Rail Yards Update: Get Ready!

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Don’t miss your chance to show your support for the High Line at the most important public hearing since 2005. UPDATE: This hearing is scheduled for March 31 at 9:30 AM. Read More.

In the next few weeks, the City Council will hold a public hearing regarding its vote on the Eastern Rail Yards zoning text amendments. The hearing, the City Council’s first ever on the rail yards, will be a rare opportunity to show the Council how much public support there is for preserving the High Line at the rail yards. It is essential that we make a strong showing at this hearing.

If you want to recieve more information about this hearing, and to get regular updates about our rail yards advocacy, please email railyards@thehighline.org.

What we’re asking for: We want the City of New York to take ownership of the High Line at the rail yards. This ownership transfer would happen in the same way it did on the rest of the High Line in 2005, with CSX Transportation, the private railroad company, donating the structure to the City for use as a public open space. City ownership would go a long way towards guaranteeing the High Line’s permanent preservation, including the spur.

Why Now? The public review process for the rail yards development is underway. Despite the economic downturn, the developers are moving forward with the public approvals so that when the economy improves they will be ready to begin building. So now, during this public review process, is the time for the City to act on the High Line. City acquisition of the High Line must take place now, before development on the rail yards is given the green light.

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Early High Line Review: “Prosaic” with “Touches of the Sublime”

Hugh Pearman, London-based design critic and author of several fantastic architecture books, was recently in town reviewing another NYC project, and decided to stop by to check out the progress on the High Line. 

Pearman compiled his initial thoughts about his visit on his Web site. In the review, he’s forthcoming about the doubts he had before walking the High Line, but admits that  the project quickly won him over:

I had worried. It’s only natural. The lure of dereliction, its especial beauty, is its very isolation and tragic transience. By this token, the idea of turning the secret world of Manhattan’s High Line into a linear, permanent public park could surely not succeed. But now I have walked the first, and nearest-complete, section. I am impressed and delighted.

Manhattan’s High Line: I think it’s going to be OK. (www.hughpearman.com)

The High Line Loses 3.5 Tons!

removal81At approximately 8:00 this morning, the High Line construction crew cut four massive steel panels from the north side of the 10th Avenue Square. The square, which sits over 10th Avenue at 17th Street, will be one of the most distinctive design features when the High Line opens later this year. 

 

render[Design by Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Courtesy the City of New York]

A rendering shows the finished 10th Avenue Square. Glass windows will be installed where the steel panels were, and trees and people will be visible from the street below. A stepped wooden ramp will serve both to bring people down to the windows, and as amphitheater-like seating, making the Square a natural gathering point. Special thanks to David and Hermine Riegerl Heller, and Sukey and Mike Novogratz, for making this feature possible.

More of the removals after the jump. Click all images to enlarge.

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FHL Now Hiring!

In preparation for the opening of the park in a few short months, Friends of the High Line currently has SEVEN positions open (with another to be announced shortly). These include several new positions in the Horticulture and Maintenance & Operations departments, in anticipation of the High Line’s opening this spring.

The best way to keep in touch with our open positions, news of the park’s opening, and other FHL tidbits, is through our e-mail newsletter. Subscribe here.

A full description and application instructions is included on each PDF document, viewable below. Please note, all application material should be sent to jobs@thehighline.org. No phone calls, please.

Supervisor of Maintenance & Operations
Full-time Gardener
Seasonal Gardener
Maintenance Technician
Groundskeeper
Custodian
Bookkeeping/Data Entry Assistant

Feb 25: Greening Manhattan’s Waterfront at CUNY

manhattanNext week, CUNY is hosting a panel discussion on the evolution of Manhattan’s waterfront from a landscape dominated by industry and highways, to a “Perimeter Park.” The discussion is being put on by the Sustainable Cities Institute at CUNY, and will feature authors Philip Lopate, Ann Buttenweiser, and John Waldman, and editor Rutherford Platt.

Wednesday, February 25th
6-8PM with reception following
Macaulay Honors College
35 West 67th Street

The event is free, but RSVP is required.

View the flyer (PDF) for more info, and to RSVP.

Bloomberg.com: The High Line = good economics

resize-for-blog-dsc_3256[The High Line last fall, as landscaping crews began planting.]

All eyes were on our nation’s capital today as President Obama signed the stimulus bill (or, properly, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) into law. Before the $787 billion economic recovery package was finally approved, debate raged over how the funds should be distributed.

On that note, James S. Russell, Bloomberg‘s architecture critic, argued a point we couldn’t agree with more: “If you want bang for taxpayer’s buck, build parks and fund the arts.”

His recently published article on Bloomberg.com asserts that the arts spur economic development, citing the High Line as a prime example: “From an economic standpoint, starving the arts is suicidal. Consider the case of the High Line, the park in the Meatpacking District. The City of New York invested $170 million in the project, which directly inspired as many as 50 major residential projects worth as much as $5 billion.”

Click here to read the full article on Bloomberg.com.

Walking the High Line with Joel Sternfeld

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Next weekend offers a rare opportunity to see Joel Sternfeld’s Photographs of the High Line as part of Luhring Augustine‘s booth at the ADAA Art Show 2009 at the Park Avenue Armory.

Back in 2000, in the dawning hours of Friends of the High Line, co-founders Robert Hammond and Joshua David asked noted photographer Joel Sternfeld to walk the High Line to take photographs. The pictures Joel took in the subsequent seasons chronicled the allure and natural grace of the High Line, and played a crucial role in alerting the public to the potential of what many saw from below as abandoned ruins. Adam Gopnik wrote about Joel in the May 21st, 2001 issue of the New Yorker:

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