News

highlighted mobile

FHL has postponed its February 25 "Track Heads" event, which included an open house at FHL’s new office followed by roller-skating at the Roxy. The event has been postponed to avoid a conflict with an important community meeting regarding the Hudson Yards (see next story). The FHL open house event will be rescheduled for a later date.

Please join us at the first of a series of informal "Track Heads" get-togethers. Anyone and everyone interested in the High Line project is invited to come meet other supporters, FHL staff, and the exciting creative individuals who are part of this historic effort.

6:30 – 7:30 PM: Gallery Hour with Joel Sternfeld. FREE
Luhring Augustine Gallery, 531 West 24th Street (10th-11th Avenue)

7:30 – 9:00 PM: Cocktails at Marquee (cash bar, drinks half-price)
289 10th Avenue ( 26th-27th Streets)

RSVP suggested, but not required.

About Joel Sternfeld: Many FHL supporters know Joel Sternfeld for his High Line images, but the work of this great American photographer over the last 30 years has encompassed a global range of subjects. "American Prospects and Before" presents gorgeous, new, large-format prints of his celebrated photographs of the American landscape in the late 1970s and early 1980s. For information on Sternfeld and this exhibition, go to http://www.luhringaugustine.com. For New York Times coverage, click here.

About Marquee: Noah Tepperberg's and Jason Strauss's just-opened lounge on 10th Avenue, backing up to the High Line, was featured yesterday in the Sunday Styles section of the New York Times. Designed by Philip Johnson/Alan Ritchie Architects, Marquee has been regularly mentioned in New York social columns because of its high-profile clientele. Marquee will be opening its Red Room early on Wednesday, January 28, and offering half-price drinks just for this gathering. For New York Times coverage, click here.

Friends of the High Line has moved to a new office. Please update your records to reflect our new mailing address and new telephone and fax numbers:

Friends of the High Line
430 West 14th Street, Suite 304
New York, NY 10014

Phone: (212) 206-9922
Fax: (212) 206-9118
E-Mail: info@thehighline.org

Dear High Line supporters,

We'd like to give you an important legal update. Yesterday an appeals court overturned a FHL victory that two years ago stopped a High Line demolition proposal from going forward. But since the Bloomberg administration now endorses the High Line project – and the administration reaffirmed its commitment to High Line reuse when responding to yesterday's news – we're confident that the ruling will not hinder our efforts to create a great new public space on the High Line.

Some news reports have made it sound like the High Line is imminent danger of being torn down because of this ruling. This is not the case. A statement from the City Law Department yesterday makes this quite clear. "The decision does not change the City's efforts to preserve the High Line as a public amenity," said Jeffrey D. Friedlander, First Assistant Corporation Counsel.

The ruling grows out of legal challenge FHL filed to stop a demolition proposal developed during the previous mayoral administration. Since that time the Bloomberg administration has changed the City's policy to one that favors preservation of the High Line for reuse as public open space and has been working actively alongside Friends of the High Line to move the project forward.

The Appellate Division's ruling does not pose an immediate threat to the High Line, given the City's strong support for the project. If, however, the City's policy were to change, this ruling might allow it to commit to demolish the structure without going through the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), which requires review by the City Council, the Borough President, and the Community Boards.

FHL is reviewing the appeals court ruling and considering possible recourse. Meanwhile FHL will continue to work with the City of New York to create a legal structure and a design master plan for the High Line's conversion to public open space.

Background

In late 2001, the final days of the Giuliani administration, the City of New York signed onto a proposal that would allow the High Line to be demolished. FHL challenged the City's participation in that proposal, asserting that ULURP, a mandatory public review process, had been bypassed. FHL was joined in its challenge by the New York City Council, the Manhattan Borough President, and six local business-owners and residents. In March 2002, a New York State Supreme Court Justice ruled in FHL's favor, finding that the demolition process was indeed required to go through ULURP. The ruling effectively stopped the demolition process from moving forward. Demolition proponents and the City of New York appealed. On January 15, 2004, the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme court overturned the March 2002 decision.

Continuing Bipartisan City Support

The City of New York has shown strong bipartisan support for the High Line's preservation and reuse ever since filing in late 2002 for the start of rail-banking (the federal process that allows out-of-use rail lines to be converted to public open space). In July 2003, it presented bipartisan joint testimony in favor of rail-banking to the Surface Transportation Board by City Council Speaker Gifford Miller, Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff, and City Planning Commission Chair Amanda Burden. That same month, Speaker Miller announced a $15.75 funding capital funding commitment to the project.

