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James Corner, landscape architect and urban designer, will give a free High Line design preview on May 14. Corner is the founder and director of Field Operations, the landscape architecture firm working with architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro on the design for the High Line. This presentation is being held in conjunction with the High Line Festival, curated by David Bowie and running May 9 – 19.

RSVP is required.

High Line Design Presentation with James Corner
Monday, May 14
6:30 PM
Great Hall
Cooper Union
7 East 7th Street at Third Avenue
RSVP


Please join us at one of two photography sessions for Friends of the High Line's Portrait Project. We are creating and publicly exhibiting portraits of High Line friends and supporters. Photographer Tom Kletecka will photograph High Line supporters in front of a Joel Sternfeld High Line background, as he has at several of our past events. Portraits will then be displayed around the High Line neighborhood, mounted to the construction fencing surrounding nearby developments. Portraits will also be archived on a special Web site and possibly used in a publication. Each participant will receive a copy of his or her portrait to keep.

Please RSVP to rsvp@thehighline.org.
To help us avoid long lines, be sure to include the time you're planning on coming.

Friday, March 9, 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Community Space, Chelsea Market
75 Ninth Avenue (between 15th and 16th Streets)
Subway: A, C, E, or L to 14th Street and 8th Avenue

Saturday, March 31, 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Hudson Guild
Dan Carpenter Room, 2nd Floor
441 West 26th Street (between 9th and 10th Avenues)
Subway: C or E to 23rd Street and 8th Avenue

This project has been made possible by Fujifilm USA.

EnlargeGordon Matta-Clark's "Day's End, 1975,"
two chromogenic color prints from his
retrospective at the Whitney.
On Tuesday, March 27, Whitney exhibition curator Elisabeth Sussman will take supporters of Friends of the High Line on a behind-the-scenes tour of the current retrospective of the work of artist Gordon Matta-Clark. This private tour will start at 7:00 PM and last about an hour.

Space is limited. Please RSVP to rsvp@thehighline.org

From the March 3 New York Times review:

In "Day's End," (photos above) Matta-Clark cut a big, eye-shaped opening in the back wall of a warehouse along the West Side piers in Manhattan (a favorite S&M haunt in the 1970s), allowing a blazing light to spill into the cavernous interior. In one of the most striking images of this project, the cut-out portion is suspended by chains in the warehouse space, giving a powerful impression of its weight and scale.

About the Exhibit:
During the brief but highly productive ten years that he worked as an artist, and even more so since his death, Gordon Matta-Clark (1943 – 1978) has exerted a powerful influence on artists and architects who know his work. This retrospective will bring together the breadth of his practice to reveal the unique beauty and radical nature evident in the many media in which he worked: sculptural objects, drawings, films, photographs, notebooks, and documentary material.

The Whitney Museum of American Art recently announced that it plans to establish a new contemporary art facility at the southern end of the High Line, at the corner of Gansevoort Street and Washington Street. Though the project must still go through a public review process, Friends of the High Line and the Whitney hope to develop collaborative programs in advance of construction.

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Some of you have asked us questions about the construction site at Washington Street, between Little West 12th Street and West 13th Street.

Q: Is this construction part of the High Line's transformation?
A: No, it's the start of a new hotel being developed by André Balazs, called The Standard.

Q: Will the hotel bridge over the High Line?
A: Yes, it will bridge over the High Line structure and its easement. But the space on the High Line underneath the hotel's bridge will remain open to the public, under the jurisdiction of the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation.

Q: What allows this to happen?
A: When the High Line was built in the 1930s, it was designed to connect to buildings and to pass through building interiors. A 30-foot-high "box easement" had to be left for the trains to pass through. These connections and pass-throughs allowed trains to load and unload directly into warehouses and factories. You can see historic examples of this condition at Chelsea Market (between 15th and 16th Streets) and the former Cudahy meatpacking plant, on 14th Street.

Q: Can the High Line be bridged at any site up and down the Line?
A: No, bridging over the easement is forbidden north of 16th Street. This restriction was established as part of the 2005 rezoning of West Chelsea, which included numerous provisions to support the reuse of the High Line. South of 16th Street, the pre-existing manufacturing zoning remains, and thus bridging over the structure is still allowed. But the hotel site is the only privately owned site left south of 16th Street that is configured in a manner to allow this kind of construction to occur.

Q: How does Friends of the High Line feel about the High Line being bridged?
A: The High Line's interactions with surrounding buildings have always been one of its most interesting qualities. When the High Line opens to the public, the fact that the park will pass through building interiors will be one of its compelling attributes, differentiating it both from other City parks and other rail-banked trails, which generally run through rural areas. The pass-throughs at Chelsea Market and the Cudahy building are among our favorite spots on the Line. This kind of connectivity to the surrounding built environment will add interest and excitement to the new park, but we would not want to see the High Line bridged over at every site up and down the Line. Thus we are pleased that the West Chelsea rezoning forbids it north of 16th Street and that no other private sites remain south of 16th Street where the High Line can be bridged.

If you have questions or comments about this project, please email them to us at info@thehighline.org.


Michael Bradley joined the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation as High Line Project Administrator in November 2006. The first Parks Department employee assigned exclusively to the High Line, Michael oversees coordination and completion of the park's design and construction and directs the planning for maintenance of the park after its opening.

The High Line is Michael's third major New York City park project. For six years before he joined the Parks Department, he was executive director of the Riverside South Planning Corporation, a not-for-profit civic organization established by several major city groups to develop and oversee the implementation of the master plan for Riverside South, the 75-acre former rail yard on the Hudson River. With the Riverside South developers and the Parks Department, he managed the design, permitting, and construction of the 27-acre privately-financed Riverside Park South, now half-completed. He also revived plans for the relocation of the elevated West Side Highway out of the park into a tunnel, persuading the City, State, and developers to partner on a long-term plan to build the tunnel, a portion of which is now under construction.

From 1994 to 2000, Michael was Vice President of Real Estate and Management and Operations at the Hudson River Park Trust, planning the 5-mile long waterfront park and building and operating its first sections. Prior to that he worked for the City Department of Citywide Administrative Services as a land-use planner for City-owned waterfront property in the Bronx. He attended Yale University and received a master's degree in urban and environmental planning from the University of Virginia.

We hope you will participate in a new FHL project to create and publicly exhibit portraits of High Line friends and supporters. Photographer Tom Kletecka will photograph High Line supporters in front of a Joel Sternfeld High Line backdrop, as he has at several past FHL events. Selected portraits will then be displayed around the High Line neighborhood, mounted to the construction fencing surrounding nearby developments. Portraits will also be archived on a special Web site and possibly used in a publication. Each participant will receive a copy of his or her portrait to keep.

The High Line shows that sometimes even the most unlikely dream can become a reality. Participants in the portrait project will be asked, "What's your dream?" Their answers will appear on the portraits.

Public photographic sessions will take throughout spring 2007. Upcoming sessions are listed below.

This project has been made possible by Fujifilm USA.

Please RSVP to rsvp@thehighline.org. To help us avoid long lines, be sure to include the time you're planning on coming. Please note, we expect many people to come during the lunch hour, so if your schedule allows, please come after 2:00 PM.

Friday, February 9, 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Friends of the High Line office
430 West 14th Street, Suite 304 (at Washington Street)
Subway: A, C, E, or L to 14th Street and 8th Avenue

Thursday, February 22, 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Public corridor, Chelsea Market
75 Ninth Avenue (between 15th and 16th Streets)
Subway: A, C, E, or L to 14th Street and 8th Avenue

Saturday, March 31, 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Dan Carpenter Room, Hudson Guild
2nd Floor
441 West 26th Street (between 9th and 10th Avenues)
Subway: C or E to 23rd Street and 8th Avenue

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Site Preparation construction on the High Line is moving forward on schedule. Approximately half of Section 1 has been sandblasted and painted with a primer coat (blue-gray color). Once the entire Section 1 has been primed, and steel and concrete repairs have been made, crews will return to apply the intermediate and final coats. The final coat (gray-black color) has been applied on one block (17th–18th Streets), so we can now begin to see what the rehabilitated and restored High Line will look like.

In addition to the sandblasting and painting, the Site Prep work includes repairs to steel and concrete. For example, concrete has been removed from the bases of many of the columns, and rusted rivets have been removed and replaced. Other work involves the installation of a new underside drainage system, and installation of bird deterrents – a simple sloped piece of metal that prevents birds from roosting.

The Site Prep contract will be complete this summer, to be followed by the construction of the new park landscape and access points.

View more construction photos.

Robert Moses
Three New York City institutions are joining to present a series of exhibitions and talks on the legacy of Robert Moses. Moses' connection with the High Line comes through his work on the West Side Improvement Project, which was well documented in The Power Broker by historian and FHL supporter Robert Caro.

The Museum of the City of New York will hold "Remaking the Metropolis" through May. Additionally, Columbia University's Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery is holding an exhibition called "Slum Clearance and the Superblock Solution," which runs through April 14, and the Queens Museum of Art holds a corresponding exhibition through May. The curator of all three exhibitions is Columbia University architectural historian Hilary Ballon.

Read the New York Times article.

EnlargePhotograph © Alex S. MacLean/Landslides.
The effort to save the High Line at the West Side Rail Yards continues. On December 7, FHL hosted a community forum at Chelsea Market, attended by over 200 people, to raise awareness of the issue and gather public opinion. The forum included a presentation of the civic and economic benefits offered by the High Line at the rail yards.

Some of the reasons why preservation of the High Line should be mandated as part of the development of the rail yards:
  • The rail yards section represents 31% of the total High Line.
  • The High Line is a critical link in the open space network connecting Hudson River Park and the neighborhoods of the West Side.
  • The High Line is an invaluable historic resource. The lesson of Penn Station is only two blocks away and should not be repeated.
  • The High Line will provide the new neighborhood with character and identity that will anchor it to its specific place and history.
  • The High Line adds real value to the rail yards site, which is owned by the MTA. It would be bad fiscal policy on the part of the State to permit its demolition.
Forum attendees were overwhelmingly supportive of preservation, and the vast majority of them were shocked at the possibility of demolition:
  • "The High Line is the most vital park and real estate project to have occurred in New York in several years. Preserving the High Line preserves the history and character of the West Side."
  • "It will be a historic bridge—both figuratively to the past, and literally to the river."
  • The High Line at the rail yards has an "iconic beauty."
In reaction to the idea that the High Line could be replaced by a new elevated structure:
  • "BAD IDEA."
  • "The High Line, not the Faux Line."
  • "Unthinkable!"
  • "This would ruin one of the best aspects of the High Line, which is its authenticity and integrity."
  • "It completely devalues the power and history of the High Line."
The risk of demolition, however, is real, and your support in our fight for preservation is of critical importance. FHL is continuing to work with all decision-makers and stakeholders (City, State, elected officials, community leaders) to raise awareness of the importance of the High Line in this location. Your support in this effort will be critical in the coming months as these discussions continue.

Read the New York Post article: "Rail Shot At Prosperity – High Line Plan A $174M Boost"

The rail yards study is made possibly by the A.G. Foundation, the Greenacre Foundation, the Leon Levy Foundation, and Donald Pels and Wendy Keys. Additional support comes from Douglaston Development, Extell Development Corp., the Georgetown Company, and the Related Companies.

Positive media coverage continues for the High Line project, which was prominently featured in an article in the January 29 issue of Time magazine. In his review of the new Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle, architecture critic Richard Lacayo named the sculpture park and the High Line as two key examples of a movement in landscape design in which industrial sites are redeveloped as parkland. Lacayo writes that the High Line will "remind visitors of the processes of decay and renewal basic to the metabolism of any city," and will be "an ingenious contribution to that historic dialogue between the natural and the manufactured." The article features a design rendering of the High Line alongside a historic photograph of a train running atop the structure.

Read the Time magazine article.

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