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 A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization
FHL E-Mail Newsletter
May 13, 2004

Master Plan Finalists to Exhibit at AIA's Center for Architecture; Exhibition Preview at FHL's July 14 Summer Benefit
July 14 Summer Benefit - Cocktail Tickets Selling Out
Presentations from Two High Line-based Education Programs
Michael Arad, WTC Memorial Architect, Joins Firm of FHL Boardmember Gary Handel
Other High Lines: A National and International Movement to Reuse Elevated Rail Structures

An exhibition of design approaches to the High Line's conversion to public open space, featuring work by three design teams competing to create the High Line master plan, will be mounted in mid-July 2004. First there will be a one-night preview of the exhibition at Diane von Furstenberg Studio on July 14 as part of FHL's 4th Annual Summer Benefit - buy tickets. The exhibition will then publicly open at the AIA Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Place, where it can be viewed free of charge for several weeks. More information about the opening at the Center for Architecture, open hours, and public events associated with the exhibition will be forthcoming in future FHL E-Mail Newsletters.

The three teams exhibiting work will be finalists in a multi-stage design team selection process that began in March and is being jointly conducted by FHL and the City of New York. It is expected that one of the teams exhibiting will be contracted to design a master plan for the Line. Following team selection, the master planning process is expected to begin in September 2004, with regular opportunities for public participation.

It's important to note that the work to be exhibited this summer will not represent final design proposals. FHL and the City of New York are working to select a team, not a specific design. The teams have each been asked to illustrate their project approach, with the understanding that the master plan itself will be developed following team selection, with regular consultation with the City, FHL, and the greater High Line community.


Tickets at some price-levels for FHL's July 14 Summer Benefit have sold out. Buy tickets now to assure your place at this exciting summer event.

Pre-benefit cocktail party, fashion show, and exhibition preview at Diane von Furstenberg Studio:
Tickets at the $150 level have sold out. A limited number of tickets at the $250 level are still available.

Benefit dinner overlooking the High Line at Phillips, de Pury & Company (including pre-benefit cocktail, fashion show, and exhibition preview at Diane von Furstenberg Studio):
A limited number of tickets at the $500 level are still available. After the $500 tickets sell out, the lowest ticket-price will be $1,000.

Buy Tickets


The unique nature of the High Line structure, its history, and efforts to reuse it, make it a valuable tool for teaching New York City students about history, architecture, planning, and preservation. FHL conducts its own education program, working directly with high school teachers and students in the High Line neighborhoods, and this year two major non-profit cultural institutions have initiated High Line teaching programs. FHL has been actively involved with Cooper-Hewitt's "City of Neighborhoods" program, inspiring New York City high school students to create reuse proposals for the High Line. Dia:Chelsea and Eyebeam, meanwhile, have joined in their "New Media Collaborative" program to work with students from Bayard Rustin High School for the Humanities to create High Line-themed digital art projects in Web design, sound, performance, and video art. This month, "City of Neighborhoods" and "New Media Collaborative" both present student work:

New Media Collaborative: Exploring the High Line
Friday, May 14, 4:00pm - 6:00pm
541 West 21st Street (10th - 11th Avenues)
No RSVP required

A City of Neighborhoods: Designing the High Line
Tuesday, May 25, 7:30pm - 9:30pm
The Aurora Gallery
515 West 29th Street, 2nd Floor (10th - 11th Avenues)
RSVP (212) 849-8380


Michael Arad, whose "Reflecting Absence" proposal won the World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition, has joined the firm of FHL board member Gary Edward Handel. In the New York Times Arad said of Handel, "It's almost like a shared DNA. I felt that I could confide in him and that we would be able to work together very well." Handel Architects will now hold the memorial design contract with the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. In the New York Times Handel said, "The opportunity to use your skills to contribute to such an important project is something you just can't walk away from.… It will have first call on all of our time."

Gary Edward Handel is a founding board member of Friends of the High Line. His work advocating on behalf of the High Line's preservation and reuse has been crucial to FHL's success, and his vision and expert guidance played a major role in the success of the "Designing the High Line" ideas competition. Since 1999, Handel's firm has donated thousands of hours of pro-bono assistance to the High Line project. Ed Tachibana, an architect at Handel Architects, designed FHL's new Meat Packing District office and designed and produced FHL's 2002 "Reclaiming the High Line" exhibition at the Municipal Art Society.


