The Highline - NYC's Next Great Park

  High Line 
  Originally uploaded by bitpuddle.

The Gotham Gal and I have had the pleasure of working and living near some of NYC’s great parks – Washington Square, Union Square, Madison Square, and now The Hudson River Park. We’ve been involved in funding the renovation of both Madison Square Park and Washington Square Park.

Yesterday we got a preview of NYC’s next great park, The Highline. For those of you who don’t know what The Highline is, it’s the elevated rail line that was built in the 1930s, down the lower west side of Manhattan. Here’s a brief history of it. What’s left of it now runs from Gansevoort Street up to the Hudson Rail Yards between 30th and 34th Street on the far west side.

There’s a long story behind the fight to save The Highline from destruction (Giuliani’s administration) to turning The Highline into a park (Bloomberg’s administration) but it basically goes like this. Two guys, Joshua David and Robert Hammond, met at a community board meeting to discuss the demolition of The Highline in 1999 and decided to do something about it. They formed Friends Of The Highline and eight years later and close to $120mm in funding, their dream is becoming a reality.

But it’s going to take another $50mm in private donations to finish the job. That’s where we (and you) come in. We decided to get involved in this amazing project recently and the first step was getting a tour of The Highline. We did that yesterday and I took dozens of photos which I cannot share with you because I promised not to publish them as a condition of being allowed to take the tour.

But if you want to see The Highline, head over to Flickr. There’s even a Flickr Group called The Highline which has over 200 great images to see. I went through all of them this morning and tagged my favorites in delicious in case you’ve only got time for a few photos.

The renovation of The Highline has already begun and phase one is fully funded. Phase one is from Gansevoort to 19th/20th Street and 10th Avenue. Phase two construction is also underway but it is not fully funded. That’s from 19th/20th Street up to 30th Street at the south end of the Hudson Yards. Phase three would be the wrap around Hudson Yards, but it’s not even clear if that portion of The Highline will survive the drive to develop Hudson Yards. Here is a flash slide show of the design of The Highline. It’s pretty fantastic.

But as cool as the design of The Highline is, what is there already and has been preserved is the star of the show. It’s a 18 to 30 foot high walkway through the cityscape of the lower west side of manhattan. The view of the city that you get from that perspective is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. And I’ve lived in NYC for almost 25 years now.

If you want to help close the deal on this amazing project, join Friends Of The Highline. You can donate here, but if you want to get involved and do more you can volunteer and/or help raise the seriously large sum of money that’s needed to finish the job.

If you live on the lower west side of manhattan, you should really get involved in this. Between the Hudson RIver Park and The HIghline, this neighborhood is going to go from the most underparked neighborhood in manhattan to one of the most wonderfully parked neighborhoods in the world.