“Unfortunately, there currently appears to be a lot of misinformation in the public domain, which is disheartening,” the statement continued. Initial renderings of the project revealed a large green space set below a series of new towers that edges up to the High Line towards 34th Street. This landscape, or green deck, would cover the active rail yard below and help promote ventilation from underneath the development. Crain’s New York pointed out that the original environmental impact statement released by The Related Cos. in 2009 claimed both Hudson Yards or Western Yard would be accessible and open. Phase one of the site opened last March along with The Vessel by Heatherwick Studio. Immediately after welcoming visitors, Husdon Yards was forced to update its controversial photo policy related to the Vessel. Once the public found out that climbing the spiraling structure meant giving up rights to personal images, audio, or video without credit, the terms and conditions were changed.
(1/4) We have always shared the vision that the Western Yard should include a great public open space. We don’t yet have a final design but have always understood clearly that our open space needs to work well with the High Line and the Hudson River.— Hudson Yards NYC (@_HudsonYardsNYC) January 15, 2020
Posts tagged with "High Line":
After outcry from city officials and local New York community groups, the developers behind Hudson Yards have backed down on building a 720-foot-long wall the neighborhood's southwestern perimeter. In a tweet today, Related Companies and Oxford Property Group said the site’s upcoming second phase will instead be open and connected to the High Line instead of overshadowing it as previously reported. “Our plan has always been to build an open space along the lines of this years-old rendering and we are working to manage the technical challenges to achieve this,” the tweet reads. “There has never been a wall along the High Line and there will never be a wall.” Last week, The New York Times broke the news that the real estate giants planned to place a 20-foot-high concrete wall around Western Yard, its official name, and include a new parking garage below a Nelson Byrd Woltz-designed “green deck.” Civic leaders including Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson expressed anger over the wall, even calling the proposal a “breach of to public trust.” Robert Hammond, a cofounder of the High Line, sent out an email blast to the park's supporters, asking them to prepare to take action. But today, Hudson Yards issued a series of tweets rebutting the entire idea:
New Yorkers may have told themselves over the last year since Hudson Yards opened to the public that there could never be and will never be anything worse than the luxury mega-development—what some view as an architectural ode to capitalism. But today, news broke that things could possibly get worse. Michael Kimmelman revealed for the New York Times that the real estate giant Related Companies may build a 720-foot-long, 20-foot-high concrete wall around the western and southern borders of Hudson Yards, effectively creating a shadow over the northernmost portion of the High Line. This could potentially be part of the development's highly-anticipated second, the phase aptly named Western Yard, which will include a slew of new towers by Herzog & de Meuron, Frank Gehry, Santiago Calatrava, and Robert A.M. Stern, as well a new public school and 12-acre park designed by Nelson Byrd Woltz. The landscape, or green deck as it's referred to in renderings, was initially conceived as a covering to the platform that will bridge over the existing Amtrack rail yard on-site. Renderings of the project showed the park spilling over and onto 12th Avenue at West 30th Street. But according to the NYT, recently Related has been discussing the idea of adding a parking garage under the deck instead and elevating its edge from east to west with a curved wall. Not only would a wall separate the development's veritable "front yard" from the public, but it would cast a dark shadow and potentially dangerous presence onto the High Line. Kimmelman said it best:
"Among other things, the wall would visually and perhaps otherwise obscure public access from the High Line and from the street into the yard, turning Related’s development into a man-made promontory, its occupants gazing down on the High Line’s visitors. It would also make the High Line seem the equivalent of an old city fire escape: a piece of aged infrastructure stuck to a wall."A spokesperson for Related told NYT the idea has only been part of preliminary discussions with neighborhood representatives and that “connectivity to surrounding neighborhoods and the High Line will be critically important" moving forward. The final decision has yet to be determined, but whatever Related does settle on will have to pass approval from both Community Board 4 and the City Planning Commission.