The High Line's conversion to public open space will transform 1.5 miles of Manhattan, but it also will serve as a model for cities across the country—and around the world. In recent months, FHL has consulted with two new groups working to create public open spaces on elevated rail structures like the High Line: the Reading Viaduct, in Philadelphia, and the Hofpleinlijn, in Rotterdam.

Below, you will find information about the Reading Viaduct and the Hofpleinlijn, and other elevated rail structures, including viaducts and bridges, in various stages of conversion to public open space. As you can see, cities around the world contain underused, underappreciated structures like the High Line. It's part of our mission at FHL to make the High Line a model for the innovative reuse of these structures to create open space, sustainable transportation options, and social and economic benefits.

We would love to make this list more comprehensive. If you know of a project we should add, please e-mail josh@thehighline.org.

Reading Viaduct, Philadelphia
Reading Railroad commuter trains used this 4.7-acre, mile-long viaduct, near the center of downtown Philadelphia, to enter Reading Terminal, at 12th and Market Street (currently the Grand Hall of the Pennsylvania Convention Center). Built in 1890, the viaduct is a combination of embankment sections bridged by steel structures and arched masonry bridges. Service stopped on the viaduct in 1984, when an underground commuter tunnel replaced the viaduct. Today the viaduct's four elevated tracks have been overtaken by grasses and trees. It offers spectacular views of the Callowhill neighborhood and the downtown Philadelphia skyline. In 2003, residents of the Reading Viaduct neighborhood formed the Reading Viaduct Project, with the goal of transforming the viaduct to an elevated walkway in conjunction with the redevelopment of their neighborhood.

The Hofpleinlijn, Rotterdam
The Hofpleinlijn is a 1.2-mile-long concrete rail viaduct built in 1908. CityCorp, a partnership of housing associations based in Rotterdam, envisions reuse of the Hofpleinlijn viaduct—a national landmark—as a catalyst for development of the adjacent communities. In 2003, CityCorp commissioned New Amsterdam Development Consultants, a New York City-based company, to study New York's High Line and the work of Friends of the High Line as models for reuse strategies for the Hofpleinlijn.
(Web site information is limited. For more information, contact Frank Uffen, uffen@nadcny.com, (212) 371-9860)

Bloomingdale Trail, Chicago
This elevated embankment with 37 bridges on the North Side of Chicago is owned by Canadian Pacific Railway (CP Rail). The mission of Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail is to transform the embankment into a mixed-use trail. The plan has the support of all the local aldermen along its route, and the City of Chicago has begun developing concept plans for the Trail as a component of its Logan Square Open Space Plan. In addition, the City funded an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the project.

Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail
In development since 2000, the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail will, when completed, stretch from Mile Marker 106 in Key Largo to Mile Marker 0 in Key West. In many sections, it will adaptively reuse overseas bridges of Henry Flagler's railroad route as bike/pedestrian trails. There are 23 historic bridges in total, and three of them have already been listed on the National Register. 17 can feasibly be retrofitted for trail use. Five of them have already been opened to trail use in the Saddlebunch Keys, with a combined length of four miles. Another historic bridge is open to bike and pedestrian traffic at Pigeon Key. Over the course of the next four years, the State Division of Parks will concentrate on retrofitting bridges between Key West and Islamorada.

