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EnlargePhoto by Kathleen Fitzgerald | OCD

Friends of the High Line, along with our partners at the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, is proud to announce that the third and northernmost section of the park – the High Line at the Rail Yards – will open to the public on Sunday, September 21, 2014.

Read the full announcement, and learn more about the Rail Yards.

EnlargePhoto by Liz Ligon

We will be celebrating the opening of the Rail Yards with a full week of programs. Beginning Monday, September 22 we will host wellness programs, live music and performances, educational talks and tours, after school programs, and so much more.

Read about opening week activities on the High Line Blog.

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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

On February 13, more than 300 people attended a High Line design presentation at the Cedar Lake Theater in West Chelsea. After the presentation, members of the design team, FHL, and the City of New York answered questions from the audience. Attendees were also encouraged to submit their questions in writing. The Q & A from the presentation is now available.

View the Q & A

Read the Villager Article about the Design Presentation.

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Please join FHL and the City of New York for a special public lecture by Piet Oudolf, planting designer for the High Line design team. The lecture will focus on Oudolf's collaboration with the design team Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Piet Oudolf is among the world's most innovative planting designers, and he was one of the first to introduce large-scale perennial plantings into public landscapes. His planned plantings for the High Line are inspired by the self-seeded landscape on the elevated track bed today. Proposed plant communities combine existing and new species to increase diversity and resilience.

Seating is limited and reservations are required. Wednesday, April 5, 2006
6:00 PM
Cedar Lake Theater
547 West 26th Street
(Between 10th & 11th Avenues)

RSVP by April 3 to meredith@thehighline.org or (212) 206-9922

Eyebeam, an arts organization in Chelsea, is teaming with Helsinki-based artist Liisa Roberts to create a series of very short films based on individuals' experiences and visions of the High Line. Roberts writes:

"For many, the elevated West Side rail line has been a secret garden among New York City's bustling street life and this undocumented aspect of its history can be saved alongside its future life as a public park. This project will attempt to archive the unique personal significance the High Line represents for many community residents."

Roberts and Eyebeam are looking for participants who are interested in contributing stories, developing them into storyboards and working on visualization at Eyebeam's production studios. For more information, e-mail liisarob@gmail.com or call Masha at (646) 201-3843.

Please respond by April 7, 2006.

  Earlier this month, the City's team of contractors began pre-construction work on the southern end of the High Line, the first section to be converted into public open space. The contractors began by installing protective fencing around the decorative railings on the High Line's southern end at Gansevoort Street. The fencing is intended to protect and preserve the High Line's iconic steel railings during the first phase of construction. Additional pre-construction work involves removal and storage of material and debris currently on the Line. Phase I of construction (site preparation on Gansevoort to 20th Streets) is officially set to begin on April 10, with a Groundbreaking ceremony.

Please join the City of New York and Friends of the High Line at the Cedar Lake Theater for a High Line design update from Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the design team currently at work on plans for the High Line's transform-ation to public open space. The presentation will focus on the schematic design for the first section of the Line to be constructed, from Gansevoort Street to 20th Street. Much new material has been developed since the last Public Design Presentation, in May 2005 (read the Q & A from the May Design Presentation). The presentation will be followed by an open question-and-answer session. The team's schematic design will continue to evolve, under the guidance of the City of New York and Friends of the High Line, in the subsequent design development phase, and community input will play a vital role in this process.

Space is limited and reservations are required, so RSVP by February 10 to secure your seat.

High Line Public Design Presentation
Monday, February 13, 6:30pm
FREE
RSVP by February 10:
E-mail community@thehighline.org


Cedar Lake Theater
547 West 26th Street (Between 10th and 11th Avenues)
Subway: Take C, E to 8th Avenue and 23rd Street
Bus: M23 Crosstown to 10th Avenue


Thanks to Cedar Lake for the use of their new theater. Cedar Lake is a New York-based contemporary ballet company dedicated to bringing attention to the talent of recognized and emerging choreographers.

As we prepare for the much-anticipated start of construction on the High Line, you may notice activity on the High Line in the coming month. Protective fencing will be constructed by the City's contractors on the High Line from Gansevoort Street to 20th Street—the first section of the Line to be transformed. This fencing will protect the structure's iconic steel railings during construction. It will also protect workers on the High Line and people on the streets below. A precise start-date for the construction itself has not been identified, but we expect that work will begin in the next few months.

Following these preparations, construction of Section 1 will include two separate scopes of work: site preparation (2006-2007), followed by construction of the access systems and public landscape (2007-2008). Site preparation will include removal and storage of railroad tracks; removal of gravel ballast; steel and concrete repair; abatement and painting of steel; repairs to the drainage system; and pigeon mitigation.

It's important to note that much of the self-sown landscape currently atop the High Line must be removed to permit repairs to the underlying structure. This is being done only after careful study of the long-term needs of the High Line structure and the future public amenity. A number of steps will taken to ensure that historic and wild quality of the High Line, as documented in Joel Sternfeld's photographs, is embodied by the future public landscape. Some rails will be returned to their original locations (every inch of rail has been mapped and tagged to enable sections to be reinstalled). And in their landscape design, the design team takes cues from the meadows, thickets, and robust grasses that now grow wild on the High Line. To learn more about plans for the public landscape, please join FHL and the City of New York on Monday, February 13, for a free High Line Public Design Presentation.

FHL encourages you to take pictures of the structure now (from the street or from adjoining buildings), before its transformation begins. Take pictures before February 15. Send your favorites to katie@thehighline.org and we will try to post as many as possible on our Web site. Remember: The High Line remains off-limits to the public, and trespassers are subject to prosecution, so please limit yourself to taking pictures from street level or from adjoining buildings.

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