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Headed to Chicago for a Thanksgiving meal with the family, I thought I'd take advantage of the Windy City's version of the High Line. Arriving early, I got a section tour of the structure from The Trust for Public Land's Laura Uhlir. Half the height of the High Line (15 feet tall) and wider than 30 feet across in some places, Chicago's elevated railroad runs east-west, connecting various northwest neighborhoods (Bucktown, Wicker Park, Logan Square and Humboldt Park). Running 2.7 miles long, the Bloomingdale Trail is longer than the High Line, and includes 37 viaduct bridges over streets.

pipeBloomingdale Trail looking west from the Kimball Street Access Point.
The Canadian Pacific Railroad occasionally stores cars up on the unused tracks.
 

In 1998, the City of Chicago recognized the trail as a potential public space. Since then, City and community support for the project has grown, with the help of Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail. The group began in 2003, and four years later the Bloomingdale Trail Collaborative was formed out of an alliance between the Friends and the national organization Trust for Public Land,  in partnership with the City.

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pipeImage courtesy of fieldoperations.net
 

James Corner, principal and founder of James Corner Field Operations, the High Line project lead, will lecture on his recent and current works at the Cooper Union on Wednesday, December 9th.

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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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organicoa cocoaOrganicoa's Pure Hot Cocoa. Photo by Auzelle Epeneter.
 

Now through December 11th in the Chelsea Market Passage, you'll find Organicoa – organic, sustainably-grown, pure hot cocoa.

Founders Matthew Pek and Brett Nidel created Organicoa especially for the High Line.  Each cup of Organicoa's hot cocoa is crafted with Dagoba cocoa beans (which are sourced through sustainable cacao farms), organic vegan cane sugar, and locally sourced organic milk.  Their cups, lids, and sleeves are made from recycled and compostable materials.

We recommend grabbing a cup and enjoying it on the sundeck.

Follow the jump for a menu and more pictures.

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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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vancouverThe Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts. Image from The Vancouver Sun.
 
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Photographed by Jason Bell in New York City.

Here's a nice one for the High Line's trophy case. Co-Founders Joshua David and Robert Hammond, along with architect Charles Renfro of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, were honored with inclusion in Out Magazine's annual Out 100, joining the likes of Pedro Almodovar, Wanda Sykes and Tony Kushner, among others.

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macleanAlex S. MacLean/Landslides Aerial Photography
 

We need your help at City Hall on Monday, November 23, as the City Council's Zoning Subcommittee holds a final public hearing on the rezoning of the Western Rail Yards.

City Council Hearing on Western Rail Yards
Monday, November 23, 9:30 AM
City Hall, 260 Broadway, Council Chamber
(Please note the location change)
Subway: A, C, E, to Chambers; 1,2, to Park Place; 6, N, R to Bklyn Bridge/City Hall

RSVP

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Thanksgiving at the High Line. Photo by Auzelle Epeneter.
 

Yesterday, the High Line staff celebrated Thanksgiving early with a farewell potluck in honor of our seasonal staff (a sample of the myriad of delicious dishes is pictured above).  High Line gardeners Au'brey Gill, Meg Graham, and Maryanne Stubbs will part from us during the dormant winter months.

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elevatorPhoto by Auzelle Epeneter.
 

The new 14th Street elevator is now open (and beautiful).  Next time you visit the High Line, give it a try--you'll be transported from street level to High Line level by way of a vivid yellow-green car. It's just to the West of the High Line stairs on 14th Street.

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