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.)

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