Northern Spur Preserve: Ramp revealed!


 [View looking north at the Northern spur over 10th Avenue.]

Work is quickly progressing at the Northern spur, a horticultural preserve located on a portion of the High Line that juts across 10th Avenue, just north of Chelsea Market.  The landscape at the Northern spur is designed to recall the self-sown landscape that grew up on the High Line after the trains stopped running. The High Line’s landscape team planted over 7,500 native grasses and perennials in early November, before the soil froze.

Construction crews are now beginning to install non-slip, brushed-aluminum grating panels along a ramped structure that will provide access to and from the lower level. At the mid-point of the ramp, a cantilevered overlook will offer visitors views of both the preserve below them, and of the city beyond.


[Detail: A brushed-aluminum ramp provides a non-slip walking surface between the lower and upper levels of the High Line.]

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Standard Goes Back to School

standardThe folks over at the now open-ish Standard Hotel have gotten some of their sweetest eye-candy together for their annual Staff Calendar. Staff members from all Standard locations, Miami, Los Angeles, Hollywood and New York, are featured in campy spreads of sexed-up high school stereotypes (hell-oooo, Student Council!)

The calendar itself is a sweet little design, a kind of minimalist composition notebook that can stand up by itself on its stiff pages. Next year maybe Friends of the High Line will give them a run for their money!



Shop the Standard: 2009 Staff Calendar

Watch the YouTube Video

Rail Yards Update: CB4 and BP Stringer Call to Save the Spur

spur_smallThe support for the full preservation of the High Line at the rail yards continues to grow– Community Board 4 and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer have both added their voices to the call to save the spur.

At a recent full Board meeting, Community Board 4 made a clear statement advocating preservation of the entire High Line at the Eastern Rail Yards, including the spur over 10th Avenue.

In a letter addressed to the City Planning Commission, CB4 recommended approval of City Planning’s proposed text amendments to the zoning plan for the Eastern Rail Yards—but at the same time, they requested additional text amendments to ensure that the entire High Line would be protected.

CB4’s letter points out that though Related shows the entire High Line in its drawing for the site, “the brutal truth of the situation is that the High Line on the ERY and the WRY remains unprotected and at serious risk of demolition. Now is the time to put in place the zoning protections to ensure that the High Line will be preserved.”

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer’s zoning amendment recommendation to City Planning include an equally strong call to save the spur. In his letter to City Planning Chair Amanda Burden, he wrote, “Redeveloping the rail yards must not threaten any portion of the High Line, including the spur; it should be preserved in its entirety.”

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The High Line Without Us


[Image by Kenn Brown, Click to enlarge.]

In many post-apocalyptic (and often sub-par) films, the “end of the world” usually refers to the destruction of civilized life on planet Earth. As human life flickers out, the film ends and the credits roll. However, as Alan Weisman illustrates in his book The World Without Us, what popular film sees fit to refer to as the “end of the world” would actually be a renaissance of sorts for planet Earth. Using New York City as a guide, Weisman outlines much of what would likely occur in a world without us, using the High Line as an illustration. After the unnamed apocalyptic event,

The early pioneer plants won’t even have to wait for the pavement to fall apart. Starting from the mulch collecting in gutters, a layer of soil will start forming atop New York’s sterile hard shell, and seedlings will sprout. With far less organic material available to it-just windblown dust and urban soot-precisely that has happened in an abandoned elevated iron bed of the New York Central Railroad on Manhattan’s West Side. Since trains stopped running there in 1980, the inevitable ailanthus trees have been joined by a thickening ground cover of onion grass and fuzzy lamb’s ear, accented by strands of goldenrod. In some places, the track emerges from the second stories of warehouses it once serviced into lanes of wild crocuses, irises, evening primrose, asters, and Queen Anne’s lace. So many New Yorkers, glancing down from windows in Chelsea’s art district, were moved by the sight of this untended, flowering green ribbon, prophetically and swiftly laying claim to a dead slice of their city, that it was dubbed the High Line and officially designated a park.

Of course, the landscape of the High Line as a park will not technically be “without us” (though it would certainly help with maintenence costs!) However, this kind of self-seeded, found landscape was the exact inspiration for planting designer Piet Oudolf’s selection and arrangement of plant species. More on that here.

Check out Weisman’s website here, and be sure to check out the endlessly fun Google Earth tours.

Standard Hotel is (softly) open

standard hotel
  [View of the Standard Hotel from the High Line at Gansevoort Street]

The new Standard Hotel that bridges over the High Line at Little West 12th Street has recently opened its doors for a soft opening.  While the club, lounge, restaurant, and bars are still very much under construction, ten floors of guest rooms are currently open.  And I quote: “We’ll put up with your banging if you’ll put up with ours…”

We hear that the rooms are gorgeous — and who can hate the view?  Current rates range in price from $195 for a room with a Queen-size bed to $495 for a suite.  See Gothamist for more info and a great slideshow.

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.

A Surreal View From the High Line

Today brought one of the strangest views from the High Line yet: A few of us were up on the site this afternoon to see how it was faring in the frigid weather, when we caught a chilling glimpse of the US Airways plane that crashed into the icy Hudson today. (Amazingly, even in the sub-freezing temperatures, there are no fatalities reported.)

Emergency vehicles– on the land, in the air and in the river– swarmed around the mostly-submerged plane, which by that time had been evacuated of all passengers and crew. While we watched, tugboats were able to pull the waterlogged jet’s nose and one of its wings above the freezing river.


[More photos after the jump.]

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