gansevoort Plaza and Stair.

At the corner of Gansevoort Street and Washington Street, the High Line’s southern terminus marks one of the parks major access points and gathering spaces. This corner is also the future location of the Whitney Museum of American Art. A paved, street-level public plaza will act as a meeting and orientation point for visitors to learn more about the High Line and will also house a small concessions area. An opening cut into the structure of the High Line allows for a steel and aluminum stair, supported by a stainless-steel rod hanger system, to gently touch the plaza level. The stair invites visitors to ascend from the busy street below to the elevated landscape on the High Line. While on the stairs, visitors pass between existing six-foot high beams, giving one a better understanding of the High Line’s robust structure.

A few weeks ago, the High Line’s signature “slow stairs” were delivered and installed. See a few of the images below:birds-eye

[Birds-eye view of the stair installation. Click to enlarge.]

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[Stair installed at the southern-most access point at the corner of Gansevoort and Washington Streets. Click to enlarge.]

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Matching Gift Challenge from Edward Norton

edward-headshot-smallFriends of the High Line Board Member Edward Norton has pledged to match every gift made in December, up to $100,000, with a gift to support the construction of the High Line. 

Make a year-end donation to Friends of the High Line and your money will work twice as hard for the High Line!

 You will be helping to support the operations and maintenance of the High Line in its first year as a public park,  And now, thanks to Edward’s generous support, your gift will help fund construction of key design features, like the Woodland Flyover and the 30th Street Cut-Out.  

To see a slideshow of some of these exciting designs, many of which will not be built without private support, click here.

Photo by Glen Wilson.

“Cheap Lunchrooms, Tawdry Saloons and Waterfront Haberdasheries”

The 1930’s Federal Writers Project WPA Guide to New York City, which I love, has a great description of the Hudson waterfront during the time the High Line was built. From the chapter “West Street and North (Hudson) River Waterfront”:

The broad highway, West Street and its continuations, which skirts the North River from Battery Place to Fifty-ninth Street, is, during the day, a surging mass of back-firing, horn-blowing, gear-grinding trucks and taxis. All other water-front sounds are submerged in the cacophony of the daily avalanche of freight and passengers in transit. Ships and shipping are not visible along much of West Street. South of Twenty-third Street, the river is walled by an almost unbroken line of bulkhead sheds and dock structures. North of Twenty-third Street, an occasional open spot in the bulkhead permits a glimpse of the Hudson and the Jersey Shore beyond.

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THIS WEEK ONLY: “Designing the High Line” on Sale!

sale-imageUntil this Friday, December 12, we’re selling our recent publication, Designing the High Line, for $18, a 40% discount from its regular price.  Finish (or start) your holiday shopping by ordering a copy of the book, which contains detailed renderings and descriptions of all of the final designs for Sections 1 and 2 of the High Line.

This full-color paperback book is the only place to find a comprehensive selection of the final design renderings that were unveiled in June, along with historic photographs, maps, and construction photos.  With forewords by design team members James Corner of Field Operations and Ricardo Scofidio of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, among others.

This publication makes a great gift for any High Line enthusiast on your list, especially considering the fact that another High Line-related book, photographer Joel Sternfeld’s Walking the High Line, is currently selling for $549.00 on Amazon.com. 

For a preview of some of the images you’ll find in the book, check out the design slideshow on our web site.

Save the Spur Video and Rally Recap!

The turn-out of High Line supporters for Monday’s Eastern Rail Yards Public Forum was great: more than 200 people rallied at Midtown’s Red Cross in favor of preserving the entire High Line, including the Spur over 10th Avenue. Supporters wore red “Save the Spur” T-shirts and held signs during a presentation by The Related Companies, the designated developer at the rail yards.

The Spur, a portion of the High Line that crosses 10th Avenue at 30th Street, is still clearly under threat of demolition. Almost every speaker voiced strong support for preserving the entire High Line at the rail yards, including elected leaders US Representative Jerrold Nadler and New York State Assemblymember Dick Gottfried. Related gave no concrete answer as to why the spur would need to be torn down, only that the spur is “large and dark.”

On a promising note, the building on the Western Rail Yards that was previously shown blocking the High Line’s western views was not in the plans shown on Monday night.

With your help, we will continue to put pressure on the developer, the City, the MTA, and Governor Paterson. Please stay tuned to our E-mail Newsletter for updates on what you can do to help us Save the Spur.

Thanks to everyone who came out on Monday night to show that the Spur, like the rest of the historic High Line structure, must be preserved and integrated into the rail yards development.

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