A year at the Highline

I have been sitting on the board of the High Line for more than a handful of years.  I love the High Line.  The park has been one of the most incredible public properties developed in the city over the past 50 years if not more.  It has changed the entire west side of NYC from development and traffic flow to the community aspects, the arts, the events to the greenery…..it is just an incredible oasis.

Robert Hammond, who is the Executive Director sent out his highlights of the year.  I asked to share them on my blog.

I took this photo yesterday of the Dawn Bodnant Viburnum blooming early due to the warm weather. But don’t worry, our gardeners say the plant is completely healthy. It usually blooms in January or February so it’s only a few weeks early and it will still thrive next year.

unnamed-1This shot is from our office yesterday. One of the benefits of the warmer weather this season is that more people get to visit the High Line. I might have already told you, but as of Thanksgiving, over seven million people visited the High Line this year. Most importantly, over two million of them were New Yorkers.

unnamed-2My all-time favorite photo of the year because it just looks so fun. At our “No Filter” Teen Night, nearly 800 teens from the community came together for a night of performances, food, screen printing, a DJ, and hands-on activities focused on self-expression.

unnamed-3Close runner-up for favorite photo because it was amazing to have two tons of LEGOs on the High Line as part of Olafur Eliasson’s The collectivity project.

unnamed-4A perfect moment on the High Line—our smoke bushes with Blocks by Rashid Johnson and our new neighbor the Whitney in the background.
unnamed-5Santina, which opened underneath the High Line this past January, was recently tapped as a Top New York Restaurant by the New York Times. Its success has helped us further diversify our revenue streams.

unnamed-6This fall, Phaidon released The High Line, a new book featuring a first-hand, behind-the-scenes account from James Corner Field Operations and Diller, Scofidio and Renfro. The book captures the spirit of the project. This page shows one eighth of the plant species on the High Line.

unnamed-7Kerry James Marshall’s Above the Line mural being painted over Ed Ruscha’s Honey, I Twisted Through More Damn Traffic Today as part of our High Line Art program. Marshall’s piece is a large-scale, hand-painted mural adapted specifically for the High Line. Titled Above the Line, the mural is an extension of his Dailies series, an epic narrative of the struggle between tradition and modernity within the Afro-diasporic worldview. The works address the lack of black superheroes found in American comics, and raise historical and philosophical questions in black vernacular English. This particular comic painting, Above the Line, imagines the redevelopment of rooftop water tanks as luxury homes and condominiums. Kerry James Marshall will be the featured artist in the inaugural exhibitions at The Met Breuer.
unnamed-8One of our most popular Facebook and Instagram photos this year was from Manhattanhedge, when the setting sun aligns with Manhattan’s east-west street grid every May and July.

The High Line exists because of private funding.  Many people think that it is funded by the city, it is not.  The future is all about private/public funding from the start with private funding taking over 100% at the next stage.  Every dollar helps.  You will see a whole new ecommerce piece in the next year that I am really excited about.  Getting the High Line into the 21st Century in regards to social media, ecommerce etc is high on my list.  It has been a great start-up that is becoming more mature but as everything grows it always needs some tweaking.

Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    It’s as close to perfect as it gets.Big fan, constant and always appreciative user.They are missing the boat though. I have never been approached as an average New Yorker to support it that I can remember.Would I if done creatively? Absolutely!

    1. Gotham Gal

      Spot on answer.

  2. Kirsten Lambertsen

    So cool.”…it was amazing to have two tons of LEGOs on the High Line…” All I could see was that fabulous couple, representing so much that is good about NYC, kissing!

  3. irisheyes

    Oh, Highline, I miss you. When I first moved to NYC, I went to the MOMA and saw an exhibit about an elevated pedestrian park. What a clever idea, I thought. Two years later, I moved offices to the West Side Highway as they broke “track” on the project. We ran underneath the sparks to grab lunch at Chelsea Market. It was really happening – exciting! Two years after that, I moved apartments to the south entrance of the Highline and the sounds of the Whitney construction. By then, the secret was out and my private, little oasis was filled with visitors from all over the world. But I would sneak in a walk during quiet hours on my way back from the Chelsea Ice Rink. Now I’ve left NYC but I still have postcards of the Highline hanging my office, a happy reminder of life in the city.

