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The High Line

The Daily Plant : Tuesday, June 14, 2011

This Summer’s Blockbuster Is The High Line, Part II!


Photo by Daniel Avila

Last week, the second section of the High Line, a public park built 30 feet above the streets on a 1930s-era elevated freight rail line, opened to the public, doubling its length. After years of planning, design and construction, the High Line is now one mile long, running from Gansevoort Street to West 30th Street, connecting the Meatpacking District, West Chelsea, and Midtown West.

Running between West 20th and West 30th Streets, the new section of the High Line is one-half mile long. New access points are located at West 23rd Street, West 26th Street, West 28th Street, and West 30th Street, supplementing the five existing access points at Gansevoort Street, West 14th Street, West 16th Street, and West 18th Street, and West 20th Street. All access points will be open daily during the public park’s summer operating hours, from 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM. The High Line is fully wheelchair-accessible, with a new elevator located at West 30th Street, and another located at West 23rd Street and scheduled to open by the end of June, supplementing two existing elevators at West 14th Street and West 16th Street.

Traveling mid-block between 10th and 11th Avenues, the new section provides a new kind of urban experience, carrying visitors in close proximity to historic buildings and warehouses, and introducing unique views of the cityscape and architectural landmarks, including the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building, and the New Yorker Hotel. Like the highly-acclaimed first section of the High Line, the design of the new section is inspired by the wild, self-seeded landscape that grew up naturally on the High Line when the trains stopped running in 1980. The design retains the original railroad tracks from the industrial structure and restored steel elements including the High Line’s signature Art-Deco railings. An integrated system of concrete pathways, seating areas and special architectural features blend with naturalistic planting areas to create a singular landscape. The High Line design is a collaboration between James Corner Field Operations (Project Lead), Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and planting designer Piet Oudolf, with support from consultants in lighting design, structural engineering, and many other disciplines. The design team was selected through a competition held by the City of New York and Friends of the High Line in 2004.

In celebration of the opening of the new section of the High Line, Friends of the High Line has commissioned four new public art installations, and organized more than 100 public events for the summer season, including dance performances, poetry readings, family arts workshops, nature scavenger hunts for kids, salsa dancing, film screenings, and more. All public art and public events are free or low-cost, and open to New Yorkers and visitors alike. Highlights include:

• The Lot at 30th Street. A new temporary public plaza under and adjacent to the High Line will be open daily for the summer of 2011, thanks to the property owners, Related Companies and Abington Properties. The Lot features a rotating series of food trucks; an outdoor bar operated by Colicchio & Sons; free events; and family-friendly activities. Rainbow City, a large-scale art installation by the Miami-based artist FriendsWithYou and presented by AOL, will inaugurate The Lot in its first month.

• Five New High Line Art Commissions. The new section of the High Line includes a sculpture by artist Sarah Sze, and a sound art installation by artist Julianne Swartz. Later this week, the Trisha Brown Dance Company will perform on rooftops along the High Line, complementing a new rooftop sculpture installation by artist Kim Beck. Last week, Friends of the High Line unveiled artist Joel Sternfeld’s photographic installation on a 25-by-75 billboard at West 18th Street, the first in a series of installations this summer.

• Step to the High Line Festival. Organized C.H.A.O.S. and other youth step teams from public schools across the five boroughs will turn the High Line into their stage during a week-long festival between June 13 and June 18. Step is a form of creative expression that celebrates the teamwork and power of youth through synchronized stomping, clapping, and calling.

Friends of the High Line began advocating for the High Line’s reuse as public open space in 1999. In 2002, the Bloomberg Administration endorsed the project. The High Line structure south of 30th Street was donated to the City of New York by CSX Transportation, Inc., in November, 2005. Construction began on the transformation into a public park in 2006.


QUOTATION FOR THE DAY

“In a real dark night of the soul it is always
three o'clock in the morning, day after day.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald
(1896 - 1940)

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