The High Line, NYC … it’s awesome, and they wanted to knock it down!
Although my interiors style is contemporary I believe in renovation and restoration whenever possible. I live close to St Pancras rail station in London and it is frightening to think they wanted to knock it down in the 1960′s. Thankfully it was saved and after restoration it is one of London’s architectural jewels.
Having walked the High Line in New York yesterday it was worrying to discover that it almost suffered the same fate. The last trains rode the tracks back in 1980 and there was then a high likelihood that it would be torn down. Chelsea resident Peter Obletz thankfully raised awareness about the impending demolition and after walking the High Line I am forever in his debt.
Let’s be honest, New York is a busy town and it’s hard to find peace and quiet here but the High Line delivers it. The walkway can be used however you want – running, walking, eating, drinking and even sunbathing in the summer.
The High Line is maintained by the Friends of the High Line who were formed in 1999. Following the formation of the association a design ideas competition was held in 2003 to start the design process. 720 entries were received to start the debate about what to do with the space. This was followed by a design competition in 2004 and the construction finally started in 2006.
The first part of the walkway opened in June 2009 and two years later the second section opened. $91 million has recently been raised to buy the final part of the railway tracks.
The walkway features lots of areas along its length to relax. We discovered a great area with seating and a projector to show movies onto a huge white wall. All along the High Line there is bench seating and also chairs and tables. There are also many larger breakout areas. While we were walking we passed a group of 4 artists on a read through of The Importance of Being Ernest. It was surreal to hear the words of Lady Bracknell ringing out in New York.
After the tour I took some time to read about some of the early proposals. Some were pretty adventurous – The High Line Pool by Nathalie Rinne proposed a long lap swimming pool along the tracks.
Next time you are in New York make sure you visit the High Line. Run it all, walk a little, rest a little – it really is up to you!