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NYguy Apr 17, 2008 1:27 PM

Offices Put High Above the High Line

Morris Admji, left, and Charles Blaichman at 14th Street project.

A rendering of the tower.

April 16, 2008

In the trendy meatpacking district, an office tower used to be as rare a sighting as a fanny pack. But the area, a 20-square block playground of boutiques, bistros and luxury apartments in Manhattan, is starting to attract new corporate tenants.

Indeed, in a neighborhood where the clip-clop of stilettos has replaced the scrape of a meat hook on a cable, one new building, at 450 West 14th Street, is being built on a distinctive site imbued with slaughterhouse and sleekly modern characteristics.

Designed by the architect Morris Adjmi, a 10-story glass tower is under construction on top of a former meatpacking plant, a three-story buff brick building where cattle carcasses were delivered by rail and processed for consumption. The 22,000-square-foot plant sits atop the High Line, the former elevated train track that is being redeveloped as an urban park. The High Line runs 103 feet through the building, which will have a staircase and elevator for access to the track. “Morris combined the historic significance of the building and also captured the essence of history in the meatpacking district,” said Charles Blaichman, the principal developer of the project.

The meatpacking district, which sits between 15th and Horatio Streets on the West Side, originated in 1884, when the city set aside a two-acre parcel for food stalls. It was named the Gansevoort Market, for Gen. Peter Gansevoort, who was a Revolutionary War hero and grandfather of Herman Melville, according to the Meatpacking District Initiative, a nonprofit business development organization.

Mr. Blaichman’s office building is expected to have full-floor tenants. It is set amid a landscape that includes some 50 nightclubs and restaurants. He said he hoped that certain kinds of companies would appreciate being part of that mix. These might be financial firms or advertising agencies, he said, or “whoever wants to work in an interesting neighborhood.”

While it has a particularly striking design, the West 14th Street project is not the only office building under construction in the meatpacking district. The event planner Robert Isabell is erecting an 80,000-square-foot building behind the restaurant Pastis that will span the full width of the block between West 13th Street and Little West 12th Street. The prospective annual rent in that building is $100 to $175 a square foot, depending on the floor, said the leasing agent, Matthew R. Bergey, a broker with CB Richard Ellis. There will be ground floor retail space and offices above.

Offices are beginning to sprout in the area because “people want to work where they live,” Mr. Bergey said. He said that the trend began when Paul Tudor Jones of the Tudor Investment Corporation leased 10,000 square feet of office space above the Apple store at 401 West 14th Street.

“There’s a lot of high-net-worth individuals running around, and they want high-end space to work in,” said Mr. Bergey, who specializes in leases of office space in Chelsea, the meatpacking district and the West Village.

When finished about 14 months from now, Mr. Blaichman’s building will have 100,000 square feet of office space to lease for $100 to $125 a square foot annually as well as 8,000 square feet of retail space at $400 a square foot, Mr. Adjmi said. The project is expected to cost about $55 million.

Two retail stores will occupy the ground floor of 450 West 14th Street. Interest has been expressed by high-end fashion retailers, Mr. Blaichman said. The tenants will be half a block away from the Diane Von Furstenberg store at 874 Washington Street. Ms. Furstenberg’s son, Alex, is a partner with Mr. Blaichman in the 450 West 14th Street project. Mal Serure, is the third partner.

Other retailers in the neighborhood include the clothing boutiques Trina Turk on Gansevoort Street and Maison Martin Margiela on Greenwich Street.

Restaurants like Pastis and Spice Market and hotels like the Gansevoort and Soho House have drawn tourists to the area.

Two blocks away from Mr. Blaichman’s project is the Caledonia, the first high-end residential tower to be built on the High Line. Its developers are the Related Companies and Taconic Investment Partners.

