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This past May, Friends of the High Line and the design team of Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro held a public presentation of the Preliminary Design for the High Line's conversion to public open space. Over 400 people attended the event at the Bohen Foundation. After the presentation, the design team held an open question-and-answer session. Attendees were also encouraged to submit their written questions to FHL. Now available: a summary of questions submitted by the public and the answers from the design team, the City of New York, and FHL.

Read the Q&A
View the Preliminary Design

FHL is planning a number of events for October. Please save the dates:

October 8 and 9 - High Line Viewing with Open House New York: A rare chance to view the High Line up close, as part of the third annual openhousenewyork weekend. Viewing is free and will take place from the loft gallery of the Phillips, de Pury & Company auction house, 450 West 15th Street in the Meatpacking District. For more information, go to www.ohny.org.

October 20 - Minetta Brook's High Line Project Benefit: New York arts organization Minetta Brook is teaming with artist Ann Hamilton and chef Alice Waters on a new program combining art, food and the High Line's history as a transportation system for local agriculture. This benefit dinner, at Dia Center for the Arts on 22nd Street, will celebrate the beginning of this innovative and creative look at the way food and industry have shaped the High Line neighborhoods.

Sign up for the Benefit Committee

October 22 - Florent 20th Anniversary Party: Friends of the High Line joins with the Meatpacking District Initiative to celebrate the 20th anniversary of High Line district mainstay Restaurant Florent. The evening will feature a 1980s Meat Market theme, including a Miss Meat Market contest. Location TBA.

This fall will be very busy for Friends of the High Line (as you can see from our October preview, below). More than ever, we will depend on our volunteers to make all these exciting events successful. Interested in volunteering? E-mail volunteer@thehighline.org. We need your help.

Friends of the High Line and The Kitchen, a Chelsea-based arts organization, are joining to host The Kitchen/ High Line Block Party. The event is free and will feature local artists, musicians, performers, and food from local restaurants. Come celebrate the diversity and vibrancy of the High Line district.

Saturday, September 17, 2005
12:00 noon - 6:00pm
West 19th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues
Rain or Shine
FREE

Friends of the High Line and Friends of Hudson River Park are co-sponsoring "The High Line and Historic Waterfront in Pictures," a multimedia presentation by Mary Habstritt of the Society for Industrial Archeology. Join us for this free, open-air lecture and photographic exploration of the rich history of the High Line and industrial West Side from 1915 to 1970. Dinner is not included, but will be available on the Pier.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005
6:30pm - 9:00pm; presentation at 7:30pm
Pier 63 Maritime, 23rd Street & Hudson River
Reservations: E-mail tours@fohrp.org or call (212) 757-0981, x 205

On Thursday, August 4, Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Charles Schumer and Congressman Jerrold Nadler announced that they have secured $18 million in capital funding for the High Line in the just-passed federal transportation bill.

Read Senator Clinton's Press Release

On behalf of all of the Friends of the High Line, we thank all three for their leadership and support. This funding will play a major role in the design and construction of a great new public open space on the High Line.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Clinton Press Office
August 4, 2005 202-224-2243

Innovative Public-Private Partnership on the Verge of Transforming High Line

New York, NY – Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton today joined the leadership of the Friends of the High Line and other partners in highlighting the progress that has been made toward realizing the vision of transforming the former High Line railway into open public space. Senator Clinton has been a leader in Congress in fighting for funding for the innovative project, which will convert the former elevated freight railway into a pedestrian walkway stretching 1.45 miles and spanning 22 blocks across Hell’s Kitchen, Chelsea and the Meatpacking District, opening to New Yorkers 6.7 acres of public space atop the elevated rail deck. The restored space will boost the area’s appeal as an ideal destination for businesses, entertainment and living, while preserving its historic character.

“I am proud that, along with my colleagues Senator Chuck Schumer and Representative Jerry Nadler, we have been able to secure funding for this project, including $18 million in the transportation bill just approved by Congress. The High Line is one of my top priorities, and I am glad that we have fought for and secured funding for the project every year over the past three years,” said Senator Clinton. “I will continue to be a champion of this project because I believe it is an investment that will spur economic development and create an enduring legacy for future generations of New Yorkers.”

