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Friends of the High Line Newsletter

FRIENDS OF THE HIGH LINE
December 28, 2009

Dear Friends,

2009 has been a remarkable year for the High Line. After spending the spring working on the final stages of construction, we opened the first section of the park in June. Since then, we estimate that nearly 2 million people have visited. We hope you were among these first visitors to the High Line, and that you return again and again in 2010.

The High Line's first year as a public park has been truly amazing. We've pulled together some of our favorite pictures from this incredible, historic year. We hope you enjoy them!

We hope you'll continue to support the High Line as we prepare for 2010.

Many thanks, and happy New Year,


Park visitors stroll and relax on the Diller – von Furstenberg Sundeck between 14th and 15th Streets. The Sundeck is one of the High Line's most popular gathering spots, especially for sunbathers on bright summer days, and as a place to watch the sunset. Photo by Iwan Baan

"...The High Line is a hit, and not just with tourists but with New Yorkers who are openly relishing a place where they can reflect and relax enough to get a new perspective on Manhattan."

—Diane Cardwell, For High Line Visitors, Park is a Railway Out of Manhattan, The New York Times


Seasonal variation in the High Line's plantings, from early spring to late fall. It was great to go up from week to week and watch the colors and textures of the landscape change as new plantings constantly came into bloom.

Photos, clockwise from top left: bristle-leaf sedge (Carex eburnea) with fall-blooming crocus (Crocus pulchellus): Barry Munger; lesser calamint (Calamintha nepeta ssp. nepeta): Kelvin Ng; Sundown coneflower (Echinacea purpurea ‘Sundown’) with autumn moor grass (Sesleria autumnalis): Joe Lenihan; common winterberry (Ilex verticillata): Patrick Cullina; smoke bush (Cotinus x ‘Grace’): Lindsay Manzella; Vintage Wine coneflower (Echinacea purpurea ‘Vintage Wine’) Anastasia Courtney

"It's paradoxical, but the physical limitations of the elevated tracks have resulted in a stunning array of plants you won't see in other city parks."

— Ilya Marritz, Now Growing on the West Side, WNYC Radio

Workers remove rectangular panels of steel from the Tenth Avenue Square, in order to create the feature's signature windows over Tenth Avenue. The first several months of 2009 were devoted to completing construction on Section 1, with the work on the Tenth Avenue Square complete just in time for the June 8 ribbon-cutting. The feature has since become one of the High Line's most popular spots, offering a one-of-a-kind view of the surrounding city from a rare perspective. Tenth Avenue Square, thanks to Hermine & David Heller and Michael & Sukey Novogratz.

"The height, about three stories up, is just enough to alter your point of view. It's voyeur height rather than spectacle height. It immerses you in the city instead of elevating you above it."

— Karrie Jacobs, Beyond the Hype, Metropolis

On June 8, we marked the opening of Section 1 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Above, from left to right, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, FHL Co-Founder Robert Hammond, Philip Falcone, FHL Co-Founder Joshua David, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Lisa Maria Falcone, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, City Planning Commission Chair Amanda Burden, Diane von Furstenberg, and Borough President Scott Stringer cut the ribbon, with the help of second-graders from PS11 in Chelsea. Photo by Patrick McMullan

"The High Line project is something of a New York fairy tale"

—Robin Pogrebin, Renovated High Line Now Open for Strolling, The New York Times

The High Line's first month of operation was, if not the rainiest June on New York City record, pretty close. Through June and into July, daily drizzle and downpours fell in the city and watered the young plants on the High Line. Regardless of the elements, tens of thousands of enthusiastic visitors armed with umbrellas came up to get a first glimpse of the High Line. Photo by Juan Valentin

There was even some speculation that the opening of the High Line and the rainy weather were somehow paranormally linked. Read about the Curse of Ezekiel Marcus on the High Line Blog.

On July 14, we held the Target High Line Street Festival in the Meatpacking District. It was a free family celebration of the High Line's opening, also commemorating the 75th anniversary of the High Line and the 10th anniversary of Friends of the High Line. The festival featured art, musical performances, dance, and the World's Largest Lemondade Stand. Performers included Michael Arenella and his Dreamland Orchestra. Special thanks to Target for presenting this special day. Photo by Lou Rocca
The Washington Grasslands from above. The High Line's design, by James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro, centers around the integration of the pathway system, made of tapered concrete planks, into planting beds featuring a naturalistic mix of grasses, perennials, trees, and shrubs. Photo by Iwan Baan

"...one of the most thoughtful, sensitively designed public spaces built in New York in years."

