By Steven Spinola, president, Real Estate Board of New York
Thirty years ago, it would have been unimaginable in New York City to transform a defunct, elevated railway overgrown with shrubbery and wildflowers since the 1980s into a world-class park.
The inconceivable has become reality through The High Line, which is generating both jobs and housing, attracting tourists and creating a great economic boost and revitalization to Manhattan’s West Side.
The High Line runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th & 11th Avenues. Since opening in 2009, more than 10 million people have visited the park which has become a treasure to locals and tourists alike.
Recently, construction began on the third and final sections called the High Line at the Rail Yards, which extends one-half mile beyond the current northern end and run from West 30th Street to West 34th Street and from 10th Avenue to 12th Avenue.
The estimated $90 million extension of the park will proceed in phases and be financed by a combination of public and private funds. The first phase of the final section is projected to open to the public in 2014, and will extend The High Line park to West 34th Street connecting the Meatpacking District and West Chelsea with the future No. 7 subway station, the Javits Center, and the future Hudson Yards neighborhood, a Related Companies/Oxford Properties Group’s project that is anticipated to start construction later this fall.
The Real Estate Board of New York commends Mayor Michael Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn and Director of the NYC Planning Department Amanda Burden for this most successful development project in our city.
Revitalization is key to boost our economic climate. Design features of the extension will include familiar elements like the iconic “peel-up” benches, intimate overlooks, and meandering pathways, while introducing new design features, such as a designated play area for children, new bench typologies, and an interim walkway traveling through the existing landscape of self-seeded wildflowers, native grasses, and shrubs, which will close at dusk.
Many of the design elements will coincide with the unique context created by the future Hudson Yards neighborhood.During the ground breaking ceremony on Sept. 20, the Mayor and Speaker Quinn joined the Friends of the High Line co-founders Joshua David and Robert Hammond and students from Clinton Middle School in Chelsea to toss native grass and wildflower seeds onto the High Line’s existing landscape, which grew up between the rail tracks when the freight trains stopped running in the 1980s.
This self-seeded landscape will be part of a pedestrian path that will allow the public to directly experience the wildflowers and grasses that grew between the tracks.
The High Line at the Rail Yards will remain closed to the public for the duration of construction. However, Friends of the High Line will open the gates for visitors to explore the site during Rail Yards Weekends, a series of free and low-cost self-guided tours between noon and 4 p.m. during the first two weekends in October as part of the 10th Annual Open House New York Weekend. Reservations are required.
For the first weekend the cost is $5, go to www.ohny.org and for the second weekend it’s free, go to www.thehighline.org.
The High Line at Rail Yards project is an important generator of economic growth of our great city. We look forward to the third and final phase of The High Line being completed so all may benefit from this great transformation of Manhattan’s West Side.