Bonetti/Kozerski's Pace Gallery rises over the Chelsea scene with volcanic stone and foamed aluminum
Brought to you with support fromNew York's leading art galleries are in a figurative arms race; buildings upwards and outwards to accommodate museum-sized curatorial ambitions. In September, the Pace Gallery, led by Marc and Arne Glimcher, joined the fray with the opening of its new 75,000-square-foot gallery in West Chelsea. The project, designed by Bonetti/Kozerksi Architecture with facade consultancy by Studio NYL, is clad in volcanic stone mega panels, foamed aluminum, and topped with an aluminum-and-glass crown. The project rises to eight stories on the site of the gallery's former one-story location, with a boxy massing in keeping with the turn-of-the-century warehouses and former industrial sites found adjacent to the High Line. To this end, the street-facing northern elevation is broken up by rhythmically placed floor-to-ceiling rectangular windows flanked by masonry. At the cornice, the structure steps back to facilitate space for a 4,800-square-foot sculpture court located beneath a suspended two-story gallery space clad with 17-foot-tall glass windows.
A High Line-like park for Washington, D.C. has been in the works since 2014 and was supposed to open later this year, but construction hasn’t even started. The 11th Street Bridge Park project, a 1.45-mile-long elevated landscape that aims to dramatically connect Anacostia to Capitol Hill, features a landscaped vision by OMA and OLIN that also comes with an amphitheater, public plaza, cafe, and hammock grove. Thanks to a recent $5 million donation by utility company Exelon, the ambitious public project is much closer to breaking ground and will now feature an 11,000-square-foot environmental education center. DCist reported that local officials expect the latest news of fundraising to inspire others to support the plan. For the last few years, both Washington-based organizations, philanthropists, and large corporations such as JPMorgan have pledged millions of dollars, all of which will be dropped into what’s now being described as a $139 million capital community investment campaign—a number far higher than the $40 million initially projected five years ago. According to Scott Kratz, director of the 11th Street Bridge Park project, the money will go both toward the build-out of the revitalized bridge as well as a series of equitable development strategies. Kratz told DCist that this move is key in ensuring that the residents of Ward 6 in Capitol Hill proper, as well as 7 and 8 in Anacostia, get first access to construction jobs onsite and a say in the park’s overall development. Additionally, both the city and the Ward 8 nonprofit in charge of the proposal, Building Bridges Across the River at THE ARC, aim to keep the cost of living low surrounding the new park. Another way the team is trying to elevate community life in the area is through the creation of the newly-announced Exelon Environmental Education Center, where kids can learn about science, engineering, river health, and flora and fauna. DCist reported that it will be run by the Anacostia Watershed Society and sit on the eastern end of the park. The site will be aptly surrounded by the 1,200-acre Anacostia Park, as well as a slew of highways separating it from residential and commercial properties nearby. So far, a design team for the new hub has not been chosen, but with Exelon’s gift, the entire project is nearly fully funded at a total of $111.5 million. Kratz said the 11th Street Bridge Park is slated to open in 2023.
Without having to leave the firm’s office on the eighteenth floor of Manhattan’s old Starrett-Lehigh Building, employees at Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) have front-row views of five of the studio’s projects. They can look down at the High Line, the project that helped win the practice global attention, gaze over at The Shed, the brand-new arts space at Hudson Yards, or look farther north to Lincoln Center, which DS+R transformed into an inclusive public space. “Being so close to our work was definitely unintentional when we moved into this office in 2006,” said principal Charles Renfro. At the time, the firm had just wrapped up construction on the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, design work had begun on the High Line, and the practice was still mainly known for experimental installations and interiors, like the former Brasserie Restaurant in the Seagram Building. But now, just 13 years later, DS+R has 24 active projects around the world, including the Hungarian Museum of Transport in Budapest, and the expansion of New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). With its planned completion this fall, MoMA will mark the firm’s ninth built project in New York City, most of which only broke ground in the last decade. While DS+R’s work, no matter the typology, has always tried to activate public space, Renfro said finding projects that also address issues of inequity, housing, and climate change are top of mind now. “It’s imperative for architects, who have a cultural position that’s respected and are given so much opportunity, to take their knowledge, experience, and influence and share that with organizations and people that are less likely to get it naturally,” he said. “It’s important that our design thinking is put to use in the public realm. We want to better people’s lives.” The Shed & 15 Hudson Yards Completed 2019 New York’s newest destination