The High Line is a new public park, built on an elevated 1930s rail structure located on Manhattan's West Side. It runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to 34th Street. The first section of the High Line opened to the public in June 2009. The High Line is property of the City of New York, and is maintained and operated by the non-profit Friends of the High Line, in partnership with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation.
A recent article in the Gotham Gazette documents the perks of a good park, far beyond its immediate function as a facility for recreation and rest. According to “The Central Park Effect”, Central Park attracts more than 25 million visitors a year, about one fifth of whom come from outside the city. Spending by these visitors directly and indirectly accounted for $395 million in economic activity. This activity, as well as increases in property values near the park, generated $656 million in revenues for the city in 2007.
In its first week, the High Line attracted more than 70,000 visitors. According to the New York Times, City officials have predicted that development sparked by the High Line as a public park will bring $4 billion in private investment and $900 million in revenues to the city over the next 30 years.
Yesterday’s New York Timesarticle about the High Line Renegade Cabaret shed some light on our new favorite neighbor, who’s been serenading park users since opening day. Patty Heffley, a former punk rock photographer, enlisted her jazz singer friend Elizabeth Soychak to help transform her fire escape from a laundry dryer into a bona fide stage. Heffley described the change succinctly in her first introduction:
“This is in response to 31 years of obscurity,” Ms. Heffley announced from the fire escape. “Now, every day there are thousands of people looking in my window. We’re not here to celebrate, we’re here to exploit. Welcome to the Renegade Cabaret.”
Despite running into some problems regarding the issue of where to hang her unmentionables up to dry, the High Line has helped lift Ms. Heffley into the spotlight, quite literally. The encouragement Ms. Heffley has recieved has led her to consider other possibilities. “I’ll be putting other kinds of stuff out there, too” she says. “I have lots of ideas.”
You can join the High Line Renegade Cabaret tonight from 9:00 – 10:00 PM at 20th Street.
Find out about showtimes and more at the High Line Renegade Cabaret Facebook group.
Read the full article here, and don’t miss the slideshow!
Today’s blog post was guest written by one of our Greeters, Claudia Berger.
One thing is for sure, rain certainly helps the garden grow. The last few weeks of rain has really allowed the Chelsea Grasslands section to flourish. Flowers and other plants of all colors, shapes and sizes have been blooming attracting not only visitors but a variety of butterflies, bees, and birds.
If you visited the park in our first couple of weeks, you may have been told to enter using the Gansevoort access point. This early limited access was part of our strategy to handle the anticipated heavy crowds on the park initially.
You can now enter and exit the park at all access points (Gansevoort stairs, 14th Street stairs, 16th street stairs and elevator, 18th street stairs, and 20th street stairs).
However, in the event that we reach capacity, we will once again limit entrance to the Gansevoort access point (or 16th Street if you require an elevator). This is most likely to happen on the weekends, during peak hours of 1:00 to 4:00. So far, this has only occurred on two occasions on the weekends, and has resulted in lines of 10 to 30 minutes.
Most visitors who encountered the lines still had a wonderful experience in the park, and recognized that the brief wait was necessary in order to ensure the safety and enjoyment of all visitors and to prevent damage to the park’s delicate landscape.
We hope that you will take the opportunity to visit the High Line, as more than 100,000 visitors have already!
Here’s a video from UK-based Wallpaper, featuring Co-Founder Joshua David and lead designer James Corner. It was shot back in April, a couple months before the park opened, and it’s amazing how different the landscape looks.
As is to be expected for Wallpaper, this video has STYLE. We love it.
We’ve created a brand-new Flickr Group, and it’s looking a little lonely. We need YOU to cheer up our Pool by adding photos of your High Line visit!
If you have a Flickr account, go to www.flickr.com/groups/friendsofthehighline/ and click “Join this Group” at the top. Once you’re a member, it’s easy to add photos. Just click on “Group Pool” and “Add Photos or Video”.
If you don’t have a Flickr account, it’s easy and free to set one up.
Some of you may have noticed an increase in precipitation over the past month or so. Meteorologists have put it down to the high-altitude jet stream that normally guides the movement of weather across the country being slightly south of its normal position- an explanation that may suffice for those of us willing to settle for a simple, evidently logical answer, but for those looking for a more challenging account of what’s going on, the folks over at trainjotting have uncovered a much more sinister explanation.
The Sundeck's lounge chairs are a popular spot for resting and people-watching.
Lisa Switkin is Associate Principal and Lead Designer of the High Line at James Corner Field Operations. She writes today about her initial responses to seeing the High Line’s design turned into reality:
“After spending the past five years on the High Line in mostly solitary situations walking the line to familiarize myself with every curve, view and condition or in small groups working through essential design concepts and design and construction details – it is extraordinarily rewarding to finally see it activated and being used and loved by people. Although progress was evident every day as the integrated components of the park came together, I don’t think it truly became a reality for me until I was able to stroll up there last Saturday morning as a park user and observer.
“Someone said to me ‘have you noticed that people have a different pace when they are on the High Line?’ This made me smile, as I remember the supportive but skeptical reaction when we first stated our basic mantra of ‘Keep it Simple, Keep it Wild, Keep it Slow, and Keep it Quiet’ that inspired the design. ‘Can you even do that in New York?’ was a common response. And yet, it’s true; people do have a slower pace and sense of delay when they are on the line. They are suspended in a unique urban condition – both a part of the City and removed from the City at the same time. I hope the magical sense of surprise and bewilderment that the site produces itself, along with the legible and deliberate elongated transitions embedded into the design – from streetside to topside, hard to soft, woodland to grassland, river to city – give people the opportunity to see the City in new and unexpected ways; the familiar and iconic side as well as the up close, textural, and backside of New York City.”
Like any respectable New York City park, the High Line has attracted its fair share of recurring characters (anyone have any video of Boba Fett playing video game songs on his accordion?), but none have been quite as popular as the “Renegade Cabaret” that has emerged from an apartment building adjacent to the Line at 20th Street. Patty (the emcee) and Elizabeth (the singer) have begun “exploiting the captive audience” on the High Line, treating the late night guests at the northern end of section 1 to some good old fashioned sing-song.
At around 10:10 this morning, I was informed that someone was about to propose to his girlfriend on the High Line. I arrived on site about ten minutes later, just in time to watch one of the most absurdly romantic scenes I’ve seen outside of Casablanca.
Gene proposed to his girlfriend Abby in the Chelsea Market Passage, surrounded by umbrellas, and accompanied by a single musician tugging at cello strings and heartstrings in the background. Hugging and kissing ensued, and judging by the pictures, it looks like the question was answered in the affirmative. Congratulations to Gene and Abby on their engagement, and for going down in history as the first marriage proposal on the High Line!
Anyone attempting something similarly romantic (or anything at all, really) should do so with the musical accompaniment of cellist Aminda Asher, whose Web site can be found here.