As for the office space in his new building, Mr. Blaichman said, the fifth and sixth floor have been spoken for by a fashion retailer, whom Mr. Blaichman declined to identify because the deal had not been completed. The sweeping views from the upper floors will include the Hudson River, the Marine Aviation Terminal Pier and the Standard, an André Balazs hotel.

The building will address environmental concerns, being constructed with some sustainable materials in an energy-efficient manner, said Mr. Adjmi, whose works includes the new Prudential Center area in downtown Newark. Mr. Blaichman, 54, was a developer of the Urban Glass House, a condominium on Spring Street in Lower Manhattan that was the last commission of the architect Philip Johnson, who died in 2005 at age 98, with interiors designed by Annabelle Selldorf.

In the early 1990s, Mr. Blaichman, whose father, Frank, develops hotels and residential projects in New Jersey, worked primarily on town house and loft restorations, including the rehabilitation of a space once owned by Bob Dylan for the Italian painter Francesco Clemente.

In building 450 West 14th Street, Mr. Blaichman, who has developed property in the meatpacking district for a decade, sought to retain the original character of the location.

“There’s an attractive vibrancy here of art, fashion, food and design,” he said. “It’s a commercial jewel.”


NYC2ATX Apr 18, 2008 1:26 AM

It just keeps getting better and better...

:worship: :worship: :worship: :worship: :worship:

:eeekk: ......convulsions......convulsions.....:hyper: ..........:hyper: .....:hyper: :hyper: :hyper:

NYguy May 1, 2008 3:59 AM

Whitney’s Downtown Sanctuary

May 1, 2008

Optimism is in the air again at the Whitney Museum of American Art, which has just released a preliminary design by the Italian architect Renzo Piano for its proposed satellite museum downtown.

For more than 20 years the Whitney has been unveiling sunny expansion plans for its Marcel Breuer home on Madison Avenue, only to have them crash against the reality of neighborhood politics. With its decision to build a second museum in the meatpacking district, the Whitney seems to have found its bearings.

Mr. Piano’s project for a site on Gansevoort Street, west of Washington Street, is a striking departure from the ethereal glass creations that have made him a favorite of the art-world cognoscenti. Its bold chiseled form won’t appeal to those who prefer architecture to be unobtrusive.

Rising among the derelict warehouses and hip boutiques of the rapidly changing neighborhood, the museum’s monumental exterior forms are conceived as a barrier against the area’s increasingly amusement-park atmosphere.
It makes a powerful statement about the encroaching effects of the global consumer society. Inside, Mr. Piano has created a contemplative sanctuary where art reasserts its primary place in the cultural hierarchy.

The feat is especially impressive given the obstacles Mr. Piano and the Whitney have overcome. After they spent years refining a proposed addition to the Breuer building, the museum abandoned that plan in 2006 (the third time that the museum had pulled out after commissioning a noted architect to design a major expansion). Then the idea of a satellite downtown raised concerns that the Whitney would abandon its Breuer building or that it could not afford to run two museums.

In a recent interview Adam Weinberg, the Whitney’s director, said the curators had yet to define the relationship between the two buildings. (One possibility is that the Breuer building will be used for exhibitions that focus on one aspect of the collection or a single artist, with the core of the collection relocated downtown.)

Mr. Piano’s design is certainly distinct from Breuer’s, presenting a strange, even forbidding aura. The building’s faceted surface seems hewed from a massive block of stone. Its main facade is slightly angled to make room for a small public plaza. The roof steps down in a series of big terraces on one side; on the other, it forms an impenetrable block facing the West Side Highway.

But as you study the form more intently, more layered meanings emerge. The stepped roof, for example, both supports a series of outdoor sculpture gardens and allows sunlight to spill down onto the High Line, the elevated rail bed that is being converted into a public garden. The angle of the facade allows people walking along the High Line to catch glimpses of the Hudson River down Gansevoort Street.