—Nicolai Ouroussoff, On High, a Fresh Outlook, The New York Times

Nighttime on the High Line is almost absurdly romantic, as we can see in this evening shot from the Chelsea Grasslands. During the summer, the High Line was open until 10:00 PM (now winter hours are in effect, with an 8:00 PM closing time), and dusk and evening are popular times to see the park in a new way. The High Line's lighting system, designed by L'Observatoire International, uses energy-efficient LED lights to softly illuminate planting beds and pathways at waist-level or below, while allowing the ambient city lights to remain visible. Chelsea Grasslands, thanks to The Tiffany & Co. Foundation. Photo by Paula Froke
One of our favorite surprises of the year was the High Line Park Renegade Cabaret, a spontaneously-developed fire-escape performance series, put on over the summer by neighborhood resident Patty Heffley and singer Elizabeth Soychack. Photo by Janice Hoffman

"Location, as all New Yorkers know, is destiny, and Ms. Heffley is embracing hers with gusto."

—Penelope Green, West Side Story, Amid the Laundry, The New York Times

The High Line's maintenance and operations team, including gardeners, maintenance workers, custodians, and bathroom attendants, often served as ambassadors to park visitors, answering questions on everything from plant identification to the High Line's history as a freight rail line. Photo by David O'Keefe

Meet two members of our maintenance and operations team in "At Work on the High Line", a short video on the High Line Blog.

Our public programs—including Recycled Railroad, a family program combining the High Line's freight rail history with a crafts workshop—offer fun and educational activities to High Line visitors for free or at low cost. Our public programs are made possible with support from The Nathan Cummings Foundation, Lily Auchincloss Foundation, New York City Council's Department of Youth and Community Development, and Johnson Family Foundation.
High Line Art programs like Specials, an installation combining a gallery wall with a taco truck, brought art enthusaists to the High Line and continued the High Line's long relationship with the art world. Specials and all High Line Art commissions are made possible by Donald R. Mullen, Jr. Photo by Juan Valentin
Yoga on the High Line, as part of our Wellness programming series. The Chelsea Market Passage, including Spencer Finch's art installation, The River that Flows Both Ways, served as a unique location for Yoga practice. Spencer Finch's installation was made possible by a generous grant from The Rockefeller Foundation's New York City Cultural Innovation Fund.
Students from PS89 sketch in the Washington Grasslands. Our High Line Schools Program expanded in our opening year. As part of out High Line curriculum, we now offer field trips for grades two through seven, as an opportunity to use the High Line to teach subjects like horticulture, history, and community activism. The High Line Schools Program is made possible with support from support from the NYMEX Foundation and the New York City Council's Department of Youth and Community Development. Photo by Joan Garvin
A construction worker uses a circular saw to cut through concrete, marking the start of construction of the 30th Street Cut-out, a special feature planned for Section 2. Construction on the second section of the park, from 20th Street to 30th Street, is progressing on schedule, with planting set to begin this summer.
A rendering of the 30th Street Cut-out. The removal of the concrete will expose the High Line's steel framework, while an elevated viewing platform will bring visitors in close contact with the steel beams. Design by James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Courtesy the City of New York
Visitors in the Gansevoort Woodland this fall. The Woodland, like the rest of the High Line's landscape, will continue to grow and mature over the seasons and years. We hope you will visit the High Line again and again, and that you will continue your support of this unique elevated park. Gansevoort Woodland, thanks to Donald Pels and Wendy Keys. Photo by Barry Munger

"...it has already become—just five months after the completion of its first phase—one of the most beloved public spaces in New York."

—Nicolai Ouroussoff, A Few Triumphs Pierce the Clouds of a Bleak Time, The New York Times

Friends of the High Line
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and Friends of the High Line
High Line Blog
Reflections on interesting occurrences
on and around the High Line

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The High Line is managed by a partnership between Friends of the High Line and the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation

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