Warehoused! New Historic District to Hug the High Line

 The handsomest factories and warehouses around the High Line got a kiss from the city on March 18, when the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) calendered a proposal for a new industrial historic district in West Chelsea.  When the LPC calendars a proposal, it has a high chance of being approved.  The hearing is scheduled for May 13.  Read the LPC’s statement about the district after the jump. 

Here’s a map of the district:

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[Click to enlarge. Courtesy NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission]

There are many people and groups who’ve helped make this happen, most notably New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who provided crucial leadership on this initiative, as she has done on so many other important projects in our neighborhood (including the High Line!).  State Senator Tom Duane also championed the effort, as did the Society of the Architecture of the City.  That said, the historic district was originally the brainchild of a longtime Chelsea resident and Community Board 4 member, Ed Kirkland.  Ed has been pushing for this historic district for years — it’s one of many ways this dedicated preservationist and tireless community activist has worked to ensure that the most valuable historic resources of our community are maintained.

We’re excited about this district, because it joins the High Line’s preservation in demonstrating the importance of preserving industrial architecture and infrastructure.  Some of the buildings in the district are among our favorites in the High Line neighborhood, including the Starrett-Lehigh Building, the New York Terminal Warehouse Company’s Central Stores, and many others.

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[The Otis Elevator Building, built in 1911-1912, is one of the buildings in the proposed West Chelsea Historic District.  Photo courtesy NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission.]

Other buildings in the proposed district include: the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company Freight Warehouse; the RC Williams Warehouse; the Cornell Iron Works, and the Reynolds Metal Company.

Read the LPC’s statement about the district after the jump. Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Awards Sweep for High Line Champion Amanda Burden

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It’s award season for Amanda Burden, Chair of the New York City Planning Commission  — and one of the High Line’s earliest, most passionate champions.  Earlier in February, we saw her glide up to the podium to accept a New York City Cititzens Committee award, presented by Charlie Rose (right photo, and check out New York Social Diary’s coverage).  And last week, at at Travel + Leisure’s Design Awards 2008, Nancy Novogrod (T+L editor-in-chief and High Line supporter) presented Amanda with the mag’s Design Champion award.  T+L ran a full-page photo (above, left) of Amanda on the High Line’s spectacular rail yards section (this part of the High Line still needs some saving — go to our Rail Yards Blog for more info.)  

 We’re happy to see Amanda recognized for her work.  Back when the Giuliani administration wanted to tear the High Line down, Amanda, then a member of the Planning Commission, testified personally about the need to save the structure at our first City Council hearing.  Then, when Mayor Bloomberg appointed her as Chair of the Planning Commission, Amanda oversaw the rezoning of West Chelsea, which included many provisions  that made the High Line’s preservation and transformation possible.

Sweet “No-Profit” Gallery Opens Near the High Line

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[Photo by Suzanne DeChillo, New York Times]

From the Times this weekend: A gallery has opened near the High Line that defies the current super-hot gallery market by operating as an egalitarian “no-profit” space for young and emerging artists. Honey Space is run by some artists themselves, and any revenues generated from the sale of art will be used to defray the costs of running the space.

Honey Space is operating in the ground floor of an out-of-use warehouse that is being provided free of charge by local developer and long-time FHL supporter Alf Naman.

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