for the performing and visual arts, The Shed, designed with Rockwell Group, is a transformative piece of infrastructure spanning eight levels housing galleries, a theater, rehearsal space, creative lab, and upper-floor event space with natural light. Jutting out from the base of DS+R and Rockwell Group's 910-foot-tall 15 Hudson Yards, the development’s first residential skyscraper, the city-backed cultural space boasts a telescoping outer shell covered in cloudy ETFE panels. High Line (and The Spur) Completed: Phase 1, 2009; Phase 2, 2011; Phase 3, 2014 Together with James Corner Field Operations and Piet Oudolf, DS+R designed the 1.5-mile-long elevated park for Manhattan’s West Side and created a bespoke paving system using precast concrete planks that allows plants to grow through its cracks. The “pathless landscape” has propelled a global rails-to-trails movement as well as throngs of high-end development along the park. Most recently, The Spur, the last section, which connects to the adjacent Hudson Yards megadevelopment, opened to the public. Lincoln Center Public Spaces Completed 2009, 2010 The iconic Lincoln Center campus was dramatically revitalized in 2010 when DS+R completed a 70,000-square-foot redesign of its public spaces. In an effort to turn the exclusive arts and culture hub practically inside out, the team connected and activated the on-site plazas and introduced a new central spine from 65th Street to Columbus Avenue. The project also included a renovation of the Juilliard School, a new Alice Tully Hall, an expansion of the School of American Ballet studios, and the addition of the Hypar Pavilion and Lincoln Ristorante. MoMA Expansion Opening October 21, 2019 DS+R will give the 53rd Street entrance of the midtown museum a facelift and add 40,000 square feet of new gallery space to its building. The project, a collaboration with Gensler, has been unveiled in phases and also includes the rehab and extension of the historic Bauhaus staircase to the upper-floor galleries, and the addition of a new, first-floor lounge that faces the sculpture garden. Once finished, the design overhaul will allow MoMA to enhance its experimental, performing, and visual arts offerings, and should connect it more seamlessly with the public.
Brought to you with support fromThe most recent addition to an already impressive collection of architectural characters inhabiting New York City’s High Line, 40 Tenth Avenue offers a sculpted massing that will maximize its solar exposure along the public park. The project, led by Studio Gang, is situated between the Hudson River and the High Line, with a primary west-facing orientation. To minimize the afternoon shadow cast onto the park, the architects developed a uniquely inverted, stepped setback shape to the building.
glass. Despite a rather complex massing, the geometry of the enclosure was refined into a canted, diamond-shaped panel, surrounded by triangulated panels set perpendicular to the slab edges. The overall effect is a faceted, three-dimensional version of the architectural corner—perhaps a recasting, or import, of the Miesian corner to one of Manhattan’s most significant public spaces. The project adds to a portfolio of high-rises designed by the Chicago-based practice (which also has offices in New York, San Francisco, and Paris) that explore “solar carving” as a formal and performative strategy. “'Solar Carving’ is one strand of a larger body of research about how we can make buildings responsive to the specific qualities if their context and climate,” said Studio Gang design principal Weston Walker. “To maximize sunlight, fresh air, and river views for the public park, we pushed the building toward the West Side Highway and carved away from its southeast and northwest corners according to the incident angles of the sun’s rays.” A growing issue for the High Line is the diminishing degree of sunlight caused by the development of Manhattan’s Far West Side. According to Walker, the city’s prevailing 1916 Zoning Resolution—legislation that mandated ziggurat-like setbacks to boost ventilation and light for city streets—did not anticipate the proliferation of midblock public spaces such as the High Line. “As-of-right zoning would have endangered rather than protected the park by allowing the tower to be built directly over the High Line.” Studio Gang design principal Weston Walker will present 40 Tenth Avenue at Facades+ New York on April 2 as part of the "Optimizing the Form" panel.Clad in a high-performance curtain wall from Italian firm Focchi, the tower integrates 12 types of
Three of Heatherwick Studio’s monumental projects are taking shape along Manhattan’s High Line, part of the transformation of the Meatpacking neighborhood from a gritty industrial landscape to a playground for the ultra-wealthy. From Hudson Yards at the elevated park’s northern-most tip, to the manmade island taking shape on the coast off of 15th Street, AN recently checked in on the status of the London studio's rapidly rising projects. Pier 55 Pier 55 seemed like it was on the verge of financial collapse just a year ago, as the cost of the Barry Diller–backed project rose to $250 million and the nonprofit Hudson River Park Trust was buffeted by lawsuits. Diller withdrew his support of the 2.75-acre pocket park in the Hudson, and the floating island, supported by sculpted concrete piers, looked like it was never going to happen. Then, thanks to Governor Cuomo stepping in at the last minute to mediate between billionaire Douglas Durst, the City Club of New York, and Diller, the project was declared back on. When AN last toured the site in April of 2018, piles were being driven into the Hudson’s riverbed for the two walkways that would lead to the park. Now, at the start of 2019, it appears that construction is picking up steam. Most, if not all, of the piers appear to be in place, and the 132 sculptural, wave-like concrete caps are being installed. Each of the “pots” was fabricated in Upstate New York from custom foam molds and it’s expected that they’ll be fully installed in March 2020. The installation is on hold for the winter and should begin again in May of this year. Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects will be handling the landscape design proper, and the park is expected to open in early 2021. Once complete, Pier 55 will include an amphitheater and two landscaped staging areas. 515 West 18th Street Further north on 18th Street, the first tower of the two-pronged 515 West 18th Street has already topped out. The 425,000-square-foot development was only first revealed in January 2018 thanks to a video aimed at luring foreign investors, but the project has already made considerable progress in a year. The split project drew polarizing reactions for its bulging, barrel-like bay windows, which almost seem to be inflated from the inside. The two towers (connected via a single-story annex under the High Line) are expected to bring 181 condos to the neighborhood. The 10-story tower on the eastern half of the High Line has topped out as of January 2019, and the western tower, which will reach 22 stories so that residents can catch views across the Hudson River, is already above ground. It’s likely the condos in the finished development will be pricey, as developer Related Companies has promised high-end interiors, plenty of amenities, and 175 parking spots. Coincidentally enough, Thomas Heatherwick’s High Line–straddling project is going up right next to BIG’s; on the southern side of 18th street is the XI, the Bjarke Ingels Group’s pair of twisting, travertine-clad towers. Once complete sometime in mid-2020, Heatherwick’s bulging towers will sit comfortably between the Gehry-design IAC building to the west, and venerable performing arts space the Kitchen to the north. The Vessel At the High Line’s northern terminus, looming over the entire park is the glass-heavy presence of Hudson Yards. At the center of this massive public-private development is the Vessel, Thomas Heatherwick’s $150 million, 150-foot-tall, bronzed-steel-and-concrete staircase sculpture. Completely climbable (an elevator will also be included for those unable to take the stairs), the Vessel features over 154 flights of stairs, 80 landings, and over 2,400 treads. The installation expands as it rises, going from a 50-foot-wide footprint at the base to a 150-foot-wide diameter at the top. Once at the top, visitors can expect unobstructed views across the Hudson River, down the city, and of the surrounding Hudson Yards neighborhood. The piece was prefabricated in 75 large parts in Italy, then assembled on site, with the last segment installed in December of 2017. When AN visited the site last, construction workers were busy putting the finishing touches on the sculpture’s rails and lights. Phase one of Hudson Yards, which includes the Vessel and the development’s five-acre public plaza in which it sits, is expected to open to the public on March 15 of this year.
The entire length of New York's High Line is increasingly being buried between dense blocks of mid-rise luxury residential buildings. One of the pleasures of the elevated walkway is the view it allows out to the surrounding city, but the park's viewing spots are increasingly being blocked by new buildings replacing surface parking lots along the walkway. The 10th Avenue and 17th street overlook, with its tiered seating facing north up the broad avenue, is still one of the best public spaces in the city. Now the Friends of the High Line, the nonprofit that runs the walkway is preparing a spectacular new viewing site along the elevated public/private park. The space is a spur off the main trunk line of the old rail bed that crosses over 10th Avenue at 30th Street. It stands dead center over 10th Avenue and allows for spectacular views up and down the wide boulevard. AN was given a tour of the still unopened spur by Cecilia Alemani from High Line Art and Adam Ganser, vice president for planning and design for the park. The overlook is set to open in April 2019 is currently being prepared to house a plinth upon which High Line Arts will place a rotating series of sculptures visible for cars driving north on the one-way boulevard. The first art project on the plinth will be Brick House, a sixteen-foot-tall bronze bust of a black woman by Brooklyn’s Simone Leigh. The sculpture's head, which will be clearly visible to the street below, is crowned by an afro, with cornrow braids that end with cowrie shells. The sculptor claims the female bronze is influenced by the architectural styles of “Benin, Cameroon, and Chad, a restaurant from the American South and Batammaliba architecture” from Togo. The skirted torso will have the effect of serving as an obelisk supporting a perspectival view that virtually never occurs in a city of gridded streets that never end in a public space. The overlook is the perfect place for a public viewing platform, and High Line Arts is preparing to make it the city’s next great public space.