    1. Gotham Gal

      a very happy reminder…

  4. kirklove

    +1 🙂

  5. Laura Yecies

    I moved away from NY in 1981 but come back multiple times per year for business and to visit family. The positive transformations continue to amaze me and the Highline is one of the best examples.

  6. pointsnfigures

    Last time I was in NYC, I walked the entire High Line. It was pretty cool and I agree, an Oasis. NYC needs more open space. This was a creative, and good way to get it. I didn’t realize it was 100% privately funded.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Most don’t realize that the High Line is privately funded so you are in good company

    2. awaldstein

      HmmmNew York actually has a lot of open space. Huge parks most everywhere.Is there a city this dense, this small anywhere in the world that has on one island this much open space?In Manhattan alone Central Park, Fort Tryon, Hudson and East river parks (26 miles of them) not to mention countless smaller places.We are hardly hurting for open space in a place where real estate is amongst the most expensive on the planet.Or so it feels living here.

      1. pointsnfigures

        As a guy from Chicago, I feel claustrophobic in NYC. But, Chicago has more parkland than any other city in the world. Not really fair to compare. Plus, we have the lake and miles and miles of public parks, bike trails etc.Unlike a lot of people that hate big cities, I do like NYC. I love the vibe, and energy. I love walking down the street. I like the small places. If an opportunity presented itself I would consider moving there.Central Park is amazing. True beauty (Olmstead was a genius), but not easily accessible from some parts of Manhattan. Down on the southern tip. Washington Park is nice. But I don’t recall seeing a lot of other parks. I think the High Line is a way cool addition. I have never spent time in Brooklyn, or Queens, or the Bronx so I can’t speak for those areas.

        1. awaldstein

          I’m a fan of Chicago and spent a lot of time there early in my adult life for the music scene (massive blues fan) and then early tech when it was a center for conferences.And honestly of all the things that Chicago has given me personally, there are two that have changed my life:Roger Ebert, a hero of mine and who I unsuccessfully chased for years to love RLD 3d when that was my gig.and of courseThe master of all storytellers and just smart radio at its best, Ira Glass and This American Life. My new year’s resolution is to start each day at 5.30 am in the gym with his radio podcast till I listen to them all. Damn, he’s amazing.Gonna be a great new year!

          1. pointsnfigures

            Ebert was an interesting guy. Champaign, IL, and moved to Chicago. He really had a different view of it than people that grew up here. What’s interesting is Chicago seems like a big town, until you go to NYC. Then it seems really small. It’s one of the best eating towns in the US (NOLA is #1). Good theatre, art, pro sports, and nice people. Needs to get its fiscal act together. The tech scene here has grown from nothing. It’s not NYC yet, but it is getting almost as big as LA’s.

          2. awaldstein

            I need to come visit this year.Been building my tech advising and more investing and the new year is off to a huge bang in that area so maybe i’ll be passing through.Another new years resolution is to travel more.Aspen next week to ski with my son. Swiss Alps and Milan end of the month, half skiing half work.And new client in LA should get me moving.2016 is gonna just be great!

          3. pointsnfigures

            Love Milan.

          4. Gotham Gal

            Ira Glass. Big fan

          5. awaldstein

            Been starting my days with him at the gym.Food for the brain and the soul and changing my days.Been a fan forever but he is bringing me back into language in podcasts as the wakeup call to start each day.

  7. JLM

    .One of my “must do” things in NYC when I visit.Privately funded? Bravo!JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  8. Deelima

    We are from NJ and frequent into the city weekly and walk the high line every month. Why…because we learned from the documentary on PBS that the fall and winter months being unique browns and beige tones that are also beautiful as they are colors’ too. It has put a new perspective for us any time we enter nature Now. Thank you for this learning and for educating us all. Deelima

  9. Lisa Mogull

    Love the High Line. What a wonderful legacy you, Fred and the rest of the group have left NYC and the world.

  10. William Mougayar

    I keep hearing about the High Line, but have never stepped foot in it. Will need to on one of my next trips this year.

    1. Gotham Gal

      you MUST go!