FHL is confident that the City's enthusiastic support for the High Line project will continue regardless of the Appellate Division's ruling. The City appealed the March 2002 decision even after it changed its policy to one favoring the High Line's reuse because of the decision's potential to become a precedent in cases unrelated to the High Line.

Input Session Summary: On October 28, 2003, 400 people came to the High Line Community Input Forum to offer their input on design goals for the High Line. A summary of the forum, including design goals and quoted comments, can be downloaded here.

Design Competition Publication: FHL recently published Designing the High Line: Ideas for Reclaiming 1.5 Miles of Manhattan, featuring 29 entries from this year's open, international design competition. The large-format (11" x 16"), four-color, 37-page, soft-cover publication was designed by Pentagram and sponsored by New York State Council on the Arts and Viacom Outdoor. It's available for just $5 at these New York City booksellers:

192 Books
192 Tenth Avenue (at 21st Street)
New York, NY 10011
(212) 255-4022
http://www.192books.com

Printed Matter, Inc
535 West 22nd Street (between 10th & 11th Avenues)
New York, NY 10011
(212) 925-0325
http://www.printedmatter.org

Urban Center Books
457 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10022
(212) 935-3592
http://www.urbancenterbooks.org

Friends of the High Line (FHL) has moved to a new office. Please update your records to reflect our new mailing address and new telephone and fax numbers:

Friends of the High Line
430 West 14th Street, Suite 304
New York, NY 10014

Phone: (212) 206-9922
Fax: (212) 206-9118
E-Mail: info@thehighline.org

FHL wishes to thank Hudson Guild for housing our offices for the last 18 months—an important period in our growth. Hudson Guild is a vital community organization providing much-needed services to the Chelsea neighborhood. The Guild just began an extensive renovation of its West 26th Street facility. This has forced the Guild's staff, as well as FHL, to find new quarters.

FHL has become a stronger organization with greater ties to the community around the High Line by working in the diverse, culturally rich environment created by Hudson Guild. Our gratitude goes out to Executive Director Janice McGuire and the entire Hudson Guild staff.

For more information about Hudson Guild, go to: http://www.hudsonguild.org

6:30 pm – 7:30 pm: Gallery Hour with Joel Sternfeld
Luhring Augustine Gallery, 531 West 24th Street (10th & 11th Avenues)

7:30 pm – 9:00 pm: Drinks at Marquee (cash bar, drinks half-price)
289 10th Avenue (between 26th & 27th Streets)

RSVP suggested but not required (you will not recieve a confirmation).

About Track Heads: FHL is launching Track Heads, a new series of High Line get-togethers, to give everyone with an interest in the High Line an opportunity to meet other supporters, FHL staff, and the exciting creative individuals who are part of this historic effort. Track Heads events are not fundraisers but social gatherings designed to be fun, interesting, and casual. FHL will try to keep Track Heads events free or at a discounted price. "Track Heads" is a railroad term. It refers to the top of the rail, where the steel meets the wheels.

About Joel Sternfeld: Many FHL supporters know Sternfeld for his High Line images, but the work of this great American photographer over the last 30 years has encompassed a global range of subjects. "American Prospects and Before" presents gorgeous, new, large-format prints of his celebrated photographs of the American landscape in the late 1970s and early 1980s. For information on Sternfeld and this exhibition, go to http://www.luhringaugustine.com.

About Marquee: Noah Tepperberg's and Jason Strauss's just-opened lounge on 10th Avenue, backing up to the High Line, was designed by Philip Johnson/Alan Ritchie Architects and has been regularly mentioned in New York social columns because of its high-profile clientele. Marquee will be opening its Red Room early on Wednesday, January 28, and offering half-price drinks just for this gathering.

Upcoming Track Heads Events: For upcoming months, Track Heads events will include drinks and dinner at Florent, the beloved restaurant in the Gansevoort Market Historic District, ice-skating at Chelsea Piers, a visit to the Armory Show (the International Fair of New Art), roller-skating at the Roxy, a picnic in Hudson River Park, and a boat tour on the historic John J. Harvey fireboat. We hope that these will give everyone interested in the High Line a chance to meet the other great people who support this exciting urban open-space project.

Friends of Hudson River Park (FoHRP) has been working hard for the past year to secure $70 million from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation to build the Tribeca section of Hudson River Park.

FoHRP asks your support to help secure these funds. All concerned New Yorkers to should send a letter and/or a fax to John Whitehead, Chair of the LMDC, with copies of the message sent to the Governor Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg.

Please help FoHRP secure funds for this beautiful park. For sample text and addresses of who to mail, fax, and/or e-mail, please follow the directions provided by FoHRP president Al Butzel by clicking here.

