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Thread: The High Line: elevated railroad in Chelsea

  1. #16

    Default The High Line: elevated railroad in Chelsea

    June 1, 2003

    Many Proposals for Rusty Rail Line on the West Side

    After the last boxcar rumbled along the High Line in 1980, imagination began riding the rails.

    Battling landowners' opposition, official intransigence and — frankly — common sense, quixotic New Yorkers periodically dreamed of ways to save the High Line, an elevated railroad viaduct that threads its way through the far West Side of Manhattan, from Gansevoort to 34th Streets.

    That dreaming has now gone global.

    Entrants from Berlin, Vienna and Tokyo were among the four winners chosen on Friday by an influential jury in a competition that sought ideas for redesigning the High Line. There were 720 proposals from 38 countries, said Robert Hammond, director of Friends of the High Line, which sponsored the competition.

    They ranged from pure whimsy — several contemplated turning the High Line into a cow pasture and one of the winners imagined it as a 7,920-foot-long swimming pool — to visions as starkly provocative as the structure itself, which can be seen as a romantic industrial relic or as a dangerous blight.

    None of the ideas stand a chance of getting built as conceived. But the competition marks another step forward in the campaign to reuse the High Line.

    "What it proves to me is that no matter what the design of the High Line ultimately is, something great will occur," said Vishaan Chakrabarti, director of the Manhattan office of the Department of City Planning, after he and the other jurors finished their daylong review.

    "It's obvious from this competition that the conceptual is going to get us to the real," he said.

    Mr. Chakrabarti's presence was significant. It reflects a turnaround at City Hall from the position of the Giuliani administration, which favored demolition of the High Line, to the Bloomberg administration, which embraces its preservation.

    The swimming pool proposal, by Nathalie Rinne of Vienna, was one of the winners chosen by a jury that included the architects Steven Holl, Marilyn Jordan Taylor and Bernard Tschumi and the landscape architects Julie Bargmann and Signe Nielsen.

    They also picked "Black Market Crawler," a moving structure with shops, galleries, theaters and places for a full range of activities — not all of them legal. It was submitted by Hugo Beschoor Plug of Berlin.

    Ernesto Mark Faunlagui of Hoboken won for his proposal to alter the viaduct through incisions and displacement, creating new openings, parapets, walls and skylight wells. And Matthew Greer of New York won for his plan to let the structure continue to evolve naturally into a kind of wild meadow.

    A separate award for public access was won by Takuji Nakamura of Tokyo, who proposed illuminated shafts penetrating the viaduct, with stairs and elevators.

    Other entries recreated the High Line as a farm, a fluorescent fun house, a log-flume ride, a trellis-wrapped garden, a roller coaster, a small-scale Appalachian Trail and the zones of Dante's paradise, purgatory and inferno. Mr. Greer even proposed to bring back a boxcar.

    Copyright 2003*The New York Times Company

  2. #17

    Default The High Line: elevated railroad in Chelsea

    On View July 10-26, Exhibition Airs a Multitude of Ideas for
    Converting a West Side Elevated Railroad into Public Open Space

    NEW YORK, NY – From July 10 through 26, visitors to Grand Central Terminal will have a chance to join in brainstorming about the future of 1.5 miles of Manhattan's West Side. The occasion is the exhibition Designing the High Line, organized by the non-profit group Friends of the High Line. On view in Grand Central's Vanderbilt Hall, the exhibition presents a wide variety of ideas—from the highly practical to the purely visionary—for preserving the High Line, an inactive West Side elevated railroad, and re-using it as open space for the public.

    Overgrown with trees and wildflowers, the historic High Line stretches from 34th Street down through Chelsea to the Meat Packing District. A proposal to make this unused asset into an active part of present-day New York has won widespread approval, and the City of New York has taken the first official steps toward rail-banking the structure. Rail-banking would allow the High Line to become an elevated walkway, running for a mile and a half above the streets of Manhattan.

  3. #18
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    New Jersey

    Default The High Line: elevated railroad in Chelsea

    They should utilize the ROW for a Light Rail line that would run from the Upper West Side onto the High Line and Down to Lower Manhattan, the Light Rail could come down off the elevated and run at street level along the West Side drive/West Street to the World Financial Center.

  4. #19

    Default The High Line: elevated railroad in Chelsea

    High Line near the Railroad Yards and construction of Times Square Tower. 4 July 2003.

    High Line and The Empire State Building.

    A stretch of High Line near the Gansevoort Market Meat Center and construction of Hotel Gansevoort. 4 July 2003.

  5. #20

    Default The High Line: elevated railroad in Chelsea

    NY Times.

    URBAN PLANNING: THE HIGH LINE Here's the question: What is to be done with the High Line, 1.5 miles of inactive elevated railroad, overgrown with trees and wildflowers, which courses along Manhattan's West Side from 34th Street through Chelsea to the meat packing district? New York City has already taken the first step toward preserving the High Line as a walkway, but in what form? From Thursday through July 26, the exhibition "Designing the High Line" at Grand Central Terminal will see the culmination of an international ideas competition organized by the nonprofit organization Friends of the High Line, which drew 720 entries from 38 countries. The top submissions will be highlighted, and visitors will have a chance to submit their own suggestions.