The feeling of a structure being carved apart to facilitate the flow of light and movement is magnified at ground level. Part of the structure rests on a glass base that houses a bookstore and cafe, so that you feel the full weight of the building bearing down. The underbelly of the building tilts up at one end, providing shade for the plaza and adding a sense of compression as you approach the entry.

This experience abruptly changes as you cross the threshold, for a window at the back of the lobby opens onto a view of the water and the height of the lobby space suddenly lets you breathe again. From there elevators whisk you up to the auditorium, library and galleries.

The new museum will have 50,000 square feet of gallery space, compared with 32,000 uptown. The third-floor gallery, at 17,500 square feet, will be the largest column-free space for viewing art in Manhattan, Mr. Weinberg said.

Mr. Piano plans to use a weblike structure of delicate steel, glass and fabric scrims for the roof on the top-floor gallery: the kind of intricate lighting system he has created before, in projects like the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas. Because the galleries are on multiple levels, visitors can experience the drama of climbing from darkness into light as they proceed through the floors.

The contrast between the muscularity of the exterior and the refinement of the interior brings to mind other recent designs, including Rem Koolhaas’s Casa da Musica in Porto, Portugal, and Rafael Moneo’s Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles. Each of these projects offer an enclave conceived as a refuge from the world outside.

But in this case Mr. Piano is also offering a gentle critique of Breuer’s fortresslike vision for the Whitney. Like Breuer’s 1966 design, Mr. Piano’s building is a temple to culture; but here the relationship between inside and out — high art and the marketplace — is more fluid.

The design is preliminary, and needs more work. The weblike roof system, for example, is nothing more than a concept at this point. Mr. Piano is toying with the notion of bringing daylight into the lower-floor galleries — as the Sanaa design did for the recently opened New Museum on the Bowery — which is possible here because of the terraced roof.

Just as important to the outcome of the design, however, is Mr. Piano’s approach to New York’s evolving cultural scene. He and Mr. Weinberg refer to the downtown site as a return to the museum’s roots, because Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney’s original museum opened on West Eighth Street. But unlike 1930s Greenwich Village, the meatpacking district is more shopping mall than vibrant art scene. So one of Mr. Piano’s most delicate tasks will be to balance a spirit of openness with an instinct for self-preservation.

He has wisely decided not to link the building directly to the High Line, forcing visitors to climb down to street level before entering the museum across the plaza. Yet other key issues are less resolved. The building’s chiseled aesthetic could be pushed a bit further, becoming more animated. The relationship between the lobby and the upper floors is still clunky.

And there is the issue of material. At a meeting last month Mr. Piano, who often uses the metaphor of a ship in dry dock when talking about the satellite museum, said he was leaning toward a steel frame structure covered in welded steel plates, an idea that may be a holdover from his abandoned design for the uptown expansion. But the massive form of the downtown design suggests a building drawn from a single block rather than one built of individual structural pieces.

That image would probably be strengthened by cladding the building in a stone compound. A concrete exterior could also form a psychological bridge between the new museum and the Breuer building, making a trip downtown feel more like a homecoming.

Mr. Piano certainly has the skill to resolve these issues. Meanwhile he has laid the groundwork for a serious work of architecture. The bold form expresses a level of experimental courage that he hasn’t shown in years. It represents his willingness to move forward without betraying his faith in historical continuity. This is a building that could revive the Whitney, and inject welcome creative energy into the city’s cultural life.

NYguy May 1, 2008 4:10 AM

Celebrating 75 years:
Newspaper was there at High Line’s birth and now its rebirth

By Albert Amateau

Since 1850, street-level railroad tracks ran down Manhattan’s West Side. Fatal accidents between freight trains and street-level traffic gave 10th Ave. the nickname of “Death Ave.” So a speed limit was established, and for safety, “West Side Cowboys,” men on horses waving red flags or lanterns at night, preceded the trains.

In 1929, after years of debate, the city and state signed an agreement with the New York Central Railroad for The West Side Improvement Project, which included the High Line, a rail viaduct 18 feet to 30 feet above grade between 35th St. and the St. John’s Terminal building at Spring St.