Harsimus Stem Embankment, Jersey City
Built in 1902, the Pennsylvania Railroad Harsimus Stem Embankment is a former rail viaduct that runs for six blocks along Sixth Street in downtown Jersey City. It was entered into the State Register of Historic Places in 1999, is eligible for the National Register, and was named a Municipal Landmark in January 2003. The Embankment once served as the eastern freight terminus for the Pennsylvania Railroad, the most powerful railroad in the nation, and contributed to the growth of the Port of New York and the greater metropolitan area. Seven tracks ran on top of the structure, which descended almost to grade level at its eastern end, where it entered the Harsimus Yards on the Hudson River waterfront. Goods shipped via the Embankment were loaded onto a flotilla of boats for transport across the Hudson River, New York Harbor, and the East River. To the south, at the Pennsylvania Railroad passenger terminal—once the largest passenger terminal in the world—travelers ended their cross-country rail trips and boarded ferries for New York or destinations beyond. That terminal is long gone, but the freightway remains. In 1998, the Embankment Preservation Coalition formed with the mission of preserving the historic structure and developing its top as passive open space, integrating the site into a network of local and regional pedestrian and biking trails. In 2003, the East Coast Greenway Alliance, which is joining local trails in a 2600-mile pedestrian and bicycling path from Florida to Maine, endorsed a route through New Jersey that includes the Embankment. In 2004, Jersey City Mayor Glenn D. Cunningham announced he would take the Embankment by eminent domain from Conrail, and the Municipal Council unanimously passed a resolution in support of Green Acres funding for acquisition.

The Promenade Plantée, Paris
From the late 1980s through the mid-1990s, the city of Paris successfully converted the 19th-century elevated Viaduc Daumesnil, in the 12th Arrondissement, near the Bastille, into a pedestrian walkway called the Promenade Plantée. Rail traffic had stopped on the viaduct in 1969. The 3-mile linear park, designed by Philippe Mathieu and Jacques Vergely, is lavishly planted and offers stairs and elevators for access. Retail spaces, designed by Patrick Berger, were created in the spaces under the masonry arches supporting the structure. The project as a whole helped revitalize the surrounding neighborhood, inspiring new residents and businesses to come to the area. The Promenade Plantée also goes by two other names: le Viaduc des Arts, and la Coulée Verte.

Stone Arch Bridge, Minneapolis
This 2,100-foot-long granite and limestone bridge, crossing the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis, was built in 1882-3 to move freight and passengers across the river. It is the only stone arch bridge to cross the Mississippi, and it incorporates an unusual 6-degree curve on the west bank of the river to provide smooth access to the Union Railway Depot (now demolished). It was a working rail bridge until 1978. Rehabilitation of this National Historic Engineering Landmark began in 1993. It now accommodates pedestrians and cyclists, and it is part of the two-mile St. Anthony Falls Heritage Trail. The bridge offers excellent views of adjacent St. Anthony Falls, the only true waterfall on the Mississippi River. It also connects to Mill Ruins Park, a historical park containing the ruins of the 19th century flour mills that were major engines of the Minneapolis economy. Nearby, a former Northern Pacific rail bridge (known locally as "Bridge 9") spanning the Mississippi River just downstream of St. Anthony Falls was reopened as the Dinkytown Bikeway Connection in June 2000. The 1400-foot-long bridge was purchased by the city of Minneapolis for $1 in 1986 after years of disuse and was refurbished in 2000-2001 using federal TEA-21 funding. The rail-to-trail conversion is part of the city's extensive bikeway network and connects the East and West Bank campuses of the University of Minnesota.

The High Line, New York City
The High Line, a 1.5-mile-long elevated rail structure on Manhattan's West Side, was constructed in the 1930s as part of one of New York City's largest investments in transportation infrastructure, called the West Side Improvement Project. No trains have run on it in over 20 years. A lush urban wilderness has seeded itself on the High Line's tracks. In 1999, neighborhood residents founded Friends of the High Line, a non-profit organization, with the mission of converting the structure to an elevated public space—a greenway or promenade. In December 2002, the City of New York took the first step in converting the High Line to a walkway through federal rails-to-trails legislation. In March, 2004, Friends of the High Line, in conjunction with the City of New York, officially started the process that will lead to the selection of the design team that will create the master plan for the new public open space. A design team selection is expected by September 2004.


Though the future of the High Line looks much brighter now that the City of New York stands firmly behind efforts to create a great new public space on the structure, we still face many legal and financial challenges. By making an online donation, you will become part of an ever-growing group of supporters and will be invited to every major Friends of the High Line public event.


Click the DONATE button above and fill in the secure form to donate online by check or credit card (American Express, Discover, Mastercard and Visa). Friends of the High Line uses PayPal, which lets any individual or business with an e-mail address securely send donations online.



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New York, NY 10014
(212) 206-9922
(212) 206-9118 fax

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