An upcoming traveling exhibition put on by Friends of the High Line will invite cities and local artists to imagine what monuments should look like in the 21st century. New Monuments for New Cities, the inaugural project of the High Line Network Joint Art Initiative, will feature 25 site-specific artworks set within five urban reuse projects across the United States and Canada. The public art showcase, running from February to October of next year, will take an important look at the role monuments have played in shaping cities and how they successfully speak to or, in some cases, misrepresent the people who live there. A diverse set of artists from each locale have been selected to submit proposals for the project in the form of posters. “As memorials to the deeply imbalanced history of the Western world are being torn down, the current moment demands critical thought and creativity about the monuments that adorn our cities,” said Chief Curator of High Line Art Cecilia Alemani in a statement. “These proposals from today’s artists offer an inspiring range of vision for how we might eternalize this point in society’s progress.” The posters or renderings will be projected for two to four months at a time within several major industrial reuse spaces in North America including the Buffalo Bayou in Houston, Texas; Waller Creek in Austin; The 606 in Chicago; and The Bentway in Toronto. The exhibition will finish its international tour on the High Line next fall, coinciding with the High Line Network’s annual meeting and its first public symposium.
Across the country, cities are reimagining old industrial landscapes as innovative parklands and restorative ecologies as a way to connect urban dwellers with nature and protect the environment. A new design ideas competition in Buffalo, New York, aims to revitalize the city’s 1.5-mile elevated DL&W rail corridor as a multiuse urban nature trail and greenway. The project is set not only to spur economic development for Buffalo but to reshape the city, becoming a local attraction much like the Toronto’s Bentway or Atlanta’s Beltline. Organized by the Western New York Land Conservancy (WNYLC), the competition invites architects, designers, landscape architect, urban planners, and artists to submit visionary concepts of the corridor as a nature-filled connector for downtown Buffalo, its waterfront, and the surrounding historic neighborhoods. The project is backed by several major sponsors, including M&T Bank and the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr., Legacy Funds, a group that’s part of the late Buffalo Bills owner’s namesake foundation which, just last month, pledged to invest $200 million in both Buffalo and Detroit’s parks and trails systems. The corridor is owned by Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority and has long been a focal point of potential redevelopment for residents and city officials alike. Last year, the WNYLC published a community vision for the site that will guide its future design. “After listening to the community’s hopes for the DL&W corridor, we are excited to give designers from Western New York and around the world a chance to show us how they would bring those hopes to life,” said Nancy Smith, executive director of the WNYLC in a statement. “This spring we will share the designs with the community and ask the community what they think of the ideas, what they like, and what they would do differently.” The competition will be judged by a jury of architects, educators, planners, and consultants including representatives from the University of Buffalo, Stoss Landscape Urbanism, and Friends of the High Line. The proposals will be unveiled online next spring and will also be featured in several public exhibitions in Buffalo. Three winners, including the jury’s favorite as well as the community’s pick, will receive monetary awards ranging from $1,000 to $7,500. To enter the competition, participants must register for free by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on submission guidelines and the competition brief, see here. An optional site visit for applicants will be held on January 4, 2019, and submissions are due February 15.
Brought to you with support fromSince the construction of the High Line’s first section in 2009, Manhattan’s Meatpacking District has undergone a dramatic transformation from a declining industrial district to a burgeoning site of development attracting leading national and international firms. Now, California’s Backen & Gillam Architects has stamped its presence in the neighborhood with a modern aluminum-and-glass screen wall inserted atop a restored historic reddish-brown brick warehouse.
