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Dear Friends,

2009 has been a remarkable year for the High Line. After spending the spring working on the final stages of construction, we opened the first section of the park in June. Since then, we estimate that nearly 2 million people have visited. We hope you were among these first visitors to the High Line, and that you return again and again in 2010.

The High Line's first year as a public park has been truly amazing. We've pulled together some of our favorite pictures from this incredible, historic year. We hope you enjoy them!

We hope you'll continue to support the High Line as we prepare for 2010.

Many thanks, and happy New Year,


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2009
 

Park visitors stroll and relax on the Diller von Furstenberg Sundeck between 14th and 15th Streets. The Sundeck is one of the High Line's most popular gathering spots, especially for sunbathers on bright summer days, and as a place to watch the sunset. Photo by Iwan Baan

"...The High Line is a hit, and not just with tourists but with New Yorkers who are openly relishing a place where they can reflect and relax enough to get a new perspective on Manhattan."
– Diane Cardwell, For High Line Visitors, Park is a Railway Out of Manhattan, New York Times

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The Manhattan Borough President's office is currently accepting applications for community board membership! Community boards are charged with representing community interests on crucial issues of development, land use, zoning, and city service delivery. Serving on a board is an incredible opportunity to make changes in your community, advise your elected officials on the issues you care about, and be at the forefront of sound community-based planning decisions.

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tommy
 

Friends of the High Line staff have known neighborhood resident Tommy Flamer for a long time. Before Section 1 opened, Tommy was a fixture at all of our Rail Yards hearings, community meetings, and public programs. We would often spot him walking underneath the High Line, looking up.  Always curious and ready to chat, his excitement and friendly demeanor led to quick friendships with many of us on staff. Since the park opened, Tommy sightings on the High Line have been commonplace.

When I finally got to sit down with Tommy on a brisk December evening to ask him some questions, I found an untapped treasure chest of historical information on the High Line and the surrounding neighborhood. Tommy has lived in Chelsea since 1968, and has lived in his current home on 18th Street since 1979. As a young man he worked as a stock boy at the now defunct Valley Drugs, a pharmacy on 14th Street and 7th Avenue, and then as an elevator operator in London Terrace and at the Leo House.

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singing
 

Are you as excited as we are for another beautiful winter in New York City? Then come help us celebrate the season with the New York City Lab School Chorus and Craft Sweets for a performance of winter songs and a feast of some sweet treats on the High Line.

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baby buggy
 

Today through Saturday, Baby Buggy is holding a drive at the Caledonia near the 16th Street entrance to the High Line.  They're collecting new and gently used strollers, high chairs, front carriers, and bassinets for needy New York City families.  These items are essentials for families with small children.

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clifton crumpHigh Line Regular Clifton Crump at 14th Street
 

For someone who lives in Bayside, Queens, it's quite the feat to become one of our "High Line Regulars" – folks that come to enjoy the park on a regular basis, or in Clifton's case, nearly every single day! Huddled together in the Chelsea Market Passage on a breezy fall day, Clifton and I became acquainted over sips of hot chocolate.

JB: How did you first hear of the High Line?

 CC: I have lived in New York my whole life, and first knew the High Line from walking under it, coming to the Chelsea galleries. But my love affair began in 2005 when I was a part of the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, and their program for students was called 'Redesign the High Line'. Our idea, funny enough, was a park. Our group wasn't as outlandish as some of the other ones, but we wanted to bring back remnants of the old train line – bring old subway cars up and use them as cafés.  I've been talking about it ever since. I love it.

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On Friday the thirteenth, a group of planners, transportation experts,  sociologists, and techies joined together for an intimate dialogue hosted by The Open Planning Project (TOPP) and the Regional Planning Association (RPA). Perched on top of 148 Lafayette, we gathered to discuss "New Technology for Participatory Planning". A series of "lightning talks" revolved around the potential of evolving technologies to simultaneously address planning challenges and open communication barriers.

New Technology for Participatory Planning conference. Ideas for take-away discussions.
 

The Open Planning Project acts as an advocate and resource for those who wish to understand the planning of cities around them.  TOPP is about to launch a new community-based planning tool using open-source software,  where those interested in planning can converge online.

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harsimus stem embankmentThe Harsimus Stem Embankment, Jersey City. Photos by Robert Hammond
 

On Sunday, Co-Founder Robert Hammond headed over to Jersey City for the Embankment Preservation Coalition's annual members and supporters meeting. He reports back on the High Line's sister project, which is just getting, well, off the ground:

"I was blown away immediately upon spotting the half-mile structure that once carried freight for the Pennsylvania Railroad.  The Embankment holds an untouched beauty, and really reminded me of the feelings I had years ago in the early days of the High Line. It's a quick PATH ride from the High Line to Jersey City, and it's another amazing opportunity for a great linear public space.  The Coalition project really needs support right now, so I urge you to check out their Web site to find out more and see what you can do.


embankmentPhoto from the Embankment's Web site, showing the view.
 

"The Embankment is six acres of space broken into six segments which were originally connected by metal bridges and are now separated by city streets. It runs west to east through a residential neighborhood, and ends overlooking the river, practically right across from the High Line. While the Embankment is much wider than the High Line, measuring 100 feet across, and considerably lower to the ground, the landscape is reminiscent of the High Line's original wilderness. When I went the fall colors were spectacular – it was an easy sell."

[After the break, more photos, and info on the future plans for the Embankment.]


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OHNY on the High Line.
 

For the seventh year, Friends of the High Line will participate in the annual openhousenewyork weekend; the largest architect and design event in America. This year, our first year of participation with the park open to the public, we invite guests to join us on the High Line for a series of eight engaging talks led by people involved in various aspects of the design, planning and construction process. These lectures will provide deeper insight into the story of the transformation of the High Line from an abandoned freight line to a successful public space.

This years OHNY weekend will take place on Saturday, October 10th and Sunday, October 11th. Please note: an error in the OHNY brochure asks guests to RSVP. RSVP's are not being accepted for this years OHNY weekend on the High Line. All lectures are first come first served.

All talks will take place in the 14th Street passage on the High Line, just South of the 14th Street stairs. All talks will take place rain or shine. We look forward to seeing you there!

[Read more for a full schedule.]

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