On Tuesday, September 10, twelve members of the High Line staff took a trip to tour Freshkills Park in Staten Island, built on the former site of the world’s largest landfill. With 2,200 acres, the park is almost three times larger than Central Park.
Freshkills is divided into five sections, most of which are not yet open to the public. However, we were given the opportunity to look behind the scenes (and up the hills and in the meadows) with Michael Callery, one of the stewards of this amazing reclaimed site.
Majora Carter and Enrique Peñalosa joined us for a lively panel discussion on equality in public spaces. “Parks were a means to an end, an end of empowerment, of joy,” said Carter, recalling her groundbreaking work in the South Bronx. Photo by Rowa Lee
Renowned urban strategists Enrique Peñalosa and Majora Carter joined us for a July 15 panel discussion on building and sustaining equality in public open space. The dynamic speakers left the audience energized and inspired—no easy feat during the throes of a heat wave.
“A good city should feel like a park,” said Enrique Peñalosa near the end of a powerful presentation. The former Mayor of Bogotá, Colombia, spoke passionately about the benefits that access to parks and other green places bring to a city’s inhabitants.
His sentiment was echoed by Majora Carter of MCG Consulting. The MacArthur “genius” Fellow and Peabody Award–winning broadcaster gave a galvanizing presentation on urban revitalization. "You don't have to move out of your neighborhood to live in a better one,” Carter told the audience.
A design rendering of Jeff Koons' Train at the High Line. Image by James Corner Field Operations, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and Jeff Koons.
As we continue to refine the initial design concepts for the rail yards section of the High Line, the design team is studying a range of options for the 10th Avenue Spur, with the objective to make it one of the major gathering spaces at the park.
We showed two initial design concepts for the Spur at a community input meeting on Monday, March 12, and we also wanted to share a potential art installation conceived by artist Jeff Koons that could work with either of them.
As one more far-reaching ideas – one that would bring trains back to the High Line in a big way – the art installation, called Train, would feature a full-size replica of a 1943 Baldwin 2900 steam locomotive suspended from a crane above the Spur.
One of the hallmarks of successful urban spaces all over the world is the use of movable chairs. William Whyte’s studies in The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces found that people create ownership of public space by being able to control where and how they sit. This theory was recently tested in Times Square, where the moveable chairs in the new pedestrian plaza have proven to be enormously popular.
But will the same application work in Italy? That’s what Friends of the High Line Co-Founder Robert Hammond will soon find out.