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 cafÃ©s. I've been talking about it ever since. I love it.
JB: Now that the first section is complete, what do you think of James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro's design?
CC: I was blown away when I first saw it. I didn't really quite know what to expect, but I was really happy with the way it turned out. For me, it was really important to capture the original look and feel of what was here before the park. It would have been a mistake to completely change the flavor of what the High Line was. The way the High Line plays with your perspective as you walk along is incredible. I've never seen anything else like it.
JB: You come up here so much, you must know some of our staff and other regulars.
CC: My favorite person on the High Line is PEP Officer Therman. I met her up here and I usually stop and visit with her when I'm here. She introduced me to Lucile, the High Line spider. There was a corn spider who lived up here in warmer weather. She was enormous.
JB: What's your favorite spot on the Line?
CC: The 10th Avenue Square, that's where I like to hang out a lot. I usually come after work. It's a way for me to relax. It's very calm and peaceful. I usually come up here to do homework - I found a spot with free wifi. I love the 10th Avenue Square. I haven't seen anything like it before where you have the ground underneath rolling past. There's a great engagement with the street below. It reminds you that it's up here. It's that interaction between the two levels that's so interesting to me.
JB: This is such a far-flung spot for you, it's amazing how often you're here.
CC: I'll come all the way from Queens just to be here. My mom thinks I'm nuts. When I feel like I need to see it, I just get in the car, even at 8 or 9 PM, knowing that it's going to close at 10 - I'm racing. I'll be up here for 20 minutes, then go back home to Bayside.
Now that's dedication. Clifton, we commend you!
If you or someone you know is a High Line regular and would like to be on our blog, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.