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.

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.

Planting on the High Line!

High Line grasses and perennials arrived onsite at 6am this morning. Friends of the High Line Deputy Director of Horticulture Melissa Fisher is working on the installation of the plants along with the High Line construction and landscape team including: SiteWorks, Kelco Landscaping, Inc., The Plant Group, planting designer Piet Oudolf, and landscape architects Field Operations.

[Grasses and perennials arrived on site at 6am this morning. Once unloaded, all plants were sorted, counted, and prepped for topside installation.]

[Plants are craned up to High Line level for unloading.]

[Equipment is brought up to High Line level for use by the plant installation team.]

[Planting designer Piet Oudolf’s signature planting layout was inscribed into the soil and numbered. Sorted plants are located according to a detailed map.]

[Perennials are placed in-between reinstalled rail tracks.]

Subsoil Delivery

[A mound of subsoil has been deposited in the future planting bed, and spread under the re-installed railroad tracks. Click all photos to enlarge.]

In preparation for the arrival of plants later this fall, a layer of subsoil has just been delivered to the High Line above 19th Street. This soil, part of the High Line’s layered Living Roof system, will serve as a base for the topsoil in which plants will eventually grow. Subsoil is coarser and typically contains more clay than the finer, more nutrient-rich topsoil.

Once both layers of soil are in place in the planting beds, they will be covered over to keep them from blowing away before plants are ready.

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Photo of the Week: Heat Wave!

[Photo by the endlessly talented Tim Schenck]

It’s ridiculously hot today. Of course, on the High Line construction site, that just means things are a little sexier than usual.

Earlier: David Beckham Bares All for the High Line

Site Photography: Planking Installation

Timothy Schenck, on our engineering team, has taken some beautiful site photos throughout the construction process.

More after the jump.

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Movable Chaise Lounge Mock-up Arrives!

[Members of the construction, design, and client teams meet to review the lounge chair mock-up.]

One of the most exciting furniture pieces on the High Line will be movable chaise lounge chairs located at the Sundeck between West 14th and 15th Streets. These lounge chairs will sit on the original rail tracks, mounted on new wooden ties, and can be rolled into place or set with brakes.

Unobstructed views of the Hudson River will make this one of the most desirable areas to visit on the High Line. 

This mock-up arrived last week and is installed near the Gansevoort end.

 

[Detail of wheel sitting on the rail track.]

More photos after the jump.

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