The Story Behind the Shot: An Aerial View in 2011

EnlargePhoto of the High Line by Iwan Baan

In celebration of our new 18-month High Line Calendar, we’re exploring each month’s featured image to bring you more of the behind-the-scenes details.

Renowned architectural photographer Iwan Baan captured this iconic High Line aerial photograph around the time of the opening of the second section of the High Line in June 2011. Iwan photographs many of the most prominent architectural projects in the world, often turning his lens to subjects in New York. (You may also recognize him as the photographer behind the shocking New York magazine cover image of a half-dark cityscape following Hurricane Sandy.)

Iwan’s photo on this warm June evening encapsulates not only a moment in the High Line’s history, but a moment in New York City’s history. Below are a few of the “timestamps” visible in this photo:

  • Running along the center of the photo is the High Line, whose second section from West 20th to West 30th Streets was finally opening to the public. Toward the bottom of the photograph, you can see where the paved walkway near West 30th Street meets the still-wild section of the High Line at the Rail Yards. Friends of the High Line would not break ground in this third and final section until the fall of 2012, marking the culmination of more than a decade’s efforts to save and transform all three sections of the historic railway.
  • Also along the bottom, in the center of the photo, are somewhat difficult-to-discern colorful shapes that are part of a playful installation by art collaborative FriendsWithYou celebrating the opening of Section 2. See more photos of the installation. The space also featured The Lot, an open-air beer garden with food trucks, and The Rink, an outdoor roller skating rink – all for a few short months that summer and early fall.
  • In the left hand corner of the skyscape, One World Trade Center is visibly gaining height. In the summer of 2011, at the time the photo was taken, the steel structure had surpassed the halfway point in overall height, and the glass cladding was not far behind it. Earlier this year the spire was added to the fully-enclosed tower, making it the tallest building in New York City.
High Line Calendar

Purchase our 18-month High Line Calendar for this and many more beautiful photos of the High Line through four seasons. Or, for a limited time, members who join or renew at the Rail level will receive our beautiful new calendar as a special thank-you gift. Join or renew today.

You’ll also find this image featured on other High Line merchandise items. Visit the High Line Shop online or at West 16th Street to pick up a print, magnet, or postcard with Iwan’s iconic shot.

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