Another High Line Update

A couple High Line-related tidbits hit my Bloglines box today: 

:: Cool Hunting reports that Friends of the High Line is holding a t-shirt design competition, to be worn by supporters at an upcoming City Council meeting. Details at the Cool Hunting link. (via Archinect, where somebody jokingly asked if this competition would be similar to FHL's first, where they pick winners but then solicit professionals to design the real thing.) 

:: Curbed points to a post by David Galbraith, who says that the plans to renovate the High Line is a "bad idea":
Given the challenges of creating a park where the benefits of it being on a raised deck outweigh the negative aspects of the potentially dank, dreary space beneath, there is another option for the highline, which doesn't result in pretty drawings - Tear it down...And free up another small piece of Manhattan from its curse - shadow.
I understand where Mr. Galbraith is coming from, especially given the current design's emphasis of the upper realm over the lower realm. But if we look at the image below, it's apparent that the underside is conceptualized as a usable, interior environment (in this case a cafe adjacent to an access point to the promenade above), not just the leftover of the Victorian iron structure.
And this is the best and most obvious solution for dealing with the underside of the structure: use it! This is reminiscent of the frequent occupation of the undersides of highways and other public thoroughfares in Tokyo, where land is as valuable and scarce (if not more so) than Manhattan:
I would propose selectively keeping small sections open and exposed - outside of the already open street crossings - combined with enclosed portions (like above) to add variety along the 1.5 miles of the High Line. To call the renovation a terrible idea and push its demolition rather than its creative reuse seems myopic to me. And sure, this type of "Tokyo reuse" costs money, but if the renovation boosts the appeal of the area as expected, it might just be those patches underneath the High Line that become the most sought after.


  1. There is a project similar to this in Paris. The viaduct is stone arches, but pretty much the same concept with a nature walk where the trains used to be. There are a few stores tucked inside some of the arches. I happened to find it one day while I was looking for a job. It leads from the Bastille Opera House east to a few public parks. They also had some interesting buildings (for the time) that interacted with the walkway by straddling it and other gestures.

  2. Ah, yes. The good 'ol Promenade Plantee, one of the inspirations for the High Lines transformation. Before Sunset had a great extended scene on the promenade, good advertising for any similar reuse.

  3. I say keep the High Line, but only if funded by private dollars. NYC has too many other bills to pay.

    I think they aren't cashing in on the obvious tourist angle on this. They should flood the gift stores with post cards from the High Line. It would show NYC isn't all hiding in the shadows of buildings and muggings on the subway. This might compare with the I-heart-NY campaign of the 1980s.

  4. fyi -
    in berlin, they have renovated the space underneath several above-ground S-Bahn stations/overpasses into retail shops, several of which are quite pleasant.


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