Friday, August 13, 2010
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Friends of the High Line Get ‘Cubed’
BY ALBERT AMATEAU
Friends of the High Line had a party on the morning of June 16, and Mayor Bloomberg arrived at the elevated park with a gift for the occasion — the 2010 Doris C. Freedman Award.
The award, named for the late founder of the Public Art Fund and the city’s first Director of Cultural Affairs, honored the Friends for “a contribution to the people of the City of New York that greatly enriches the public environment.”
Friends of the High Line co-founder Joshua David — along with John Alschuler (the group’s board chair) — accepted the award, a miniature model of “Alamo,” better known as the Astor Place cube, made by the sculptor Tony Rosenthal.
Susan K. Freedman, current president of the Public Art Fund and a daughter of Doris C. Freedman, said her mother would have been thrilled to see the mayor applauding Friends of the High Line’s successful efforts “to reinvent this extraordinary piece of the city’s history by creating a unique and inviting public space.”
Neighbors and members of the Friends joined Parks, City Planning, Cultural Affairs Commissioners and Deputy Mayor Patricia Harris at the event that included bluegrass music by the Birdhive Boys (Justin Camer on guitar and Ellery Marshall on banjo).
The Doris C. Freedman Award began in 1982 following Freedman’s death, and has gone to honorees including Olafur Eliasson and the Public Art Fund for the Waterfalls installation and the Greenmarket on its 30th anniversary.
The first third of the High Line — between Gansevoort and 20th Streets — has welcomed 2 million visitors since it opened in June 2009. The second segment (between 20th and 30th Streets) is currently under reconstruction and scheduled to open next spring. The city is also beginning to acquire the last segment of the old rail line that loops around the rail yards from 30th to 34th Streets.
Willie James “Jimmy” Pelsey, longtime leader of the Robert Fulton Houses tenant association and a voice for Chelsea’s lower-income residents for more than three decades, died on July 9 after an extended stay at St. Vincent’s Hospital. He was 74.
As it seems to do yearly, the Meat Market has undergone another transformation. This time, the most noticeable new ingredients are the High Line park and the Standard Hotel, which spans the High Line between 13th and Little W. 12th Sts. These two projects — the High Line, in particular, which is attracting thousands of visitors daily — have brought new life to the area along Washington St..
That annual 800-pound gorilla known as FringeNYC will be getting some competition this year — in the form of the “Dream Up Festival.” This newbie theater fest started its virgin run on Aug. 8 and lasts until Sept. 5. Before the curtain comes down, “Dream Up” will have hosted 23 world premieres. True to the roots of its sponsoring organization (Theater for the New City), the offerings proudly display a distinct Lower East Side edge — and are presented by emerging and mid-career artists whose cultural contributions have the TNC stamp of approval. It all happens at their home base: 155 First Ave. (at 10th St.). Tickets range from $12 to $15. For more info, visit www.dreamupfestival.org or call 212-254-1109.
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