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On May 8, David Bowie announced he will curate the first annual High Line Festival in May 2007. Bowie co-founded the series, which will feature ten days of music, art, film, and performance in venues throughout the High Line neighborhood.

Please Note: The High Line Festival is not affiliated with Friends of the High Line or the High Line project. Please direct inquiries to inquiries@highlinefestival.com.

Read the Announcement

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FHL thanks Borough President Stringer for his recent allocation of $2 million in Capital funding as part of the Borough President's FY '07 Capital Budget. The announcement was made at the April 10 Groundbreaking ceremony. Borough President Stringer said,

"This park shows the amazing things that can be created by the talented, hardworking people of the Borough of Manhattan. We lead the country in many creative fields so it's only appropriate that we should tap two world-renowned landscape and architecture firms, Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro, both of whom are based in Manhattan, to create a park design that epitomizes the visionary thinking of this City."

On behalf of our thousands of supporters, FHL thanks the Borough President and his staff for providing these much-needed funds to the High Line as construction begins.

Please join the Meatpacking District Initiative for a panel discussion about the High Line. The event, part of the Sharp Panel Discussions series, will take place on Saturday, May 20, as part of Meatpacking District Design Week. The panel will be moderated by Jacqueline Khiu, Design Editor for Surface Magazine. Participants will include FHL's Special Projects Manager, Meredith Taylor, Zoe Ryan of the Van Alen Institute, Erik Botsford of the Department of City Planning, and a member of the High Line design team.

High Line Panel Discussion
Bumble and bumble auditorium
415 West 13th Street, 3rd Floor
Saturday, May 20, 4:00 PM
RSVP Required


RSVP to abe@abenyc.com or (212) 924-0510

View the Complete Design Week Schedule.

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On April 5, 2006, over 300 High Line supporters attended a presentation by Piet Oudolf, planting designer for the High Line, at the Cedar Lake Theater, in Chelsea. The presentation can now be viewed on FHL's Web site.

Based in the Netherlands, Oudolf was one of the first planting designers to introduce large-scale perennial plantings into public landscapes. He is known for establishing captivating, dynamic, and durable landscapes of texture, fragrance, and color, with a particular interest in seasonal variation, plant life cycle, and transformation over time. His planting design for the High Line has been inspired by the self-seeded landscape that grew on the out-of-use elevated rail tracks during the 25 years after the trains stopped running.

Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet is offering a special discount to FHL supporters for Cedar Lake's upcoming spring season, May 9 – June 4.

The spring season will launch with the world premiere of "Hammer," a full-evening work by Cedar Lake Artistic Director Benoit-Swan Pouffer. Program B, beginning May 31, reprises the company's successful January 2006 "Dream Collaborations" and features three new dances by emerging choreographers Nicolo Fonte, Emily Molnar, and Artistic Director Pouffer.

Cedar Lake Theater, Manhattan's newest dance destination, is located at 547 West 26th Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues.

Go to www.smarttix.com and enter discount code "FHL" to receive a discounted $17.50 ticket (an over 40% discount from the full price of $30).

View the Cedar Lake Listings.

Join FHL and the New York Transit Museum for an interpretive, street-level walking tour led by architectural historian Matt Postal. The tour will focus on the High Line's former use as a rail viaduct.

Thursday, May 18, 6:00 PM
$20 for the general public
$15 for New York Transit Museum members


Space is very limited. Reservations and advance payment required: (718) 694-1867

The City of New York Department of Parks & Recreation seeks a High Line Project Administrator. The Project Administrator will serve as a senior manager within the Department of Parks & Recreation, overseeing plans for the adaptive reuse of the High Line as public open space.

A Citywide Job Vacancy Notice was posted for this position on April 7, 2006. Cover letters and resumes must be received on or before April 21, 2006. View Job Vacancy Notice

Important note: Cover letters and resumes must be directed to the City of New York Department of Parks & Recreation at the address included in the Job Vacancy Notice. Do not phone or send materials to Friends of the High Line (FHL).

Background: Since November 2005, when the City of New York took ownership, the High Line has been under the jurisdiction of the Department of Parks & Recreation. FHL still plays an essential role in the project. FHL began as an advocacy group; as the park develops, FHL will likely evolve into a conservancy, following the model of Central Park Conservancy and other park conservancies across the city. Raising private funds for construction and future maintenance will be an important part of FHL's mission. Together with the City and the Department of Parks & Recreation, FHL will help make certain that the High Line is designed, built, maintained, operated, and programmed at a level of excellence that ensures its future as one of the city's best-loved parks.

MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND FRIENDS OF THE HIGH LINE HOST RAIL LIFTING CEREMONY TO MARK START OF CONSTRUCTION OF NEW YORK CITY'S NEWEST PARK ON WEST SIDE ELEVATED RAIL STRUCTURE

Mayor Also Announces $5 Million Private Gift from Diller – von Furstenberg Family Foundation


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Friends of the High Line (FHL) Co-Founders Robert Hammond and Joshua David today hosted a unique groundbreaking ceremony on top of the High Line elevated rail structure, heralding the start of construction of the first phase of New York City's eagerly anticipated park. To mark the occasion, the City's contractors lifted one of the few remaining railroad tracks in the first section of the 1.5-mile-long High Line to be converted to park use. This first section of the park will run from Gansevoort Street to West 20th Street, and is projected to open in Spring 2008. During the ceremony, the Mayor also announced a $5 million gift to the High Line project from the Diller – von Furstenberg Family Foundation; the gift marks the start of a major fundraising effort by Friends of the High Line (FHL), in cooperation with the City of New York, to attract private funds to the construction of the park and establish an endowment for future programming and operations.

U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton, Representative Jerrold Nadler, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding Daniel L. Doctoroff, City Planning Director Amanda M. Burden, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Barry Diller, Diane von Furstenberg, FHL Board of Directors Member Edward Norton, and supporters historian Robert Caro and actor Kevin Bacon attended the announcement atop the High Line at West 14th Street.

"It's a great day when we can begin construction on a new park that will serve New Yorkers for years to come," said Mayor Bloomberg. "I'm especially pleased to see the Diller – von Furstenberg family's leadership in bringing private support to this historic public project, which will turn an abandoned remnant of our past into a prized possession for future generations. The High Line serves as a powerful example of the extraordinary things that can be accomplished when New Yorkers work together to build something important for our future. When it's complete, it will be a one-of-a-kind elevated open space uniting the Gansevoort Market Historic District, West Chelsea and the Hudson Yards, enhancing the value and the quality of living in these West Side neighborhoods, and creating a unique destination for New Yorkers and visitors to our City."

Today's ceremony marks the official start of construction of a park on the High Line elevated rail structure. Construction will start with site preparation (2006-7), which includes removal of rail tracks and ballast, comprehensive waterproofing, and stripping and painting of all steel. This will be followed by construction of the public landscape (2007-8), which includes access systems (stairs and elevators), pathways, plantings, seating, lighting, safety enhancements and other features. A preliminary design for the first phase of the High Line's transformation, by the design team of Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro, can be viewed at www.thehighline.org. The design will continue to evolve as the project moves through site preparation to the start of construction of the public landscape.

"Breaking ground on the High Line will kick-start West Side development and break the culture of inertia that has plagued the area," 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. 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."

"Today, as we celebrate the High Line, a terrific public project, we also celebrate the open, collaborative process between communities and their elected leaders that has allowed this project to progress," said Senator Clinton. "It will be exciting to see this initiative move forward to create a great public amenity – a unique destination where New Yorkers will be able to find a peaceful oasis above the hustle and bustle of the city streets."

"Once called the 'Life Line of New York,' for decades this historic railway played a vital role in the life of the West Side, bringing food, goods, and raw materials into the City," said Representative Nadler. "Its impending transformation means that the High Line will benefit generations of New Yorkers for decades to come. As a member of the New York Assembly, I fought for its preservation in the 20th Century, and I am thrilled to have contributed to its rebirth in the 21st."

"I started working on the High Line when it was the dream of a handful of residents that I represent as the Council Member from the 3rd District," said Speaker Quinn. "Now it has grown into a project that benefits our entire city, and I'm pleased to be able to work as Speaker to create seven acres of much-needed new parkland."

"This park shows the amazing things that can be created by the talented, hardworking people of the Borough of Manhattan," said Borough President Stringer. "We lead the country in many creative fields so it's only appropriate that we should tap two world-renowned landscape and architecture firms, Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro, both of whom are based in Manhattan, to create a park design that epitomizes the visionary thinking of this City."

"The High Line epitomizes the promise of the West Side," said Deputy Mayor Doctoroff. "Nowhere else in the world will there be anything like the High Line – a park 30 feet in the air, cutting through the center of city blocks, passing through converted factories, and inspiring some of the world's greatest architects to create new buildings to house the new residents and new jobs that will continue to make New York dynamic and strong. This project will accrue immeasurable benefits to the City and enhance its residents' quality of life."

With today's announcement of a $5 million gift from the Diller – von Furstenberg Family Foundation, the current funding total for the project is almost $130 million – approximately $103 million of which is public funds, including $33 million from the City and $45.75 million from the City Council. In January 2005, $3 million in federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ) funding was allocated by the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council's New York City Transportation Coordinating Committee. In August 2005, Senators Schumer and Clinton and U.S. Representative Nadler announced they had secured $18 million in capital funding in the multi-year federal transportation bill. These elected officials also brought $1.5 million to the project in appropriations bills in 2004 and 2005. In addition, State Assemblymember Gottfried worked to bring $50,000 in State Multi-Modal Transportation Program funds to the project. Lastly, as part of the City's rezoning of West Chelsea, a provision was added that allows developers at three sites to build additional floor area in exchange for High Line improvements, and this is anticipated to account for another $22 million in private funding for the project. Total cost for both Phase 1 and 2 of the project is estimated at $170 million, with much of the remainder expected to be raised privately.

