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 email@example.com