  6. #21
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Jackson Hts/Astoria

    Default The High Line: elevated railroad in Chelsea

    I vote for an elevated park.

  7. #22
    Forum Veteran
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    New York City

    Default The High Line: elevated railroad in Chelsea

    Most of us here do, Taksim

    It'll definitely be a catalyst for development on the West Side.

  8. #23
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    NYC - Hoboken

    Default The High Line: elevated railroad in Chelsea

    I just came back from the Grand Central exhibition. *It is a worth while trip. *Alot of great ideas, my favorite was #209 Olympic Village. *The proposal calls for mulitiple new buildings to be built with the High Line running thru the centers. *Some of them are really off the wall. *Enjoy

  9. #24

    Default The High Line: elevated railroad in Chelsea

    I was up the High Line the other day- truly beautiful this time of year- took some pix-
    which show access points.

  10. #25

    Default The High Line: elevated railroad in Chelsea

    Fascinating pictures. *I particularly liked the one with the Coke bottle. *That, I believe, is the retired sign from Times Square. *A sad end, really. *I would have thought it would wind up in a museum somewhere.

  11. #26

    Default The High Line: elevated railroad in Chelsea

    Judging by Fletchers pictures, they have already turned it into an elevated park

  12. #27

    Default The High Line: elevated railroad in Chelsea

    Fletch, what I want to know is how did you get on the High Line, and why you were not arrested? Seriously, I always wanted to walk the High Line, anyone lives in an apartment with windows opening onto the tracks?

  13. #28
    Forum Veteran
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    New York City

    Default The High Line: elevated railroad in Chelsea

    Thanks for those pictures, Fletcher. *I'm really excited about the restoration now; the placement of that el is definitely unique!

  14. #29
    Forum Veteran
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Garden City, LI

    Default The High Line: elevated railroad in Chelsea

    What an asset this will be to the city if it's done right. *Plus, all the development this will most likely spark will be amazing. *I wonder if it could be linked in some way to Hudson River Park?

  15. #30

    Default The High Line: elevated railroad in Chelsea

    July 25, 2003

    Move to Reclaim Rail Line Receives Bipartisan Push


    City officials put aside partisan differences yesterday to forcefully push an ambitious proposal that would transform an elevated rail line spanning 20 blocks on Manhattan's West Side from an antiquated eyesore into a lush park.

    The passionate appeals by City Council Speaker Gifford Miller and representatives of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, normally political adversaries, were viewed by park advocates as a major step forward for a plan that, in less than two years, has gone from half-baked to cooked enough to require the involvement of lawyers.

    "We believe we can turn this space into one of New York's great places," said Deputy Mayor Daniel L. Doctoroff. "This is the spine, truly the vital link, that connects three rapidly evolving and exciting neighborhoods."

    Mr. Miller called the proposed 1.6-mile elevated greenway a "signature development" for New York unlike any other rail-bed reclamation project in the country.

    "It is such a creative, thoughtful and exciting possibility that it's just unthinkable that we could not seize this," he said.

    Though dramatic, the remarks were delivered at a hearing before an obscure federal transportation panel whose mission is far more mundane: namely, to untangle a raft of legal issues that have kept the fate of the 69-year-old railroad viaduct, known as the High Line, in limbo for more than a decade.

    The panel, the Surface Transportation Board, is not expected to issue any rulings for at least a month. The project, which by some estimates could cost $65 million, would still face years of design planning, regulatory approvals and development.

    A rusting incongruity, the High Line is a hulking relic when viewed from below, its promise revealed only when one ascends its verdant deck of tall native grasses and wildflowers that have taken hold since the trains stopped running in the early 1980's. It emerges from a rail yard at 34th Street and runs about 30 feet above sidewalk level south to Greenwich Village, where it ends at Gansevoort Street.

    In 1992, a coalition of property owners along the corridor, arguing that the old railway was a hazardous eyesore and an impediment to redevelopment, won federal backing for a plan to tear it down, a proposal later supported by Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. However, the plan never materialized because the coalition and the railroad's owner at the time, Conrail, could not agree on an ultimate price tag for demolition.

    Conrail's successor, the CSX Corporation, has not taken a stand publicly on the question of whether to preserve the High Line, but has suggested it would not object as long as the company's financial interests were protected.

    As attempts to raze the rail line stalled, the once-far-fetched notion of revitalizing it steadily gathered steam, and Mr. Bloomberg, in a turn-about from his predecessor, embraced the concept. The Bloomberg administration envisions a transformed High Line as an engine for economic growth in the communities through which is passes.

    All sides in the issue — the preservationists, the neighbors who have favored demolition and the High Line's owner — are now seeking guidance from the transportation board. Whatever decision the board makes may not be final, because the city has said it would move to block any attempt to demolish the High Line, setting the stage for a protracted battle in state court.

    The city's change of heart regarding the future of the High Line was cause for bewilderment by the transportation board chairman, Roger Nober, who pressed officials on what had changed since 1992.

    "Back then, elected officials were saying the High Line had to come down," Mr. Nober said during the hearing at 26 Federal Plaza. "Why is it now in the public interest to maintain it?"

    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

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