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Friends of the High Line Newsletter

June 18, 2009

A Note from Josh & Robert

Park visitors in the Chelsea Grasslands at 20th Street. Thanks to the Tiffany & Co. Foundation

Nearly 100,000 people have visited the High Line in the ten days since the ribbon was cut! We’re thrilled with the critical raves that the park’s design has received, but it is the park visitors who have truly brought the High Line to life. After ten years of work, it wonderful to see so many smiling faces up on the High Line.

We've also included some of our favorite photos from the past week. If you have great photos from your visit to the High Line, please send them our way, to info@thehighline.org.

The Gansevoort Plaza, Stair, and Overlook

First – a few things we want you to remember about visiting the High Line:

  1. Please come see what you’ve helped us create! It's better than we ever imagined!

  2. You may have read that we sometimes limit entry to control crowding – but actually it's pretty rare. So far, the only times we've had to ask people to wait to enter was on Saturday and Sunday, between 1:00 PM and 4:00 PM. The wait was not more that 30 minutes. Most people who waited told us they understood why we have to do this at peak hours – for public safety, and to ensure that the very special landscape we've created is not damaged.

  3. Also, please remember that for our first few weekends, you will need to go to the Gansevoort Street access point to enter. This is just a temporary measure, so we are able to get a better sense of visitor numbers and how and when people use the park.

  4. Sorry, dogs and bikes are not allowed on the High Line. We love dogs (Josh is a dog owner, and he wishes he could bring his dog to the High Line, too), but once you're up there, we think you'll understand why we need to protect the new plantings and ensure public safety by prohibiting dogs in our opening season. As for bikes, we're avid cyclists, too – half the Friends of the High Line staff bikes to work every morning. But the High Line's paths are too narrow for both bikes and pedestrians to share safely. The good news for cyclists: Next week, a whole new batch of bike racks will be installed at the Gansevoort Stair.

  5. Please stay on the pathways and don't walk in the gravel. We've used gravel mulch on the High Line, recalling the gravel ballast of the original High Line landscape. But the gravel is part of the planting bed, and if you walk on it, you'll compress soil and plant roots, and it will damage the landscape.

  6. Please come back again and again. The landscape is ever-changing, with different plants in bloom every week. And there's always a warm and welcoming social scene on the High Line.
Students from Chelsea's PS11 at Ribbon-Cutting. Photo by Patrick McMullan

You can come to the High Line any day, any time between 7:00 AM and 10:00 PM. These are some of the times we like best:

Weekday Mornings: This is one of Josh's favorite times to visit, when the High Line is at its most tranquil, bathed in gentle sun. On recent mornings, Josh has met his neighbors taking their morning walks, photographers snapping pictures of all the blooms, people with briefcases on their way to work, and tourists with guidebooks, starting their day in New York with a visit this special place. Morning is also the best time to appreciate just how many bees, butterflies, and birds now visit the High Line. One bird-watching friend just e-mailed us that he spotted a barn swallow – he says this is a common bird in the Northeast, but not seen so often in Manhattan.

Weekday Evenings: We all love going to the High Line on weekday evenings, when the High Line becomes a vibrant social promenade. Most, if not all, of the Sundeck's lounge chairs are filled with people watching the sunset. Friends gather in the 10th Avenue Square to watch the lights come on in Midtown. Couples wander slowly along the paths, holding hands. It's very romantic. Robert says his favorite time to go is after dark, because of the High Line's lighting system, designed by L'Observatoire International, in partnership with the design team of James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro – it's one of the most beautiful nighttime landscapes imaginable.

Weekends: This is when we get our greatest crowds, especially from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM. It's lively and fun, but when the High Line gets too crowded, we are occasionally forced to limit entry. You may have to wait in line, but it shouldn't be more than 30 minutes.

Nighttime on the Sundeck. Photo by Jose Martinez. Sundeck & Water Feature thanks to the Diller - von Furstenberg Family Foundation

Other things to know:

Greeters: At many times, you’ll see our Greeters on the High Line. They’re wearing grey T-shirts with a green High Line logo, and many of them wear a button, "Ask me about the High Line." They’re unpaid volunteers, and we’re very lucky to have them donating their time. They can answer basic questions about the High Line's history, the landscape design, and point you to the nearest exit. They can also give you a sign-up brochure for our membership program.

High Line Staff: They wear navy-blue or cream T-shirts with the High Line logo. You'll see them weeding, planting new plants, emptying trash, cleaning bathrooms, and doing all the other work that is necessary to keep the High Line safe and looking great. They are all Friends of the High Line employees. Support from people like you allows us to pay them for this essential work.

Photography: Photography is permitted for personal and journalistic use only, and as long as photographic equipment doesn't block the pathways or otherwise interfere with normal park use. (And please, send your photos to us at info@thehighline.org.) We are currently not issuing any permits for commercial still photo or film shoots on the High Line.

Events: We are not currently issuing permits for private events on the High Line.

Food: The High Line currently has two places to buy snacks and drinks: on street level near the Gansevoort Access Point, and inside the Chelsea Market Passage, near the Spencer Finch art installation. City Bakery is the current concession, serving homemade cookies, pretzels, iced tea and lemonade (with a $1 discount to Friends of the High Line members.) In our opening year, we will be working with a different temporary concession every month. We will likely transition to a permanent concession next year.

