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A Note from Robert Hammond

By Robert Hammond | February 16, 2017

Recently, I did an interview with CityLab about a new initiative we started called the High Line Network. I encourage you to read the entire piece as it outlines, rather nicely, a lot of the hard work we’re doing here at the High Line.

One very small section of the article truncates a longer discussion around our specific work with the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) complexes adjacent to the High Line and, in so doing, inadvertently gives the impression that I think the High Line has not been a success. That couldn’t be farther from the truth or what I believe personally.

Unfortunately, a few other news outlets are picking up that one
piece of the article and, consequently, are presenting a completely inaccurate view of the High Line by omitting all the work we’ve done—and continue to do—with our community. We are and always have been a community-focused organization. As a firm believer in the many positive changes we’ve made in our community, I think it’s important to set the record straight.

During the early planning stages of the High Line we held dozens of community input sessions with local leaders, community groups, and residents living in NYCHA apartments near the park.

After the park opened we wanted to do more, so we took the following steps:

  • We undertook a comprehensive survey of NYCHA residents that asked how the High Line could better serve them. Their direct input helped us develop several community-oriented initiatives and programs.
  • We created a youth employment program, which gives teens attending local schools opportunities to work at the High Line and get invaluable training and paid work experience.
  • We started sponsoring summer events where thousands of local teens attend functions organized by our Teen Arts and Culture Council (TACC).
  • We expanded our free cultural programming offerings, which now draw more than 55,000 people from our community to the High Line each year.
  • We began working with local schools to provide free or low-cost educational field trips for thousands of schoolchildren each year; more than 40% of those schools are Title 1.

Those are just the start. And we still want to do more.

That’s one reason we started the High Line Network to share our successes and challenges with other reuse projects around the country and, equally important, to learn from them. And as we have in past years, we’re going back out to the communities around the High Line to talk with residents about what they want us to focus on next. In the meantime, we’re expanding our internship program and continuing to strengthen our programming for New Yorkers.

We’re excited about all these initiatives and look forward to working with our community even more in the years to come. Thank you, as always, for your support of the High Line.

I welcome your feedback:

Robert Hammond

Co-Founder & Executive Director