A Message from the Co-Founders
Thank you for helping us make 2011 an incredible year for the High Line.
This year saw two major milestones for the High Line: the opening of the High Line from West 20th Street to West 30th Street, doubling the length of the park, and an agreement to preserve the third and final section of High Line at the rail yards, including the spur.
But so much more happened on the High Line in 2011: a post-snowstorm Snow Sculpt-Off, a Salman Rushdie Karma Chain, rooftop dance performances, 50,000 new plants, four competing teen step teams, mushroom-shaped bouncy houses, a temporary public plaza below the High Line, 15,000 roller skaters, avocado popsicles, a working water feature, kids releasing butterflies and earthworms, salsa dancing at sunset, a historic $20 million gift for the rail yards and the endowment, our first comprehensive book on the High Line, and a larger-than-life $100,000 bill art installation.
We've compiled some of our favorite images, video, and stories from this incredible year. We hope you enjoy them!
Best wishes for the new year.
2011 in Photos
We began 2011 with one snowstorm after another. Friends of the High Line staff members worked diligently to clear
the pathways, making the park safe for visitors to enjoy the winter landscape. WATCH A VIDEO
The plants are left in their natural state in the winter, rather than trimmed back at the onset of cold. The absence of
foliage reveals beautiful shapes and textures not visible during other seasons. READ MORE.
When the snow melted away, we began High Line Green-Up, the tremendous task of cutting back the plants to prepare
for the new growing season. High Line Green-Up is supported by REI.
Before the new section of the High Line opened in June, there were 50,000 plants to cut back. Now there are more
than 100,000 plants on the High Line. WATCH A VIDEO.
In March, we hosted a High Line Food Open House at Hudson Guild, a community center in Chelsea, where neighbors
gathered to give input on what food and beverage concessions should be at the High Line in the summer. READ COMMENTS.
Space Available, a new art installation by Kim Beck, debuted in March with the support of our High Line Art funders.
The three rooftop sculptures resemble the framework behind advertising billboards. WATCH A VIDEO.
The Karma Chain brought Salman Rushdie and 300 people together on a warm spring day in April to pass along a
sutra during a game of telephone at the PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature at the High Line.
Designed by Cas Holman, the Children’s Workyard Kit is a new, mobile kit of interactive tools and materials that let kids
design their own course of play. It made its debut in May, thanks to our High Line Kids funders.
June saw the arrival of the yellow foxtail lilies (Eremurus stenophyllus), one of the favorite blooms on the High Line
in the late spring.
June also marked the opening of the new section of the High Line, doubling the length of the park.
We were joined by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Manhattan Borough President
Scott Stringer, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, and supporters for a ribbon-cutting on the 23rd Street Lawn.
After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, crews removed the metal chain-link fence separating Sections 1 and 2, and the new
section of the High Line was open to the public.
The High Line’s new section provided a new kind of urban experience, carrying visitors in close proximity to historic
buildings and warehouses, and introducing unique views of the cityscape. WATCH A VIDEO .
The High Line’s new section includes a debut of Sarah Sze’s public art installation for High Line Art. Installed near
West 22nd Street, the artwork flanks the park’s pathway, and offers feeding spots and perches for birds and butterflies.
As part of our opening celebrations, the Trisha Brown Dance Company performed on rooftops near the southern
end of the park for High Line Art, recreating a dance originally performed in SoHo in 1971.
More than 2,000 people came to watch Step to the High Line, a competition for local teen step teams during the
opening season of the High Line’s new section. WATCH A VIDEO.
Thanks to the Related Companies and Abington Properties, we turned a parking lot into a temporary public plaza
to celebrate the High Line’s new section. AOL presented Rainbow City, an interactive art installation, to inaugurate it.
Directly below the northernmost point of the High Line’s new section, The Lot on Tap featured a rotating series
of food trucks, serving some of New York City’s best street food and drink.
The Lot on Tap was home to many free public performances for visitors, including a mini-concert by comedian
Stephen Colbert and musician Jack White.
Back up on the High Line, we introduced six new concessionaires as part of High Line Food, a program that brings
affordable, innovative, and locally-sourced food and beverage to the High Line.
The Green Table helped us open The Porch, a new, open-air wine and beer bar serving small plates. With
sweeping views of the Hudson River, The Porch quickly became a favorite gathering spot for visitors and locals.
Thanks to Toyota, we brought back the High Line Field Station, an info booth staffed by volunteer greeters supported
by REI, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.
In the High Line’s first section, the Diller – von Furstenberg Sundeck continues to be a popular gathering spot, where
visitors take in the sun and dip their toes in a thin layer of water that skims the park’s pathway.
In the new section of the High Line, the 23rd Street Lawn is the favorite new gathering spot for picnicking,
sunbathing, and watching people stroll the High Line and the street below.
The 23rd Street Lawn is the busiest lawn in the city per square foot which requires extra care and maintenance.
The Lawn is temporarily closed at times during the busy season and following periods of heavy rainfall to
allow the grass to recover.
In July, we opened the High Line Rink – Made for All by UNIQLO, a new, outdoor roller-skating venue with music,
skating lessons, and more at The Lot.