“The High Line project started as a grass-roots effort, and it’s a great example of how a small group of people can really make a difference. But it took the visionary support of Senator Clinton to make the High Line dream a reality,” said Robert Hammond, co-founder of Friends of the High Line. “The Senator gave us much-needed political support when we were fighting to preserve the High Line. And now, by working with Senator Charles Schumer and Congressman Jerrold Nadler to bring major federal funding to the project, she’s ensuring that the High Line will be transformed as a great new open space for New York City.”

"The High Line is a key piece of the puzzle to what we need to move West Side development ahead and break the culture of inertia that has plagued New York City," said Senator Schumer. "Anyone who lives or works in Midtown West, Chelsea, or the Meatpacking District knows that the one thing this area lacks is open space. This funding will go a long way into converting the High Line into a world class park that is original and different from any other, it will become a true gem of the West Side." “It’s an incredible pleasure to announce the progress we’ve made on the High Line project,” Congressman Nadler said. “Not too long ago the High Line faced demolition, and we saved it because we saw its promise to our communities and our city. Now we’re counting down to groundbreaking, thanks to tireless grassroots advocacy and hard work in Congress. I was delighted to work with Senator Clinton, the High Line’s longtime champion, and Senator Schumer in securing $18 million in the transportation bill.”

The project is a key step in the revitalization of the far West Side where it will serve as an essential cultural and natural link between downtown’s art galleries and shops and midtown’s Javits Center, creating a distinctive new “High Line District.” Senator Clinton also helped secure $15 million in funding for Moynihan Station, the vision of the late Senator Daniel P. Moynihan, to be a new intermodal transportation facility designed to expand and enhance Pennsylvania Station. Like Moynihan Station, the High Line will serve as a living monument that enriches the lives of all New Yorkers. In addition, this unique project will be a model for innovative land use development and environmentally responsible transportation planning, improving air quality by encouraging pedestrian traffic.

The High Line project was recently granted a “Certificate of Interim Trail Use” by the Surface Transportation Board, paving the way for the City to finalize negotiations with the railroad and move toward the start of construction. The preliminary design for the High Line project, which is currently on display at the Museum of Modern Art, was created by the design team of Field Operations (landscape architecture) and Diller Scofidio + Renfro (architecture). The preliminary design can also be viewed at www.thehighline.org/design. Groundbreaking on the High Line project is planned for late 2005.

###
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to join with Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Diane von Furstenberg, and Friends of the High Line to announce major federal funding for the High Line Project

On Thursday August 4, 2005 Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton will join with Congressman Jerrold Nadler, renowned designer Diane von Furstenberg, and Friends of the High Line to announce major federal funding for the High Line project.

Date/Time: Thursday, August 4, 2005; 2:15 pm.

Where: Phillips de Pury and Company, 450 West 15th Street (near 10th Avenue), 3rd Floor.

Who: Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Diane von Furstenberg, and Friends of the High Line (FHL) co-founders Joshua David and Robert Hammond.

To RSVP: Please e-mail Meredith Taylor at Friends of the High Line at meredith@thehighline.org; or call (212) 206-9922.

CONTACT: Inquiries about the High Line/Friends of the High Line may be directed to Joshua David, Friends of the High Line; (212) 206-9922; josh@thehighline.org. Inquiries about Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton may be directed to Nina Blackwell; (212) 688-9559; nina_blackwell@clinton.senate.gov.

Note: Immediately prior to the press conference, the group will take a tour of the High Line’s elevated tracks. Access to the tracks will not be open to the media, but B-roll footage of the walk, shot on the tracks, may be obtained following the press conference. To request the paperwork required to receive B-roll footage, call (212) 994-7594 or e-mail esther.aubry@rfbinder.com.

# # #
June 13, 2005 (New York, NY) – The High Line project received a crucial federal authorization today, effectively opening the way for the High Line's transformation to public open space.

The Surface Transportation Board (STB), the federal body that oversees rail corridors, issued a Certificate of Interim Trail Use (CITU) for the High Line. The CITU enables CSX Transportation, the High Line's current owner, to negotiate a trail use agreement with the City of New York. This agreement would transfer control of the High Line to the City for use as a public walkway and open space.

"The STB's ruling is a great win for all New Yorkers," said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. "It allows us to implement our plans to preserve this valuable historic resource, create a much-needed public open space, and strengthen our city's economy."

"Thanks to the STB's ruling, we can move forward with plans to create one of the State's most unique and exciting public open spaces on the West Side of Manhattan," Governor George E. Pataki said. "By using the visionary railbanking program to transform this historic structure, we demonstrate New York's commitment to preserving its heritage and its environment at the same time that we create economic development opportunities for our future."

"We're very pleased with the STB's ruling," said John P. Casellini, Vice President for Public Affairs, CSX Corporation. "We look forward to working with the City of New York on an agreement that will allow the High Line to be used for the public's benefit."

"This is the most important victory yet for the High Line," said Robert Hammond, co-founder of Friends of the High Line (FHL). "Just six years ago, saving the High Line seemed like an impossible dream—and now it's reality. Thanks to railbanking, which preserves priceless transportation corridors and permits their reuse as public parks and walkways, one of New York City's most exciting preservation and urban planning projects can now move toward construction."


About the STB Ruling
By issuing a CITU, the STB has enabled the City and CSX Transportation to conclude agreements that will allow the High Line to become a railbanked trail. Railbanking, a method of creating trails from out-of-use rail corridors, was established by a 1983 Congressional amendment to the National Trails Systems Act. There are over 13,000 miles of rail-trails across the country, with nearly 16,000 more in development.

The City originally petitioned the STB for the CITU in December 2002. Subsequently, the State of New York and CSX Transportation filed with the STB supporting the City's request. In addition, a group representing the underlying property owners filed with the STB withdrawing its previous objections to railbanking.


Next Steps
The City of New York and CSX Transportation will proceed to conclude an agreement for trail use on the High Line. This legal structure is expected to include a transfer of ownership of the High Line from CSX Transportation to the City. Ground-breaking is projected for later this year. It is anticipated that the first phase of the High Line to be converted (from Gansevoort Street to 15th Street) will open to the public in late 2007 or early 2008.


Other Recent Advances for the High Line Project
• Funding: In the fall of 2004, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Gifford Miller announced new capital funding commitments to the High Line project. The City's capital funding commitment now stands at $51.3 million. Senators Charles Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton worked with Congressman Jerrold Nadler to bring $1 million to the project in the FY 2005 omnibus appropriations bill. Congressman Nadler has also included $5 million for the High Line in the six-year transportation bill now moving through Congress; Senators Schumer and Clinton are working to supplement that allocation while the bill is in the Senate. $3 million in federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ) funding was allocated to the project by the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council's New York City Transportation Coordinating Committee in January 2005. In addition, New York State Assembly Member Richard Gottfried worked to bring $50,000 in State Multi-Modal Transportation Program funds to the High Line.

• Design/MoMA Exhibition: A widely acclaimed Preliminary Design for the first phase of the High Line's transformation (from Gansevoort Street to 15th Street) is on view at the Museum of Modern Art, in New York City, until October 31, 2005. The Preliminary Design was created by Field Operations (landscape architecture), Diller Scofidio + Renfro (architecture), and a team of consultants including experts in engineering, security, lighting, and numerous other disciplines. The Preliminary Design can also be viewed at www.thehighline.org/design.

• Zoning: A rezoning proposal for the West Chelsea neighborhood surrounding the High Line is now moving through the City's public review process. The proposed rezoning includes a number of provisions intended to support the High Line's reuse as a public space. The proposal would also provide opportunities for new residential and commercial development and would enhance the neighborhood's thriving art gallery district. Adoption of the rezoning proposal is expected to take place in June 2005.

• Dia Plans Move to High Line: On May 9, Dia Art Foundation announced a proposal to construct a new museum adjacent to the High Line. The museum would be located at the corner of Gansevoort and Washington Streets, at the High Line's southern terminus, on a City-owned site in the Meatpacking District. Dia seeks to have the main entrance to the new exhibition space on the High Line level. The plan must go through the City's Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) before construction can begin.


High Line Project Background
Since 1999, Friends of the High Line (FHL) has been working to preserve the High Line for reuse as an elevated walkway. The City of New York endorsed the project in 2002, when it filed with the STB for a CITU.

The High Line was built in the 1930s as part of the West Side Improvement, a major transportation infrastructure project which eliminated street-level rail crossings from the northern tip of Manhattan down to Spring Street. When rail traffic declined in the 1960s, the southern section of the Line was demolished.

Legal disputes about the future of the High Line began in the mid-1980s, after the final train rolled down its tracks pulling a carload of frozen turkeys. Underlying property owners began lobbying for the structure's demolition, arguing that the Line prevented them from developing their properties. A local resident named Peter Obletz fought for the Line's preservation, at one point even purchasing the Line from Conrail (the High Line's owner at that time) for $10. The purchase was later challenged and overturned by the underlying property owners.