Lunchtime in the Gansevoort Woodland. Photo by Tim Schenck. Gansevoort Woodland thanks to Donald Pels & Wendy Keys

Whenever you come, there's a good chance you'll see one of the two of us up there – particularly in the morning or evening. If you recognize us, please come up and tell us what you think. So far, the feedback we've received has been almost universally positive. But we always want to hear what you think. You can also send your comments or questions to info@thehighline.org.

Thank you for making the High Line possible! We hope you love it as much as we do!

Josh and Robert
Friends of the High Line

A park visitor enjoying one of the High Line's "peel-up" benches. Photo by Erik Botsford


The High Line in the Press

In his very positive review, The New York Times' Nicolai Ouroussoff called the High Line "One of the most thoughtful, sensitively designed public spaces built in New York in years."

The High Line has been in the news a lot in the past week. Here are some of our favorite pieces:

On High, a Fresh Outlook   The New York Times Architecture Review

Renovated High Line Now Open for Strolling   The New York Times

On the High Line: A Garden in the Sky   The New York Times Panoramic Image

New York Debuts Highly Anticipated New Park   Wall Street Journal Video

High Line an Oasis in the Sky   New York Post

It's High Time: The City's Amazing New Elevated Park is a Sight to Behold   New York Daily News

Beyond the Hype   Metropolis

Abandoned Rail Line Gets New Life as NYC Park   Morning Edition, NPR

High Line's Secret Garden Grows Where Cows Took Last Journey   Bloomberg.com Architecture Review

The Beauty of a Park   Design Observer

And in case you thought we bought off the press, here is our favorite negative review:

9 Reasons Why the High Line Sucks   Oobject (Treehugger.com wrote a quick rebuttal.)


Summer on the High Line: Program Calendar

To make the High Line a vibrant cultural and social gathering place, we've developed an opening season calendar of free and low-cost public events both on and off the High Line. We hope you can join us!

To become a member of Friends of the High Line, and receive first notice about our public programs and discounts on many of them, visit our membership page.

To see our full calendar of events, please visit our events page. RSVP is required for all events.


Saturday, July 18, 11:00 AM: High Line Hunt
Join Dorothea Basile and ARTime to discover hidden secrets of the High Line, including train tracks, mystery tunnels, and pinwheels.

Saturday, July 25, 3:00 PM: Workshop and Parade
Join Bash the Trash Environmental Arts to build and parade with your own musical instrument made with recycled materials.
10th Avenue Square, on the High Line at 17th Street

Saturday, August 1, 3:00 PM: Storytelling by Felix Pitre with Coqui the Frog
Told in Spanish and English.
10th Avenue Square, on the High Line at 17th Street

Tuesday, August 4, 4:00 PM: Butterflies on the High Line
Join artist Michael DeFeo to learn about pollinators on the High Line and make your own butterfly magnet.

Saturday, September 26, 11:00 AM: High Line Hunt
Join Dorothea Basile and ARTime to discover hidden secrets of the High Line including train tracks, mystery tunnels, and pinwheels.


Saturday, June 20, 11:00 AM: Chelsea Gallery Tour
Lauren Ross, Curator & Director of Arts Programs
$5 for High Line Members
$10 for Non-Members

Saturday, June 27, 11:00 AM: Chelsea Gallery Tour
Lauren Ross, Curator & Director of Arts Programs, Friends of the High Line
$5 for High Line Members
$10 for Non-Members


Wednesday, July 15, 6:30 PM: Design Talk
James Corner of James Corner Field Operations, and Ric Scofidio and Liz Diller of Diller Scofidio + Renfro
On the High Line in the Chelsea Market Passage


Wednesday, September 16, 6:30 PM: Garden Talk
Patrick Cullina, Vice President of Horticulture and Park Operations
On the High Line in the Chelsea Market Passage


Wednesday, August 19, 6:30 PM: Starting the High Line
Friends of the High Line Co-Founder Robert Hammond
On the High Line in the Chelsea Market Passage


Every Sunday at 2:00 PM
$5 for High Line Members
$10 for Non-Members
Purchase tickets for meeting location; Space is limited

July 19: Matt Postal, Architectural Historian

July 26: Matthew Johnson, Associate Prinicipal, Diller Scofidio + Renfro

August 2: Katie Lorah, Friends of the High Line

August 9: Matt Postal, Architectural Historian

August 16: Lisa Switkin, Associate Principal, James Corner Field Operations

August 23: Friends of the High Line Horticulture Staff

August 30: Jeff Hafner, Friends of the High Line

September 13: Matthew Johnson, Senior Associate, Diller Scofidio + Renfro

September 20: Friends of the High Line Horticulture Staff

September 27: Jeff Hafner, Friends of the High Line

Friends of the High Line programming is made possible with support from the Lily Auchincloss Foundation and Johnson Family Foundation.



Become a Charter Member

The High Line needs you! Your membership will provide critical operating support to ensure that the High Line lives up to the high standards we all hold for this innovative new park. Support from our members allows us to hire gardeners to keep the park’s flowers and trees in peak condition, and maintenance crews to ensure the High Line is safe for its visitors.

To be recognized as a Charter Member, and as one of the visionaries who helped build this remarkable new landmark, you must join by June 30.

Don’t miss your chance to be a Charter Member


Don’t miss out on this historic opportunity to be a part of the High Line’s first season as a public park.

Click to Join

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