We invited kids from Hudson Guild, a community center in Chelsea, to take an inaugural first skate with us around
the High Line Rink. During this summer, over 15,000 people joined us to skate.
At Wild Wednesdays, a free, weekly drop-in High Line Kids program, students watched caterpillars grow into
beautiful butterflies, and then released them into the park’s planting beds.
Jhoel Peguero, Stephanie Morales, and Neftaly Garcia were members of this year’s Youth Corps, also supported
by our High Line Schools and Kids funders. They helped care for the park, set up public events, and much more.
We asked neighbors what kind of public events they would want to attend on the High Line, and salsa nights were
a top choice. This August, we held weekly evenings of Latin music and dancing at sunset on the High Line.
The High Line continues to be a favorite spot for photographers to capture new views of the cityscape. This
photograph was taken by Brian D. Bumby, one of the more than 1,500 contributors to the High Line Flickr Pool.
Charlie Rose welcomed Co-Founders Joshua David and Robert Hammond, director of the
New York City Department of City Planning, Amanda Burden, and Diane von Furstenberg to talk about the
past, present, and future of the High Line.
With support from UNIQLO, the Trains on Film Series played off the High Line’s rail history, debuting All Aboard! and
featuring free revival screenings of Some Like It Hot and Strangers on a Train during the fall.
Thanks to our Rail Yards funders, we hosted a series of free public talks in September and October about the past,
present, and future of the third and final section of the High Line. WATCH THE VIDEOS.
Next to the High Line’s southernmost point, site preparation work began in the fall for High Line Headquarters, a new
building that will provide critical space for the High Line’s maintenance and operations.
We held the first-ever Social Soup Experiment in October. What happens when total strangers gather for
communal meal in a restaurant without walls on the High Line? LEARN MORE.
In October, the Diller – von Furstenberg Family Foundation announced a historic $20 million gift which will support
the transformation of the High Line at the rail yards and help build an endowment for long-term maintenance and operations.
As part of High Line Schools, we partnered with puppet master Ralph Lee on art workshops at PS 3, 11, and 33.
Students created a train made of found materials, and paraded it on the High Line. VIEW PHOTOS.
In November, Tyler Ashley and the SARAHS explored Russian Constructivism through the lens of a Jane Fonda
workout video during Half-Mythical, Half-Legendary Americanism, a dance performance presented in partnership with Performa.
In the fall, we visited the Reading Viaduct, an elevated freight rail line in Philadelphia that some want to turn into
public open space. VIEW PHOTOS
In November, we launched HIGH LINE CHANNEL, a new High Line Art program for video art at West 22nd Street.
Gordon Matta-Clark’s City Slivers is the first film to play, and will be on view until Tuesday, January 24.
Red Sprite winterberry (Ilex verticillata ‘Red Sprite’) blooming in the Gansevoort Woodland in the late fall.
Earlier this month, John Baldessari installed a giant reproduction of a $100,000 bill on HIGH LINE BILLBOARD, a new
series made possible by our High Line Art funders, with in-kind support from Edison Properties. Fast Co Design.
Earlier this month, with support from our Rail Yards funders, we held a community input meeting at PS 11 to gather
neighbors’ ideas for the design of the final section of the High Line at the West Side Rail Yards.
The High Line at the rail yards took a major step forward this fall, when all stakeholders involved at the development
site agreed, in principle, to preserve the historic freight rail line and open it to the public. We look forward to more
positive news about the final section of the High Line in 2012.
2011 in News Stories
Below are a few of our favorite news stories from 2011.
“New York is a city in which good things rarely happen easily and where good designs are often compromised, if they are built at all. The High Line is a happy exception, that rare New York situation in which a wonderful idea was not only realized but turned out better than anyone had imagined.”
—National Geographic, Paul Goldberger, New York’s High Line
“Richly detailed and alive, with picturesque vistas, the High Line stretches one’s gaze — out to city or riverscape and back to blooms or butterfly, over and over.”
—The New York Times, Diane Ackerman, Emerald Cities
“What started out as a community-based campaign to convert an eyesore into an asset evolved into one of the most successful economic-development projects of [ Mayor Bloomberg’s ] nine years in office. The co-founders of Friends of the High Line, a group that operates the city-owned park, said the mayor and his staff deserved credit for having embraced the park and rezoned the neighborhoods it passes through to help it flourish.”
—The New York Times, Patrick McGeehan, The High Line Isn’t Just a Sight to See; It’s Also an Economic Dynamo.
“Colicchio & Sons and Friends of the High Line are running an admirably minimalist outdoor bar... And so, without much fuss, a fine summer pleasure is born. The vibe is appropriately ad hoc and stripped down, like a low-rent carnival minus all those distracting rides.”
—The New York Times, Steven Stern, The Lot on Tap
“The best public spaces encourage diverse urban experiences, from people watching to protesting, daydreaming to handball, eating, reading and sunbathing to strolling and snoozing. Witness the High Line. The park opened a couple of years ago on the West Side with no special program of cultural offerings or other headline attractions to lure people. The attraction was, and remains, the place itself. Its success shows how much can be achieved, economically and architecturally, when city government and private interests make the public realm, on a grand scale, their shared interest.”