In 1992, the Interstate Commerce Commission (which later became the STB) issued a conditional abandonment order, which would have allowed demolition of the structure if certain financial conditions were met by the underlying property owners. The attempts to satisfy those conditions were never approved by both the railroad owner and the STB.

In 1999, neighborhood residents Joshua David and Robert Hammond founded Friends of the High Line with the mission of converting the structure to an elevated public space—a greenway or promenade—and began building community support.

The Giuliani administration favored and worked towards the demolition of the High Line. When Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg took office, he directed his administration to take a fresh look at the High Line's potential. In 2002, FHL commissioned an economic feasibility study that showed that the High Line would add value to its surrounding neighborhood, generating $262 million in new tax revenues over a 20-year period. In December of 2002, the City changed its policy and took the first step to converting the High Line to a public walkway by filing with the STB for a CITU. The State of New York and CSX Corporation filed in support of the City's petition in the fall of 2004, and the underlying property owners filed to withdraw their objections to railbanking later that year.


About Friends of the High Line (FHL)
FHL is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization established to preserve the High Line for reuse as an elevated public open space. Support for the project comes from hundreds of local residents, business-owners, and civic organizations, as well numerous elected officials. For more information on Friends of the High Line, please visit www.thehighline.org.


PLEASE NOTE: The High Line is currently private property, owned by CSX Transportation, and managed by CSX and the City. At this time, the site is not open to the public, and trespassers will be subject to prosecution.


Contact:
Joshua David, FHL (212) 206-9922; josh@thehighline.org
Robert Hammond, FHL, (212) 206-9922; robert@thehighline.org


Surface Transportation Board grants railbanking certificate, allowing reuse of New York City's elevated rail structure as pedestrian walkway

June 13, 2005 (New York, NY)—The High Line project received a crucial federal authorization today, effectively opening the way for the High Line's transformation to public open space.

The Surface Transportation Board (STB), the federal body that oversees rail corridors, issued a Certificate of Interim Trail Use (CITU) for the High Line. The CITU enables CSX Transportation, the High Line's current owner, to negotiate a trail use agreement with the City of New York. This agreement would transfer control of the High Line to the City for use as a public walkway and open space.

"The STB's ruling is a great win for all New Yorkers," said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. "It allows us to implement our plans to preserve this valuable historic resource, create a much-needed public open space, and strengthen our city's economy."

"Thanks to the STB's ruling, we can move forward with plans to create one of the State's most unique and exciting public open spaces on the West Side of Manhattan," Governor George E. Pataki said. "By using the visionary railbanking program to transform this historic structure, we demonstrate New York's commitment to preserving its heritage and its environment at the same time that we create economic development opportunities for our future."

"We're very pleased with the STB's ruling," said John P. Casellini, Vice President for Public Affairs, CSX Corporation. "We look forward to working with the City of New York on an agreement that will allow the High Line to be used for the public's benefit."

"This is the most important victory yet for the High Line," said Robert Hammond, co-founder of Friends of the High Line (FHL). "Just six years ago, saving the High Line seemed like an impossible dream—and now it's reality. Thanks to railbanking, which preserves priceless transportation corridors and permits their reuse as public parks and walkways, one of New York City's most exciting preservation and urban planning projects can now move toward construction."


About the STB Ruling
By issuing a CITU, the STB has enabled the City and CSX Transportation to conclude agreements that will allow the High Line to become a railbanked trail. Railbanking, a method of creating trails from out-of-use rail corridors, was established by a 1983 Congressional amendment to the National Trails Systems Act. There are over 13,000 miles of rail-trails across the country, with nearly 16,000 more in development.

The City originally petitioned the STB for the CITU in December 2002. Subsequently, the State of New York and CSX Transportation filed with the STB supporting the City's request. In addition, a group representing the underlying property owners filed with the STB withdrawing its previous objections to railbanking.


Next Steps
The City of New York and CSX Transportation will proceed to conclude an agreement for trail use on the High Line. This legal structure is expected to include a transfer of ownership of the High Line from CSX Transportation to the City. Ground-breaking is projected for later this year. It is anticipated that the first phase of the High Line to be converted (from Gansevoort Street to 15th Street) will open to the public in late 2007 or early 2008.


Other Recent Advances for the High Line Project
• Funding: In the fall of 2004, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Gifford Miller announced new capital funding commitments to the High Line project. The City's capital funding commitment now stands at $51.3 million. Senators Charles Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton worked with Congressman Jerrold Nadler to bring $1 million to the project in the FY 2005 omnibus appropriations bill. Congressman Nadler has also included $5 million for the High Line in the six-year transportation bill now moving through Congress; Senators Schumer and Clinton are working to supplement that allocation while the bill is in the Senate. $3 million in federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ) funding was allocated to the project by the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council's New York City Transportation Coordinating Committee in January 2005. In addition, New York State Assembly Member Richard Gottfried worked to bring $50,000 in State Multi-Modal Transportation Program funds to the High Line.

• Design/MoMA Exhibition: A widely acclaimed Preliminary Design for the first phase of the High Line's transformation (from Gansevoort Street to 15th Street) is on view at the Museum of Modern Art, in New York City, until October 31, 2005. The Preliminary Design was created by Field Operations (landscape architecture), Diller Scofidio + Renfro (architecture), and a team of consultants including experts in engineering, security, lighting, and numerous other disciplines. The Preliminary Design can also be viewed at www.thehighline.org/design.

• Zoning: A rezoning proposal for the West Chelsea neighborhood surrounding the High Line is now moving through the City's public review process. The proposed rezoning includes a number of provisions intended to support the High Line's reuse as a public space. The proposal would also provide opportunities for new residential and commercial development and would enhance the neighborhood's thriving art gallery district. Adoption of the rezoning proposal is expected to take place in June 2005.

• Dia Plans Move to High Line: On May 9, Dia Art Foundation announced a proposal to construct a new museum adjacent to the High Line. The museum would be located at the corner of Gansevoort and Washington Streets, at the High Line's southern terminus, on a City-owned site in the Meatpacking District. Dia seeks to have the main entrance to the new exhibition space on the High Line level. The plan must go through the City's Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) before construction can begin.


High Line Project Background
Since 1999, Friends of the High Line (FHL) has been working to preserve the High Line for reuse as an elevated walkway. The City of New York endorsed the project in 2002, when it filed with the STB for a CITU.

The High Line was built in the 1930s as part of the West Side Improvement, a major transportation infrastructure project which eliminated street-level rail crossings from the northern tip of Manhattan down to Spring Street. When rail traffic declined in the 1960s, the southern section of the Line was demolished.

Legal disputes about the future of the High Line began in the mid-1980s, after the final train rolled down its tracks pulling a carload of frozen turkeys. Underlying property owners began lobbying for the structure's demolition, arguing that the Line prevented them from developing their properties. A local resident named Peter Obletz fought for the Line's preservation, at one point even purchasing the Line from Conrail (the High Line's owner at that time) for $10. The purchase was later challenged and overturned by the underlying property owners.

In 1992, the Interstate Commerce Commission (which later became the STB) issued a conditional abandonment order, which would have allowed demolition of the structure if certain financial conditions were met by the underlying property owners. The attempts to satisfy those conditions were never approved by both the railroad owner and the STB.

In 1999, neighborhood residents Joshua David and Robert Hammond founded Friends of the High Line with the mission of converting the structure to an elevated public space—a greenway or promenade—and began building community support.

The Giuliani administration favored and worked towards the demolition of the High Line. When Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg took office, he directed his administration to take a fresh look at the High Line's potential. In 2002, FHL commissioned an economic feasibility study that showed that the High Line would add value to its surrounding neighborhood, generating $262 million in new tax revenues over a 20-year period. In December of 2002, the City changed its policy and took the first step to converting the High Line to a public walkway by filing with the STB for a CITU. The State of New York and CSX Corporation filed in support of the City's petition in the fall of 2004, and the underlying property owners filed to withdraw their objections to railbanking later that year.


About Friends of the High Line (FHL)
FHL is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization established to preserve the High Line for reuse as an elevated public open space. Support for the project comes from hundreds of local residents, business-owners, and civic organizations, as well numerous elected officials. For more information on Friends of the High Line, please visit www.thehighline.org.


PLEASE NOTE: The High Line is currently private property, owned by CSX Transportation, and managed by CSX and the City. At this time, the site is not open to the public, and trespassers will be subject to prosecution.


Contact:
Joshua David, FHL (212) 206-9922; josh@thehighline.org
Robert Hammond, FHL, (212) 206-9922; robert@thehighline.org # # #

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