"There are very few activities as fulfilling as enriching the life of a great city," said Barry Diller. "The transformation of the High Line into a park that future generations will forever enjoy is a joyful prospect for our family. We hope this gift will stimulate others who care about New York, especially this High Line District, where Diane and I are now both involved in building projects for ourselves and our companies."

"The start of construction also begins a transformation at Friends of the High Line, which began as an advocacy group fighting to save the High Line in 1999," said FHL's Robert Hammond. "Now, we will refocus our energies to raise private funds for the park's construction and for its future maintenance and programming. We owe a debt to established park conservancies – like the Central Park Conservancy – for demonstrating the importance of private support for public parks, and we are confident that the exemplary leadership of the Diller – von Furstenberg family will encourage other visionary individuals to step forward and provide the critical resources we need to build, maintain, and program this one-of-a-kind public amenity."

Friends of the High Line (FHL), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, began advocating for the High Line's reuse as public open space in 1999. In 2002, the Bloomberg Administration endorsed the project when it filed with the Surface Transportation Board (STB) requesting authorization to create a railbanked trail on the High Line. The STB gave that authorization, in the form of a Certificate of Interim Trail Use (CITU), in June 2005. That same month the West Chelsea neighborhood surrounding the High Line was rezoned to support its reuse as a public space, to provide opportunities for new residential and commercial development, and to enhance the neighborhood's thriving art gallery district. That rezoning plan is being recognized later this month with a national planning award by the American Planning Association.

"The High Line is an irreplaceable opportunity for the City of New York," said City Planning Director Burden. "At the Mayor's direction, we devised unique zoning tools to serve the multiple goals of preserving and transforming the High Line, protecting the art gallery district, and creating new housing and an economically integrated neighborhood."

"The development of the High Line demonstrates our commitment to finding innovative ways to continue the greening of New York City," said Commissioner Benepe. "Piet Oudolf's inventive planting designs will provide a powerful horticultural experience that will provide a meditative oasis of over a hundred different plant and tree species that will rival the legendary Hanging Gardens of Babylon."

"We are delighted that our donation of the High Line to the City of New York will result in a new public space for residents and tourists to enjoy," said CSX Corporation Vice President for Federal Regulation and General Counsel Peter Shudtz. "This exciting day would not have been possible without the dedication and coordination of many in the public, nonprofit, and private sectors. We are especially appreciative of the partnership and commitment of the Bloomberg Administration to turn this property into a public amenity, and we commend the vision and persistence of Robert Hammond and Joshua David of Friends of the High Line who tirelessly advocated for the High Line's reuse."

The City acquired the title to the High Line elevated rail viaduct from CSX Transportation, Inc., in November 2005. That same month, the City and CSX signed a Trail Use Agreement, permitting the rail structure to be used by the public as a recreational amenity. Construction officially began this month and the first section of the High Line is projected to open to the public in 2008. The High Line is an active construction site and not open to the public at this time; trespassers are subject to prosecution.

A public, street-level celebration across the street from the High Line followed the official groundbreaking ceremony. The celebration, sponsored by Chelsea Market, featured theatrical tributes to the industrial history of the High Line, and music by the marching band of the New York City Lab School for Collaborative Studies, a public school on West 17th Street.


Contact: Stu Loeser/Jennifer Falk (212) 788-2958
Rachaele Raynoff (City Planning) (212) 720-3471
Warner Johnston (Parks) (212) 360-1311
Joshua David/Katie Lorah (FHL) (212) 206-9922
On Sunday, February 5, the New York Times ran an article on the history of the High Line and its relationship to the industrial West Side. The article ran in the City section and featured photographs taken during the High Line's construction in the early 1930s.

Read the New York Times article.

Additionally, WNBC's Jane's New York recently won a New York Emmy award for its "On the High Line" episode. The show, which originally aired in October 2004, took the award in the "Environmental Programming" category. The awards aired March 20, 2006.

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The City of New York and Friends of the High Line invite you to celebrate Groundbreaking on Monday, April 10, from 12:00 noon to 1:30 PM. This exciting event will mark the official beginning of the High Line's transformation into public open space. The free, street-level, public celebration will include a light lunch and entertainment. Since Friends of the High Line was founded in 1999, we've used this E-Mail Newsletter to call our supporters to action. We've urged you to write letters, help us raise money, testify at hearings, and volunteer for events. We hope you will now join us to celebrate this dream becoming a reality.

Reservations are required.

Monday, April 10, 2006
12:00 noon – 1:30 PM
Little West 12th Street between 9th Avenue & Washington Street
Rain or shine

RSVP to groundbreaking@thehighline.org or (212) 206-9922

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