Wednesday, January 14, 6:30 – 8:00 PM, 192 Books will host a discussion with James Glanz and Eric Lipton, authors of City in the Sky: The Rise and Fall of the World Trade Center (Henry Holt, 2003). 192 Tenth Avenue (at 21st Street). For more information, go to http://www.192books.com.

Friends of the High Line made major progress in 2003. The High Line's conversion to public space isn't a "done deal" yet—we still need to secure essential state and federal endorsements. But thanks to help from supporters like you, we've gotten much closer to creating a public space of unprecedented innovation and beauty atop this one-of-a-kind structure. Below, FHL's plans for 2004, and our achievements in 2003.


2004 PLANS

"Trail Use" Agreement: In 2004 FHL will be working to assist transfer of control of the High Line from CSX, the railroad that currently controls it, to the City of New York for reuse as public open space. On July 24, FHL testified with the City of New York before the Surface Transportation Board (STB) in support of rail-banking the Line. (Rail-banking is the federal mechanism that allows rail corridors to be preserved as trails.) On October 2, the City filed a request to the STB to hold the matter in abeyance while the City holds discussions with affected stakeholders to resolve outstanding issues. The STB originally granted the request for an abeyance until January 5, 2004, and has since extended it to April 5, 2004. FHL hopes the negotiations in progress will ultimately pave the way for rail-banking. We will keep you updated on all relevant developments via this e-mail newsletter.

Design Master Plan: From its inception, FHL has dedicated itself to making the High Line as beautiful and original as the best public spaces in the world. FHL held a competition in 2003 to catalyze the creation of visionary ideas. Now we start the process of creating a master plan that embodies the creative spirit of the best competition entries but is also buildable, maintainable, and economically rational. During 2004, FHL and its partners, including the City of New York, will manage the creation of a comprehensive and realistic design master plan, one that covers the landscape on the High Line's upper deck, access, lighting, security, and programming.

Creating the design master plan will be a complex endeavor, involving architects, landscape architects, engineers, and numerous other experts. FHL is now working with the City of New York to determine the precise structure and timetable of the design process. As it is currently envisioned, a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) will start the master plan process. This will be followed by a Request for Proposals (RFP). Based on responses to the RFP, a design team will be selected and that team will develop a master plan that includes a comprehensive design vision for the Line as whole and as well as a highly detailed proposal of one segment of the Line.

FHL will issue regular announcements and updates about the design process through this e-mail newsletter.

State Endorsement: The State of New York has not yet endorsed the reuse of the High Line for public open space. Winning state approval is a key priority for FHL in 2004.


2003 ACHIEVEMENTS

Change in Policy: The year began with a new, pro-High Line policy from the City of New York. The policy change was signaled by the City's legal petition to the Surface Transportation Board (STB) in Washington requesting the start of the federal "rail-banking" process, which would allow the High Line to be used as public open space.

Design Competition: In January 2003, FHL launched Designing the High Line, an open, international ideas competition, soliciting forward-thinking proposals for the structure's reuse. 720 individuals and teams from 36 countries submitted proposals. These were evaluated by a renowned panel of jurors in May 2003, displayed at Grand Central Terminal in July 2003, and viewed by over 100,000 people. All 720 entries can be viewed online at http://www.thehighline.org/competition/.

Funding: On July 9, New York City Council Speaker Gifford Miller announced a $15.75 million funding commitment for capital costs related to the High Line's conversion to public space.

STB Hearing: On July 24, FHL testified with the City of New York before the Surface Transportation Board (STB) in support of rail-banking the Line. (Rail-banking is the federal mechanism that allows rail corridors to be preserved as trails.) City Council Speaker Gifford Miller, Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff, and City Planning Commission Chair Amanda Burden all appeared to testify. It was the first time the City supported the High Line project in such a public and coordinated manner. The STB is holding the matter in abeyance until April 5, 2004, while the City meets with CSX and other stakeholders to resolve outstanding issues.

Historic District: On September 9, the Landmarks Preservation Commission gave landmark designation to the Gansevoort Market Historic District, one of three neighborhoods linked by the High Line. Mayor Bloomberg said the designation, along with the High Line's reuse, were at the "core of the administration's plans" to "revitalize the Far West Side". In late-December, 2003, FHL moved its office to the newly-designated historic district.

Community Input Forum: On October 28, FHL convened a meeting with 400 community participants to review proposals created in the Designing the High Line competition, share ideas, express priorities, and determine a set of community design goals. To see a summary of the forum, go to: http://www.thehighline.org/communityforum_102803.pdf

Pages