NYT Most-emailed: The High Line’s “small town in the air”

New York Times: July 22, 2009

Today, a new accolade! For the first time, an article about the High Line made it to the “most-emailed” list on the New York Times web site.

The article, called “The High Line: A Railway Out of Manhattan”, captures the special atmosphere up on the line– “almost a small town in the air… It even inspires crusty New Yorkers to behave as if they were strolling down Main Street.”

As a park visitor explained in the article:  “Here people tend to be more friendly… Those same people, you might see them someplace else and, you know,” she broke off, raising her eyebrows, “they’re kind of stressed.”

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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.

NYT’s ‘Public Lives’ on FHL Co-Founders

[Robert Hammond, left, and Josh David on the High Line. Photo by Oscar Hidalgo for the Times.]

Today’s New York Times Metro section featured a profile of Co-Founders Robert Hammond and Josh David in the “Public Lives” column.

On the 1999 Community Board meeting where the two met, and first learned about the High Line:

ALTHOUGH neither had previously experienced a deep emotional or aesthetic connection to the structure — or, to be honest, any connection at all — the notion of it being eliminated from the cityscape in the interest of cookie-cutter development had struck them as heretical. Shortsighted, too.

“I fell in love with the very thing most people were complaining about, this rusty eyesore from the city’s industrial past,” says Mr. Hammond. “I saw this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to preserve a mile and a half of Manhattan as an uninterrupted walkway and vantage point for people to enjoy on their own terms.”

Hitting Close to Home

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[Image from the Onion]

3′-By-4′ Plot Of Green Space Rejuvenates Neighborhood: This article from the Onion  pretty much nails it.

The green space, a rectangular patch of crabgrass located on a busy median divider, has by all accounts turned what was once a rundown community into a thriving, picturesque oasis, filled with charming shops, luxury condominiums, and, for the first time ever, hope.

Yosemite it’s not, but we do what we can.

News Roundup February 1-7

The January 28 MTA letter to developers generated a bunch of speculation on what the new guidelines will mean for developers, and it’s been a busy week for the various other developments around the Yards.

And in developer news,

“Brown is also a color”: Planting Designer Piet Oudolf Accepts Death

oudolf.jpg

The New York Times ran a weekend profile on Dutch planting designer Piet Oudolf, who is now at work on plans for the High Line. The Home & Garden piece paints Piet as somewhat of a revolutionary in his holisitic approach to plant life cycle. He claims,“The skeletons of the plants are for me as important as the flowers,” and picks plant species for their structural integrity, even in the leafless dead of winter.

The garden of Piet’s farm house in Hummelo, in the Dutch countryside, is the designer’s laboratory. Pictures of Hummelo can be seen here (PDF), taken from a presentation Piet gave to Friends of the High Line last year.

James Corner, the principal of Field Operations, who’s working with Piet on the landscape design for the High Line, said, “He’s like a really good chef. He knows his ingredients in a much deeper way than an amateur. He’s a master of the medium.”

Looking out over his perennial meadow, Mr. Oudolf articulated it this way: “You look at this, and it goes deeper than what you see. It reminds you of something in the genes — nature, or the longing for nature.” Allowing the garden to decompose, he added, meets an emotional need in people.

“You accept death. You don’t take the plants out, because they still look good. And brown is also a color.”

A Landscape in Winter, Dying Heroically (New York Times)

Slide Show: Artfully Planned Decay (New York Times)

Piet’s Web Site, with a 360 degree panorama of Hummelo

Piet has also written three fantastic books with beautiful photographs. The most recent is called Planting Design: Gardens in Time and Space. (Amazon)

High Line Video on Open House NYC

The NBC real estate show Open House NYC covered the High Line’s transformation in a segment on its Sunday morning broadcast. It features co-Founder Robert Hammond and City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden. (A 15-second ad plays before the video.)

Rail Yards Press Flurry

Yesterday’s MTA Rail Yards bid release sent the real-estate beat reeling with grand schemes and otherworldly renderings for Manhattan’s largest development site.

Read our new Rail Yards Blog for more.

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.

It’s One El of a Park

The New York Post ran a two-page spread on the High Line yesterday. The feature focused on the High Line’s impact on the neighborhood:

“The High Line’s presence, with its cutting-edge landscape design, alongside a bevy of art galleries has also attracted some of the world’s most recognized architects, turning the neighborhood into an enclave of state-of-the-art building design dubbed ‘Architects Row.’

Design for Section 1 (Gansevoort to 20th Street), was also covered, including the first public view of a design feature called the Tenth Avenue Square:

10th avenue square

“Park visitors will be able to descend into the structure, into what will be called the 10th Avenue Square, and look out, giving them a sense of being suspended over the avenue near 17th Street.”

Last, the article touched on the uncertain future of the High Line at the West Side Rail Yards, which reporter Tom Topousis has reported on before.

 

It’s One El of a Park

Decks, Marshes and Trees Set for High Line

A ‘rail’ Effort to Preserve the Past

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