Northern Spur Preserve: Ramp revealed!

 northern-spur_north

 [View looking north at the Northern spur over 10th Avenue.]

Work is quickly progressing at the Northern spur, a horticultural preserve located on a portion of the High Line that juts across 10th Avenue, just north of Chelsea Market.  The landscape at the Northern spur is designed to recall the self-sown landscape that grew up on the High Line after the trains stopped running. The High Line’s landscape team planted over 7,500 native grasses and perennials in early November, before the soil froze.

Construction crews are now beginning to install non-slip, brushed-aluminum grating panels along a ramped structure that will provide access to and from the lower level. At the mid-point of the ramp, a cantilevered overlook will offer visitors views of both the preserve below them, and of the city beyond.

ramp-detail

[Detail: A brushed-aluminum ramp provides a non-slip walking surface between the lower and upper levels of the High Line.]

Continue reading

Standard Goes Back to School

standardThe folks over at the now open-ish Standard Hotel have gotten some of their sweetest eye-candy together for their annual Staff Calendar. Staff members from all Standard locations, Miami, Los Angeles, Hollywood and New York, are featured in campy spreads of sexed-up high school stereotypes (hell-oooo, Student Council!)

The calendar itself is a sweet little design, a kind of minimalist composition notebook that can stand up by itself on its stiff pages. Next year maybe Friends of the High Line will give them a run for their money!

 

 

Shop the Standard: 2009 Staff Calendar

Watch the YouTube Video

Rail Yards Update: CB4 and BP Stringer Call to Save the Spur

spur_smallThe support for the full preservation of the High Line at the rail yards continues to grow– Community Board 4 and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer have both added their voices to the call to save the spur.

At a recent full Board meeting, Community Board 4 made a clear statement advocating preservation of the entire High Line at the Eastern Rail Yards, including the spur over 10th Avenue.

In a letter addressed to the City Planning Commission, CB4 recommended approval of City Planning’s proposed text amendments to the zoning plan for the Eastern Rail Yards—but at the same time, they requested additional text amendments to ensure that the entire High Line would be protected.

CB4’s letter points out that though Related shows the entire High Line in its drawing for the site, “the brutal truth of the situation is that the High Line on the ERY and the WRY remains unprotected and at serious risk of demolition. Now is the time to put in place the zoning protections to ensure that the High Line will be preserved.”

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer’s zoning amendment recommendation to City Planning include an equally strong call to save the spur. In his letter to City Planning Chair Amanda Burden, he wrote, “Redeveloping the rail yards must not threaten any portion of the High Line, including the spur; it should be preserved in its entirety.”

Continue reading

The High Line Without Us

worldwithoutussmall

[Image by Kenn Brown, monolithic.com. Click to enlarge.]

In many post-apocalyptic (and often sub-par) films, the “end of the world” usually refers to the destruction of civilized life on planet Earth. As human life flickers out, the film ends and the credits roll. However, as Alan Weisman illustrates in his book The World Without Us, what popular film sees fit to refer to as the “end of the world” would actually be a renaissance of sorts for planet Earth. Using New York City as a guide, Weisman outlines much of what would likely occur in a world without us, using the High Line as an illustration. After the unnamed apocalyptic event,

The early pioneer plants won’t even have to wait for the pavement to fall apart. Starting from the mulch collecting in gutters, a layer of soil will start forming atop New York’s sterile hard shell, and seedlings will sprout. With far less organic material available to it-just windblown dust and urban soot-precisely that has happened in an abandoned elevated iron bed of the New York Central Railroad on Manhattan’s West Side. Since trains stopped running there in 1980, the inevitable ailanthus trees have been joined by a thickening ground cover of onion grass and fuzzy lamb’s ear, accented by strands of goldenrod. In some places, the track emerges from the second stories of warehouses it once serviced into lanes of wild crocuses, irises, evening primrose, asters, and Queen Anne’s lace. So many New Yorkers, glancing down from windows in Chelsea’s art district, were moved by the sight of this untended, flowering green ribbon, prophetically and swiftly laying claim to a dead slice of their city, that it was dubbed the High Line and officially designated a park.

Of course, the landscape of the High Line as a park will not technically be “without us” (though it would certainly help with maintenence costs!) However, this kind of self-seeded, found landscape was the exact inspiration for planting designer Piet Oudolf’s selection and arrangement of plant species. More on that here.

Check out Weisman’s website here, and be sure to check out the endlessly fun Google Earth tours.

Standard Hotel is (softly) open

standard hotel
  [View of the Standard Hotel from the High Line at Gansevoort Street]

The new Standard Hotel that bridges over the High Line at Little West 12th Street has recently opened its doors for a soft opening.  While the club, lounge, restaurant, and bars are still very much under construction, ten floors of guest rooms are currently open.  And I quote: “We’ll put up with your banging if you’ll put up with ours…”

We hear that the rooms are gorgeous — and who can hate the view?  Current rates range in price from $195 for a room with a Queen-size bed to $495 for a suite.  See Gothamist for more info and a great slideshow.

Bloomberg: High Line is “the world’s most innovative park”

Mayor Bloomberg, speaking at the April 2006 High Line Groundbreaking Ceremony

[Mayor Bloomberg, speaking at our Groundbreaking ceremony in 2006.]

