Profile: Larry Lerner

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The movement to save the High Line started as a grassroots operation, localized in Chelsea and the Meatpacking District.  From the very early days, the neighborhood newspapers of Community Media (The Villager, Gay City News, Downtown Express, and later, Chelsea Now) have carried some of the best coverage of the project.

Chelsea Now was launched in 2006 to focus exclusively on the recently-rezoned and rapidly-changing neighborhood. Larry Lerner was hired as a reporter for the paper and quickly promoted to Associate Editor. (Community Media’s Associate Editors are its papers top editors). During his time at Chelsea Now, in addition to many, many other valuable Chelsea stories, Larry wrote some of our favorite High Line articles. (He also took some compelling photographs.)

Larry was the first journalist to note the High Line’s threatened status at the Rail Yards. In December, the paper carried an extensive interview with Robert Hammond about the Rail Yards, and a forceful editorial making the case for the High Line at the Rail Yards.

He’s also covered many of our public programs, including the High Line Cell Phone Tour.

A more complete list of Larry’s articles for Chelsea Now can be seen here.

Along with two other editors and a creative director, Larry was laid off in late January. I sat down with him briefly to chat about his time at Chelsea Now, and what’s coming up next. Our conversation is after the jump.

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News Roundup January 7-14, 2008

The Times reports that ad firm Ogilvy-Mather plans to take over a building at 11th Avenue & 47th Street, making them pioneers on the Far West side. Though, it must be noted, their building is not really all *that* close to the Rail Yards site.

Andrew Berman (he of many community activist organizations) takes out the big guns for the current status of the planning process in Chelsea Now – making a number of excellent points in the process.

Crain’s notes the HYCAC’s open letter, giving special attention to the organization’s implicit support for the Brookfield site plan.

The New York Observer’s real estate blog suggests that Merrill Lynch’s decision to renew its lease on current offices at the World Financial Center (owned and administered by Brookfield Properties) could potentially work in favor of the Brookfield plan… although the suggestion that Brookfield could conceivably talk Merrill into becoming the anchor tenant they currently lack seems unfounded at this juncture.

And, to file under “Old but worthy:” Stephen Holl discusses his strategies to make the Extell plan “9/11 proof” in New York’s Daily Intelligencer.

Weekly News Roundup, December 11-18

  • Related Companies announces a $1.4 Billion investment by firms including Goldman Sachs and MSD Capital. While the firm’s release remarks that this news does not impact any of their current plans, including their West Side Rail Yards redevelopment proposal, the timing of their announcement is certainly convenient. The Times reports on this here.
  • Gothamist also picked up on the Crain’s story from yesterday, emphasizing the irony that the two developments that seem to have gotten the most public support so far in the review process (Brookfield and Extell) appear to be on the early chopping block due to their lack of anchor tenants.
  • New York’s Daily Intelligencer created a rather nifty grid detailing the various projects that outgoing economic-development mayor Dan Doctoroff is leaving in the lurch, including the extension of the No. 7 line to 11th Avenue and 33rd Street (described by many as a project that “must happen” in order for West Side Rail Yards redevelopment to proceed). They deem the prognosis good.
  • Another nearby project that will help create the vaunted West Side of the future is the long-discussed, little-developed Moynihan Station project, which seems to be picking up some steam with the Empire State Development Corporation’s adoption of a Related/Vornado partnership to implement the plan. Chelsea Now reports on a recent scoping hearing on this project here.

Media Round Up, December 3-10

Chelsea Now/Villager Editorial on the High Line at the Rail Yards

This week’s issue of Chelsea Now features an editorial making the case for preserving the entire High Line at the rail yards. The Villager also ran the editorial.

The piece focuses on the High Line’s ability to add value to the site by increasing the value of the surrounding real estate, drawing tourists to the area, serving as an invaluable connector to three West Side neighborhoods, and lending some historic context to the site.

Now that the Hudson Yards bids are in, over the next few months Chelsea Now will deal with key aspects of the proposals, starting with this week’s Q&A on the northern section of the High Line.

 The High Line is a critical component of the Hudson Yards redevelopment project. Even the developers think so: The majority of them are supporting retention of the northern section of the High Line in their bids.

 The High Line makes good economic sense, as borne out already in Chelsea, where real estate values have appreciated considerably in part because of the elevated rail line’s renaissance, and star architects have flocked to build innovative structures nearby.

Read the entire editorial after the jump. Continue reading

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