Friday, July 3, 2009

Take the High Line

(image via DO)

While living in Manhattan, I used to frequent the Museum of Modern Art, more specifically, the architecture floor. One particular exhibit was the model for a revamping of an old elevated rail line into a park. It always interested me, but from what I could tell, no real progress was being made on it in 2005. Well, after years of advocacy, it's actually open! And apparently it's a big deal- the New York Times, NPR, and Design Observer all did pieces about its opening.

The abandoned rail line, out of use since 1980, was scheduled for demolition, but saved by two citizens Joshua David and Robert Hammond. They teamed up with Mayor Bloomberg to advocate for a renovation of the line into a park. Only the first portion is currently open, running up to W. 20th St. The second portion, extending up to 30th, will be open in Fall 2010. The third section is not yet approved. Containing over 100 different wild flower seeds, the plantings were inspired by the overgrown greenery on the railroad. The train trestle park was designed by the architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro. A vast departure from the sprawling Central Park, the High Line is very narrow and flanked by city buildings. But the beauty of the park is that it's not trying to be another Central Park, something it's not.

Fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg was among one of the big benefactors to the project, along with several other wealthy New York City residents. The organization Friends of the High Line helped raise $44 million for the project. The success of the park has brought to light several other projects for the neighborhood, including a new satellite building of the Whitney designed by the fabulous architect Renzo Piano.

Very inspiring to see this park come to fruition. Reminds us that average citizens can bring about change to our communities.


  1. I lived in NY when this project was in its infancy and it's so great to see it come to life! I'll definitely swing by there again when I come to town next week.

  2. Check out this video