—The New York Times, Michael Kimmelman, Treasuring Urban Oases
“None of us ever thought it could happen, but we wanted to believe it could happen, and we dreamt it, but now it exists… And it is just the most beautiful thing.”
—Diane von Furstenberg, The Charlie Rose Show
“Rarely do additions to works of architecture or engineering by the same designers who created the originals
attract as much comment as the initial installments…. Happily, the same elated reaction that greeted the first segment
occurred again this summer, as the newly completed middle portion of the High Line revealed that rather than being
simply more of the same, the park is evolving into a much more varied experience than many had anticipated.”
—New York Review of Books, Martin Filler, Eyes Above the Street: The High Line Line’s Second Installment
“This lushly illustrated volume showcases the range of imaginative designs they explored and, in some cases, rejected. In recounting their decade-long experiment, they provide an inspiring primer for grass-roots urban planning.”
—The New York Times, 400 Years of Artifacts Enrich a Book
“Cities around the country, including Chicago, Philadelphia and St. Louis, are working up plans to renovate their aging railroad trestles, tracks and railways for parkland. Cities with little public space are realizing they badly need more parks, and the High Line has taught that renovating an old railway can be the spark that helps improve a neighborhood and attract development.”
—The New York Times, Cities See The Other Side Of The Tracks
“As for what The First $100,000 I Ever Made means: Take your guess. Maybe it’s an object to lust after. Maybe it’s just a photo op. Or maybe it’s the best commentary on the global financial crisis since this side of a Paul Krugman column.”
—Suzanne LaBarre, Sign of the Times
"Ever since various dreamers on the West Side of Manhattan began to envision it, the High Line has signified New York’s future: a glimpse of where the metropolis might go if people dreamed, and schemed, hard enough."
—The New York Times, Jeff Gordiner, Walking On Air
“High Line II is a grand achievement, but -- more than Part I did -- feels as if it's trying to get somewhere that it can't quite reach… The blocks between 20th and 23rd streets and north of 27th Street, for all their magnificent landscaping and detailing, feel transitional, a fact the design features can't hide. Until you reach the curve. Suddenly, you sense a great and wonderful surprise lies just around the corner. But instead comes the premature dead end. Instead of feeling elated, you feel the way you did after the last episode of ‘The Sopranos.’ The High Line Park deserves a proper conclusion. Bring it on!"
—New York Post, Steve Cuozzo, It’s a Rail Shame If This Is the End of the Line
Give Today - And Double Your Impact!
This year, you can make your year-end support of the High Line go twice as far. A generous, anonymous member has pledged to match all year end gifts made by December 31—up to $100,000!
This challenge could not have come at a better time. In 2012, we will care for a full 20 blocks of the park year-round. At the same time, we will be working full speed at the rail yards, beginning the design process, and even planning to start site preparation.
Your contribution now will provide the financial security and stability we need to keep the park extraordinary, even as we to open the rail yards to the public. And when you make your gift today, your support will be matched dollar-for-dollar!
Keep the High Line extraordinary in 2012 – and double your impact. Give Now.
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Stay Connected with the High Line
The High Line is managed by a partnership between Friends of the High Line and the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation
Images, from top to bottom: Karen Blumberg, Marcin Wichary, Cristina Macaya, Karen Blumberg, Friends of the High Line, both photos by Friends of the High Line, Joan Garvin, Bill Orcutt, Yana Paskova, Joan Garvin, Juan Valentin, both photos by Iwan Baan, Barry Munger, Patty Heffley, Architect Magazine, Iwan Baan, Kevin Vast, Josiah Lau, Barry Munger, Juan Valentin, Joan Garvin, Iwan Baan, Laurie Rhodes, Kiersten Chou, Iwan Baan, Iwan Baan, Tim Schenck, (left to right) Michael Moran & Liz Ligon, Liz Ligon, Daniella Zalcman, Friends of the High Line, Liz Ligon, Brian Bumby, Charlie Rose LLC, Claudio Papapietro, Liz Ligon, Patrick McMullan, Friends of the High Line, Friends of the High Line, Barry Munger, Friends of the High Line, Liz Ligon, Rick Darke, Austin Kennedy, Juan Valentin, Austin Kennedy courtesy John Baldessari and Marian Goodman Gallery, Yoon Kim
High Line Art is presented by Friends of the High Line and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. High Line Art Commissions are made possible by Donald R. Mullen, Jr., with additional support from Vital Projects Fund, Inc. High Line Art is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
Additional support for Kim Beck’s Space Available and Sarah Sze’s Still Life with Landscape (Model for a Habitat) was provided by the Greenwall Foundation.
Leading support for High Line Schools and Kids programs is provided by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, with additional support from the Altman Foundation, the Milton & Sally Avery Arts Foundation, the Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston, and the Concordia Foundation. High Line Schools is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
High Line Rail Yards programs are made possible by The Tiffany & Co. Foundation and the New York Community Trust—LuEsther T. Mertz Advised Fund, with additional support from Greenacre Foundation and with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts.