I was thrilled to get a tour of the second section of the Highline this past weekend. No pictures, no sharing but am allowed to write about how utterly fantastic it is. I am also proud to say that I have just joined the board of the Highline. An organization we have been supporting for years and I have definitely been working with in the back-end. After a few years of trying to wear me down, I finally said yes. I am honored to be part of this organization.
So let's get back to the future. At the Brooklyn Museums fundraiser a few weeks ago, I spent some time speaking with Fred Wilson, the artist. Such a nice guy. He sits on the board of the Whitney. The Whitney is breaking ground at the end of May on their building downtown which will be on Gansevoort street butting against the entrance of the Highline. Fred, who happens to live downtown too, and I were talking about how people come to visit NYC from all over the world and country and many don't bother going past 23rd street. Travel has changed. Downtown has changed.
When we went to Israel this past holiday vacation we talked about the way we travel. I rarely use a travel agent but going to Cairo and Jordan and then Israel, I wasn't so sure I just wanted to show up at the airport. I really tried to drill down on our itinerary to what we wanted to do but I did succumb in certain places and am not so sure it was the thing to do. I know I frustrated our travel agent but what was interesting is when the trip was over she said something to me which I still think about.
She followed our journey of the trip by reading my blog everyday. She said that I taught her about a different type of travel. I knew exactly what she was talking about. I told her that I really believe that the way we travel is how most people are beginning to travel. People aren't as interested in the classic stuff as they used to be. People want to see neighborhoods, taste the latest restaurant, walk the streets of areas they have read about that are off the beaten track, like Willamsburg Brooklyn. Needless to say the Highline is a huge travel destination. Everytime I walk the Highline I hear many different languages being spoke.
That is why I thought the group at MapIt, one of the designs teams from ITP, was spot on. People contact me all the time about what to see when they go somewhere. I'd love to enter a dumpling walk on Mapit or the galleries that I love to walk in Chelsea with a restaurant or two thrown in to the walk.
The constant contact of the world we live in is actually doing us a huge service by creating a desire within ourselvels to return to our roots and that is neighborhood driven. If I was a tourist visiting NYC for the first time, it would be all about the Highline, Williamsburg, the LES, Soho, West Village and perhaps a quick trip to the MOMA and Whitney but once the Whitney is downtown, I might never go past 14th street either unless of course I was walking the Highline from Gansevoort to 30th street.
GG – congratulations to both you and the Highline; your joining the Board is big news. Glad to hear it!