The elevated rail line was completed in 1934.

“Tracks Gone from Death Avenue,” proclaimed The Villager page 1 headline on July 5, 1934. “Famous pony express outrider vanishes from the scene,” the article said. The railroad tracks previously at street level were replaced the week before when Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia traveled the length of the $300 million viaduct.

In the Oct. 18, 1934, issue of The Villager, an article noted that the elevated tracks went through the buildings of the National Biscuit Company, the Cudahy Packing Company and the Bell Telephone Laboratory at Bethune St. (now Westbeth) and Armour, Wilson, Swift, Borden’s and the New York Dressed Poultry Terminal in the Meatpacking District.

But the nation’s transportation system went from rails to roads after World War II. By 1962, the High Line south of Houston St. was demolished and The Villager wrote about a proposal to convert the viaduct into a truck express roadway. The scheme was “a dead duck” when it was declared illegal.

In 1980, The Villager noted that the last train on the High Line carried a load of frozen turkeys.

In the mid-1980s a group of owners of property under the High Line began to demolish the remnant of the High Line. But a railroad enthusiast, Peter Obletz, acquired a title to the line from Conrail, the then owner, for $1. Obletz, who was chronicled in The Villager, became a member of Community Board 4 and envisaged a return to railroad use, and failing that, the creation of an elevated park.

In 1992, the stretch of the High Line that ran through the Village between Houston and Horatio Sts. was taken down to make way for residential development.

In 1999, The Villager began following the story of Friends of the High Line and its founders, Josh David and Robert Hammond, who were advocating for converting the viaduct into an elevated park.

The idea, derided as fantasy at first, soon caught on and Mayor Bloomberg made it the centerpiece of a new West Side with a 1.5-mile-long park in the sky. Work began in April 2006 and the first half of the park, between Gansevoort and W. 20th Sts. is scheduled to open by the end of this year.

Bigtime May 1, 2008 9:48 PM

Wow, just wow!

I was in New York for the first time back in the summer of '05. I remember seeing the conceptual plans for all this at the MOMA I think. I thought it would be such an amazing project.

How did I not stumble onto this thread sooner? This looks amazing! :tup:

I loved my one visit to New York and have always thought about a trip back sooner rather than later, perhaps I should wait until some of this is completed to really sweeten that trip!

In Calgary we have a set of rail lines running right through our CBD and 'beltline' district. A lot of us Calgary forumers dream of the day when the rail is relocated and we could open up that space to parks and projects like this.

NYguy May 2, 2008 5:07 AM


Originally Posted by Bigtime (Post 3524068)
I loved my one visit to New York and have always thought about a trip back sooner rather than later, perhaps I should wait until some of this is completed to really sweeten that trip!

The first segment of the High Line Park is supposed to open this year, and I'm already there...:yes:

NYC2ATX May 2, 2008 8:31 AM


Originally Posted by NYguy (Post 3525002)
The first segment of the High Line Park is supposed to open this year, and I'm already there...:yes:

Me too! High Line opening party! We should do it.

NYGuy, your updates on the New York threads in the G.D. forum make me so excited when they appear. Keep it comin'! :tup:

NYguy May 2, 2008 1:57 PM


Originally Posted by StatenIslander237 (Post 3525198)
Me too! High Line opening party! We should do it.

NYGuy, your updates on the New York threads in the G.D. forum make me so excited when they appear. Keep it comin'! :tup:

Yeah, I try to keep up. But there's so much going on that it can be difficult.

Sandy Jun 1, 2008 1:10 PM



NYguy Jun 17, 2008 10:57 PM

The HL23 exhibit opened at the Museum of the City of New York...

Some images from AP...

NYguy Jun 23, 2008 12:37 PM

JUNE 20, 2008

The Standard Hotel...

