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.

From Rinses to Retail, Chelsea Car Wash Makes its Exit

[The Chelsea Car Wash at West 14th Street & 10th Avenue, before the sign was taken down.]

As many Chelsea dwellers, West Side Highway & Hudson River Park commuters, taxi drivers, and car wash enthusiasts may have noticed, the distinctive red Chelsea Car Wash sign has disappeared. It was removed from where it was attached to the High Line about a month ago with little fanfare.

In the coming months, the Car Wash– one of the characteristic staples of the working West Side–will close its garage doors to make way for a new retail location on the corner of West 14th Street and 10th Avenue.

[Design and renderings by Richard Lanka & Associates, for a new retail location, developed by the Milk Group with Robert K. Futterman.]

There’s currently no tenant booked, but in the next year or so, the Milk Group (as in Milk Studios, next door), aims to find a design, fashion, or other retail tenant for this 40,000-square-foot space directly underneath the High Line. Renderings from their sales office show wrap-around windows in Car Wash-like glass. There’s also apparently a subterranean level for more retail.

More design renderings, and facts about the neighborhood– from the sales brochure–after the jump.

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Christine Quinn’s Fighting Words on Javits High Line Block

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[Photo: William Alatriste]

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn delivered a rousing State of the City address (PDF) yesterday.  It included a promise to “fight any shortsighted effort” by the State to sell two sites adjacent to the Jacob Javits Convention Center until a compelling plan for Javits expansion or replacement is made.  One of the sites: the northermost High Line block, from 33rd to 34th Street. 

 The State previously said it intended to sell this site, as well as the 39th – 40th Street block, to fund housing and transportation initiatives.  Friends of the High Line’s views this site as an integral part of the larger discussion of the development of the rail yards.  And if the 33-34 site is sold for development, accommodation must be made for the existing High Line structure and/or its easement.

The State immediately issued a statement supporting its position, as reported by the New York Observer. Speaker Quinn has been a leading supporter of the High Line project since 1999, and she is an outspoken supporter of our efforts to preserve the High Line at the rail yards.

MTA Makes West Side Rail Yards Bids Public

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Yesterday, the MTA revealed to the public the five developer bids for the West Side Rail Yards. There will be a 2-week period of public input, and then a committee of representatives from the MTA and the Hudson Yards Development Corporation will make a recommendation to the MTA’s Board.

The northern 1/3 of the High Line runs through the Rail Yards site. Three of the five development proposals (Brookfield Properties, The Related Companies, and Extell Development Corporation) preserve it fully.

Tishman Speyer preserves part of the High Line but demolishes the spur over Tenth Avenue and part of the section along 30th Street.

Vornado Realty Trust and the Durst Organization tears down most of the High Line at the Rail Yards, replacing it with a futuristic aerial walkway called the “skyline”.

No matter which Rail Yards proposal is selected by the MTA, these plans will certainly change later in the process, so even the proposals calling for full preservation of the High Line could end up partially demolishing it. And as the New York Sun points out, the MTA has not released any of the financials.

Read FHL’s E-Newsletter about the public release.

And CB4 has some background on the Rail Yards site.

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