Page B1.1 . 07 September 2011                     
ArchitectureWeek - Building Department
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Notes from Manhattan: High Line to WTC

by Michael J. Crosbie

New York on the cusp of fall: the light has that very yellowy tint that only happens this time of year, and the air seems clear as crystal. A quick jaunt around Manhattan Island — literally one afternoon, just before the tenth anniversary of September 11th — reveals new, continuing, and still-becoming works of architecture.

The best news of the summer is the continuation and extension of the High Line. Built upon the carcass of an abandoned elevated rail line from the 1930s that served a thriving meatpacking industry on Manhattan's west side, the High Line has been reborn as an urban park with lush green grasses, wildflowers, benches, city outlooks, and places to lounge.

Last summer, ArchitectureWeek editor David Owen paid a visit to the first section of the High Line, which opened in June 2009, and which runs along 10th Avenue from just north of 20th Street down to just south of 12th Street. This June, a new section opened all the way to 30th Street. (A third stretch, pending development, would take the High Line to 34th Street.)

The High Line design is a collaboration among landscape architecture and urban design firm James Corner Field Operations (project lead), architect Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and planting designer Piet Oudolf.   >>>

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The High Line elevated park's second phase, which opened in June 2011, extends from West 20th Street in the Chelsea neighborhood northward to West 30th Street. The recently completed HL23 residential tower (shown here) overhangs the High Line.
Photo: Michael J. Crosbie Extra Large Image

ArchWeek Image

During the rail line's decades of disuse, many weeds and wildflowers thrived on it. The planted areas in the new park recall that wilder setting.
Photo: Michael J. Crosbie Extra Large Image


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