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

sternfeldsmall1

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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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!

I Sketched the High Line

… And so can you! There are still a few spots remaining for the remaining Sketching the High Line classes with artist Ann DeVere.

Last Saturday was the first class, and it was a really wonderful experience. Ann led us through a series of warm-up exercises to get our creative juices flowing, and then we sat for few longer sketches, observing and recording the unique viewpoint we had of the High Line and its surroundings.

Don’t miss this great opportunity!

There are spaces available for the following dates: May 10, May 17, and May 31; click here to sign up. All classes begin at 11 am and end at 12:30 pm. These classes are identical, so registration is only permitted for one class. Members receive a discount; click here for more information about becoming a member. More photos after the jump.

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Don’t Miss Your Chance to Sketch the High Line

There are just a few spots left for our weekend sketching classes on the rail yards section of the High Line this month!  The classes will be led by fantastic artist and printmaker Ann deVere, and all art supplies will be provided.  No innate drawing talent or prior experience is required.  Ann started giving these classes a few years ago at Wave Hill, and developed a huge following, so we feel very lucky to have her on board.  This is a rare opportunity to visit the High Line, so grab your spot now!

Saturday May 3, 10, 17, and 31 (please choose only one)
11:00-12:30PM
$25 Members
$50 Non-Members

RSVP for exact meeting location.

Whitney Designs Revealed

[The view looking north; from left to right, the Hudson River, the West Side Highway, and the Whitney, with the massing concentrated West, stepping down from 170 feet to 50 feet, above the High Line. Courtesy of Renzo Piano Building Workshop and Cooper, Robertson & Partners.]

Tonight the Whitney made public for the first time its preliminary drawings for a new museum at Gansevoort and Washington Streets, right next to the High Line’s southern terminus in the Meatpacking District.

Whitney Director Adam Weinberg presented Renzo Piano’s plans, calling the new facility a “return to the Whitney’s downtown roots.” The original Whitney was on West 8th Street in the Village, the site of the current Studio School. We might add that its location right on the High Line also creates a nice art context– a literal connection to the galleries of Chelsea.

The new museum will provide 185,000 square feet of space, almost doubling the current floorspace of the Madison Avenue location, and offering an opportunity for the Whitney to showcase its permanent collection. It will also house a block-long special exhibition gallery, a theater and performance space, an indoor-outdoor restaurant, several sculpture terraces, and education facilities integrated into the galleries themselves.

Architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff of the New York Times is optimistic about the direction the design is headed, even going so far as to say that Renzo Piano’s design has “created a contemplative sanctuary where art reasserts its primary place in the cultural hierarchy.”

Logistically speaking, the new Whitney is important to the High Line in another way. Because the site is currently City-owned, it offers a rare opportunity for a much-needed Maintenance and Operations facility for the High Line. The new facility will be part of the easement of the Whitney, and is also being designed by Renzo Piano, but there will be no direct connection between it and the museum proper, and the M&O facility will be autonomously run by the Parks Department. The M&O facility will offer public restrooms, an elevator, and meeting rooms for community groups, as well as a home base for for landscaping, maintenance and security staff and equipment. If all goes according to plan, Friends of the High Line will also have offices there.

Right now, the High Line is scheduled to open 3 to 4 years before the Whitney, so in the meantime, our M&O facility will be a series of trailers on the High Line construction site itself. From what we saw of the Whitney’s plans tonight, though, it will be worth the wait.

Whitney’s Downtown Sanctuary [New York Times]


Tuesday, May 6: Artist Talk With Spencer Finch


[Rendering of Spencer Finch's installation on the HIgh Line inside the Chelsea Market Space.]

Artist Spencer Finch will discuss plans for the public art work he’s mounting on the High Line at a FREE public lecture next week.  The piece, called “The River the Flows Both Ways,” will be installed where the High Line goes through Chelsea Market, and is made of 720 pieces of colored glass based on light conditions Spencer observed on the Hudson River.  It’s set to open along with the rest of Section 1 of the High Line by the end of the year.  Spencer will also be discussing some of his other projects.

Spencer Finch Lecture
Tuesday, May 6
Cedar Lake Theater
547 West 26th Street
(Between 10th and 11th Avenues)
6:30-8:00PM
FREE

RSVP for Spencer’s Talk


[Spencer Finch's "Sunset," (South Texas, 6/21/03), Fluorescent lights, filters.]

 

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