NYC4Life Jun 25, 2008 11:52 PM

Updated On 06/25/08 at 06:22PM

New High Line renderings revealed

New renderings of the High Line were unveiled by the city today, showing new features, notably a sundeck with half an inch of running water. The renderings are the first to be released since the originals came out back in 2005. The park's first phase, which runs from Gansevoort Street to 20th Street, is set to open by the end of this year. The second phase, which runs from 20th Street and to 30th Street, is slated to open by the end of 2009. Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro were the design team selected for the project after an international competition in 2004. The project, which will redevelop abandoned elevated railroad structures, has accelerated a residential boom on the far West Side. TRD

NYguy Jun 26, 2008 4:29 AM

City Unveils Final Plan on First Slice of the High Line

June 26, 2008

City officials and the Friends of the High Line presented the final design on Wednesday for the first phase of the High Line, the $170 million park that is under construction on the West Side of Manhattan and has been called one of New York City’s more distinctive public projects.

The park, modeled loosely on the Promenade Plantée in Paris, is being built on a 1.45-mile elevated freight rail structure that stretches 22 blocks, from Gansevoort Street to 34th Street, near the Hudson River. The rail structure, built to support two fully loaded freight trains, was built from 1929 to 1934 when the West Side was a freight-transportation hub, but has been unused for decades. The tracks are 30 to 60 feet wide and 18 to 30 feet above the ground.

Ground was broken in April 2006. Over the past two years, crews have been constructing the first, $85 million segment of the 6.7-acre park, which is estimated to cost $170 million and is financed by federal, city and private money.

At a news conference in Chelsea, officials unveiled two sets of final designs: for the first phase, which will stretch from Gansevoort Street to 20th Street and be completed by the end of this year, and for the second phase, which will go from 20th Street to 30th Street and be completed by the end of 2009.

“The High Line will be like other parks in our city’s system, but it will also be distinct — a park in the sky, unlike any other,” Adrian Benepe, the city’s parks commissioner, said in a statement.

Amanda M. Burden, the city’s planning commissioner, who joined Mr. Benepe at the news conference, said in a statement that the designers had “created a magical environment that is at once ever-changing, intricate and sweeping.”

The designs for the park are the creation of a team led by Field Operations, a landscape architectural company, which, along with architects from Diller Scofidio + Renfro, won a 2004 design competition. The Museum of Modern Art exhibited the team’s preliminary designs for the first phase of the High Line in 2005.

The new designs reveal with greater precision the important elements of the park’s first phase, including Gansevoort Plaza, the park’s southern terminus in the meatpacking district and a major access point for the park; the “slow stairs” that will gradually ascend from street level to the elevated rail bed; and a two-level sundeck between 14th and 15th Streets that will offer views of the Hudson.

It will also have an art installation space where the park cuts through the Chelsea Market, formerly a Nabisco factory; and the 10th Avenue Square, an area of steps and ramps at 17th Street where visitors can descend into the lower part of the elevated railway.

An additional $14 million has been designated for a plaza and stairs to the park, still to be designed.

A third and final phase of the High Line, still in the planning stages, involves a half-mile section ringing the railyards north of 30th Street and 12th Avenue. A developer, the Related Companies, won a contract in May to redevelop the railyards with the park as part of its proposal, but who will finance that final phase of the project remains unclear.

Robert Hammond, co-founder of Friends of the High Line, a nonprofit group established in 1999, which will eventually manage and operate the High Line in cooperation with the parks department, said the park’s grand opening had not been scheduled but was likely to take place in December or January.

Asked whether the cold months were the best time to open a new park, Mr. Hammond replied that the timing would allow officials — and the public — to acclimate themselves to the new space.

“One of my biggest concerns is over-success,” he said. “It’s not MoMA. It’s not the Sheep Meadow. It’s a relatively small park. One of the advantages of opening the window is, it’s almost like a soft opening. As it gets more beautiful in the spring, we’ll be figuring out how to manage it.