In his annual State of the City Address, Mayor Bloomberg focused mainly on his strategy for stabilizing the city’s economy and pulling it out of recession.  The plan he outlined in today’s address at Brooklyn College focused on three main areas: job growth, quality of life, and making city agencies more efficient.  According to a draft prepared for today’s delivery [PDF, via the New York Times], the first point of the nine-point plan focuses on creating jobs by investing in infrastructure— including,  in the Mayor’s own words, “opening the first section of the world’s most innovative park, the High Line in Lower Manhattan.”

The High Line is only one of the infrastructure projects the Mayor referenced that have created “25,000 construction-related jobs” this fiscal year.

Other points in the Mayor’s job creation plan include helping small businesses by launching more Business Improvement Districts, and creating “green” jobs by improving energy efficiency in City buildings.

The Mayor also emphasized the importance of improving quality of life in New York City, pointing out that 300 new acres of parkland have been created in the city over the last seven years, and pledging to protect the park system, “a precious asset that belongs to all New Yorkers.”

Another project the mayor unveiled: his office’s new YouTube channel, where you can watch a video documentary by Ric Burns, “This is New York City,” that preceded today’s speech.

A Surreal View From the High Line

Today brought one of the strangest views from the High Line yet: A few of us were up on the site this afternoon to see how it was faring in the frigid weather, when we caught a chilling glimpse of the US Airways plane that crashed into the icy Hudson today. (Amazingly, even in the sub-freezing temperatures, there are no fatalities reported.)

Emergency vehicles– on the land, in the air and in the river– swarmed around the mostly-submerged plane, which by that time had been evacuated of all passengers and crew. While we watched, tugboats were able to pull the waterlogged jet’s nose and one of its wings above the freezing river.

plane2

[More photos after the jump.]

Continue reading

Q&A with Melissa Fisher, Deputy Director of Horticulture

melissa_smallFriends of the High Line’s Deputy Director of Horticulture talks about planting on the High Line, working with Field Operations and Planting Designer Piet Oudolf, and creating a maintenance plan for the new landscape. Photo by Barry Munger.

Where were you before coming to Friends of the High Line, and what drew you to the High Line project?

I was at the Horticultural Society of New York as the director of a community horticulture program called GreenBranches.  We worked with the community, transitional work crews, and local designers to install, maintain, and program public gardens in underserved neighborhoods around the city.
I was drawn to the High Line as one of the most intriguing projects in urban gardening I could ever imagine. 

What was unique about the landscape that grew on the High Line after the trains stopped running?

It’s a fascinating example of how plants just work themselves out.  A diverse mix of grasses, asters, mosses, shrubby colonizers and weed trees gradually took hold in mere inches of railroad ballast mixed with decomposing dust and soil.  Seeds and pollen were deposited on the Line by the train cars that once ran along it, and by birds, wind, and the occasional trespasser.   The plant species that were most adaptable to harsh weather, urban pollution, and total neglect grew into the beautifully-wild space that was the found High Line landscape, as the world went on unknowingly just below.

Continue reading

High Line Aerial Wall Art and Desktop Wallpaper

office-map

Friends of the High Line’s office recently got a new addition: a 9 foot-by-18 foot aerial High Line wall map in our reception area. The map shows the High Line’s design in context: the entire line is visible as it moves north from the West Village, through Chelsea, to the West Side Rail Yards.

The unusual view from above reveals the complex relationship between the High Line and its neighborhood. You can see the surrounding built environment as a series of blocks, streets, and related and unrelated structures, seemingly stitched together by the common thread of the High Line. You can see where the line literally passes through buildings, which familiar neighborhood landmarks it nears and touches, and how it parallels the Hudson River. Here at our office, we can’t stop looking at it.

Download your own version of this map for your desktop!

Click the size you would like to download:
Small monitor: 800 x 600 pixels
Medium-size monitor: 1024 x 768 pixels
Large-size monitor: 1280 1024 pixels
Wide-screen monitor: 1680 x 1050 pixels

 office-map_detail

[Detail view of the map.]

Instructions for downloading the wallpaper after the jump!

Continue reading

2008: The Year in Programming

2008 was a great year for the High Line. Without a completed park to play on, we’ve had the opportunity to get very creative with our programs–trips to Governor’s Island, canoeing on the Bronx River, chalking paths to the High Line’s future entrances, and more. The opening of the first section (Gansevoort Street–20th Street) is rapidly approaching and we are in the midst of planning some very exciting programs for the occasion– for the first time, we will be able to bring the public onto the finished park.  

Here’s a look at some of our events from the past year.

chalk-shoes-line_small

Middle-school students from Chelsea’s Lab School for Collaborative Studies wore special “Chalk Shoes” that they designed and cast, with the help of artist Julia Mandle. The Chalk Shoes performance was a collaborative performance art piece, using the shoes to draw lines along the sidewalks of Chelsea, leading the way to the High Line’s future access points.

sketching-class_small

High Line supporters sketch on the High Line rail yards’ section, as part of last spring’s High Line Sketching Classes with artist Ann DeVere.

More after the jump…

Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.