“One of my concerns is it being loved to death in the first few weeks. It’s a good problem to have, but it’s something we’ve been thinking a lot about.”

NYguy Jun 26, 2008 5:46 AM

More from

Instantly captivating, the 26th Street Viewing Spur re-imagines the billboards that once dotted the High Line as a place for you, yes you, to become one with advertecture. It also offers, per a comment by Ricardo Scofidio at today's presser, "A way to stand in the middle of Tenth Avenue and not be run over."

Another highlight of today's announcement was most certainly the 30th Street Cut-Out, in which the High Line's concrete deck is cut away to show beams, girders, and whatever the heck sort of illicit behavior is going on down at street level. This is also the end of Phase Two; immediately to the north is Phase Three, the future of which remains, as Hudson Yards itself, uncertain.

Look here, it's the 23rd Street Lawn, or as it may be known 10 years from now, "HL23's backyard." Per the press materials, "The High Line's only lawn 'peels up' at this locations, lifting seated visitors above the walkway and offering views to the west and east." We say: bocce!

The next segement is, yes, oh, yes, the Woodland Flyover. "It's a wild, primitive, found-object landscape," James Corner enthused, and yes, we cannot wait to see what objects we find here.

NYC4Life Jun 26, 2008 6:09 AM

Pretty interesting how a long narrow park can be built from what was a rail line. Only in New York :)

I rank this is as the best civil project currently being developed here in NY.

Swede Jun 26, 2008 8:57 PM


Originally Posted by NYC4Life (Post 3636541)
Pretty interesting how a long narrow park can be built from what was a rail line. Only in New York :)

And Paris ;)

I do agree about its awesomeness though. The alternative approach would have been to tear it all down... I think we all agree this way is far, far better.

Lecom Jun 26, 2008 10:09 PM


“One of my biggest concerns is over-success,” he said. “It’s not MoMA. It’s not the Sheep Meadow. It’s a relatively small park. One of the advantages of opening the window is, it’s almost like a soft opening. As it gets more beautiful in the spring, we’ll be figuring out how to manage it.
That's also my concern. Judging from the new renders especially, the park looks unbelieveable, yet one of its draws - unique location on an elevated rail line - is also one of the things that keeps its size very limited. I bet at times it may get so crowded that it will be detrimental to enjoying the park, but then again its isolation from the street may be one of the counterbalances that in the long term would ease congestion of the park.

NYguy Jun 27, 2008 6:19 AM


Originally Posted by Lecom (Post 3638017)
I bet at times it may get so crowded that it will be detrimental to enjoying the park, but then again its isolation from the street may be one of the counterbalances that in the long term would ease congestion of the park.

It's almost guaranteed to get crowded at times. But then again, so is Central Park. At least on the High Line, you won't get run over by bikers.

NYguy Jul 10, 2008 1:58 PM

High Line, Low Aims

July 9, 2008

LATE last month, city officials and the group Friends of the High Line presented the final design for part of the $170 million High Line park that is under construction on the West Side of Manhattan. The High Line, an abandoned elevated railway that once carried freight to, and sometimes inside, warehouses, is already a fanciful forest of industrial decay and native plants, and it has the potential to be the most delightful and unconventional green space in the country.

And yet I was struck by the banality of the plans unveiled. The idea, come to at great expense and after much fanfare, is essentially to plant some native shrubs (the same shrubs that have been colonizing the structure since the last train ran on it, in 1980) and thread a path through them. I’d been hoping for a utopia. Instead, I got sumac. The plan’s most exciting element is a big glass panel that would allow people on 10th Avenue to look up and see the pedestrians on the High Line. This, plate glass and sumac, provides the city with absolutely nothing it doesn’t already have in abundance.

What a waste. The High Line is in many ways a metaphor for the heterogeneity of New York, and an ideal plan should reflect that. It joins two neighborhoods that have been in historic opposition: Greenwich Village, the historical heart of bohemia, and Midtown, a center of global capitalism and corporate culture. To span the gulf, it runs through a largely defunct slaughterhouse district, a gallery district, low-income housing projects, the center of gay Manhattan and heaps of old warehouses. Can’t this be a place to dream?

The High Line is exposed mostly in the meatpacking district, with views over the city and the river. It overlooks the street, rather than running through a corridor of buildings. Why not convert the little-trafficked block of Little West 12th Street, between West Street and Washington Street, into a sloped pasture that ascends gradually to the deck of the High Line? Here the deck and pasture could be used for outdoor concerts, dancing and movies, maximizing the openness of this neighborhood. During the day it would be a place for sports and sunbathing, and somewhere to take children from the West Village. Bring in some farm animals to graze on the pasture, adjacent to the quasi-defunct Gansevoort Meat Market building, and you’d have something like Chicago’s Lincoln Park. The Village would be a village again!

As the High Line approaches 14th Street it briefly doubles in width, passing through the Eastern Meats building. How about installing snow-making machinery (faithful to the historic use of the building), thereby filling this interior space with winter year round? O.K. maybe this isn’t the greenest of suggestions, but we New Yorkers often take ourselves too seriously and yet, given the opportunity to dream, choke on our own seriousness: the result is the sort of middlebrow design now on the drawing board.

In a city that loves farmers’ markets, what about using the section that is almost 50 percent covered (by Chelsea Market, and by a pedestrian bridge) for a multifaceted, small-business mercantile district based around stalls and kiosks? This could be part Arab souk and part Ponte Vecchio — a space with food vendors and little repair shops; somewhere you could go to get your lamps rewired, your shoes resoled and your computer fixed, and buy a bag of oranges.

As for the gallery district, why not add an exhibition space atop the High Line, and model it, loosely, on the Vasari Corridor in Florence (another gallery running above the deck of a bridge)? Shows could be drawn from the collections of New York City museums, or installed by artists. Shouldn’t public art be an integral part of this project, rather than shoehorned into a corner in Chelsea Market, as it seems to be in the current plan?

And, finally, the several-block section above 30th Street is the place to do big things, noisy things, that will bring conventioneers down from the Javits Center and lure tourists from the Intrepid, a few blocks north. I’d use the old tracks, but bend them into a roller coaster!

Of course it’s amazing that the High Line hasn’t been demolished to make way for condos. It is already a miracle. And, like most New Yorkers, I’m appreciative of the work that’s gone into saving it. But why be so hemmed in with what we’ve saved?

I’m not making realistic proposals here — though I’d love to see slides fitted to the windows of the buildings that crowd the High Line in the upper 20s; imagine thousands of office workers sliding down to the deck for lunch! The city, after all, can barely afford the sumac. But isn’t this just the sort of moment when public space should be all the more important? Shouldn’t the $170 million High Line, largely financed by private donors (who could certainly increase that budget, if they were inspired), be a project on the scale of the W.P.A.’s greatest hits? So why not incorporate some of the above? What better than an old railroad to show us a way to the future?

Sean Wilsey is the author of “Oh the Glory of It All” and co-editor of the forthcoming anthology “State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of the America.”

NYguy Jul 31, 2008 4:43 PM

High Line Construction Chronicles: High Line Soils Itself

July 31, 2008, by Joey

When is a pile of dirt not just a pile of dirt? When it's dumped onto Manhattan's future park-in-the-sky, of course. According to the High Line Blog, this layer of subsoil has just been delivered to the section of track above 19th Street. The subsoil goes under the more refined topsoil, which will get planted in the fall. Of course, all this horticultural madness will eventually yield this, the most spectacular public project in the history of the city, no the history of the world and you cannot convince us otherwise because why can't you just let us have this one special thing in our lives instead of shooting us down and ruining our dreams like you ruin everything else, mom!

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