Landmarks Preservation Commission pushed the design team to draw upon the neighborhood’s prevailing historical elements: the bolts, splices, and rivet patterns found on steel and cast-iron awnings, as well as elevated infrastructure. The new black aluminum frames primarily consist of a set of prefabricated components. Each frame is composed of two aluminum cross braces which are fitted to a set of turnbuckles, allowing for the adjustment of tension across the screen wall. T-frames studded with bolts are the primary vertical and horizontal elements of the screen wall. These can be split into two categories: structural members that run the length of the elevation and drive into the building below, and beams supporting the overall rigidity of the frame. This entire system is connected to an array of vertical mullions through existing steel brackets and a new screen wall connector. For the project, Backen & Gillam worked closely with the manufacturer, Ahlborn Structural Steel, to produce a kit of parts that was easy to assemble on site. Every component shipped from Santa Rosa, California, was designed as a three-piece unit set to maximize space on the convoy of flatbed trucks that carted them across the country. Each aspect of the screen wall, down to the bolts, were numbered and classified to ease their installation. In total, the design and construction teams were able to erect the entire addition in approximately two weeks. Gillam's interior spaces maintain the structure's historical bones while providing room to breathe for the new. The central and defining moment of the internal spaces is the light-filled, six-story atrium extending the full height of the complex, with successive rows of fluted Corinthian columns bordering aluminum-and-glass balconies.Located on the corner of Little West 12th Street and 9th Avenue, the nearly 100,000-square-foot project for the retailer formerly known as Restoration Hardware, now known as RH, is within the stringently-protected Gansevoort Market Historic District. The building itself was constructed over a century ago as a retail warehouse, and ultimately transformed into a garage for the renowned Astor family. For project lead Jim Gillam, the constraints set by the
It isn’t often that one has the chance to perform in a world premiere. I’ve performed in a few during my forty years as an avocational singer, but never anything like the Mile Long Opera (MLO), which ran in New York City from October 2 to 8, 2018. Because I am also an architect, performing as a singer and actor in the MLO was a special privilege. I was able to see both the dramatic material and the urbanistic setting from an insider’s point of view. I am convinced that David Lang, Liz Diller, Claudia Rankine, Anne Carson, and the producers of MLO created a modern masterpiece. With the rather enigmatic subtitle, “A Biography of Seven O’Clock,” the MLO’s hype suggested that audience members would get a taste, maybe a big gulp, of what makes New York City so extraordinary, and also so ordinary. The first surprise was that they delivered on that promise. By using choirs from throughout the city’s five boroughs, some professional and/or small, others amateur and/or large, the creative team assembled a cast that resonated with just about everyone. Sprinkling some professional opera singers among the throng of ordinary folks provided just enough weight to please the likes of Renée Fleming, who attended a performance in mid-week, and other cognoscenti. It would have been easy to lose the multi-ethnic and multi-cultural flavor of so many New York singers strung single file along a narrow, mile-and-a-half walkway, especially in the evening hours under varied lighting conditions. Here, the production designers earned their stripes by developing several masterful costume and lighting conceits. The most effective was the duck-like baseball cap worn by the majority of us, which bathed the face in a soft, ethereal aurora. Audience members described the effect of the floating faces as dreamlike—we were instructed to wear only dark so our faces would stand out. By lighting the faces of each performer, MLO designers brought both the wonderful variety and the individuality of New York’s inhabitants into focus on the High Line. As the audience walked by, each singer or speaker could touch passing strangers with a look or an expression, while also declaiming their portions of the libretto (some of it in Spanish). I can say that for me, those brief glances from listeners were unforgettable. I thought of the paintings on the wall of a museum gazing out at amazed art lovers—Magritte would be jealous. Was there music in this opera? Yes and no. David Lang, of Bang on a Can fame, has explored sound in just about every possible way during a long career. Thus one would hardly have expected a conventional piece of musical theater, and indeed those of us singing and speaking our parts were initially rather confused by what we heard. There were no chords, no apparent melody, no key signatures, and apparently no “leitmotifs” to provide a map of the work. Even the first rehearsals were puzzling—where would we stand in relation to our fellow choir members? Was there an alto or bass part? All we knew was that this was a piece for voices and that we would be singing without amplification. There were big risks involved in putting singers of varying abilities out in the midst of a bustling urban environment. How could anyone but an operatic diva be heard above the street noise? When I looked at the first robot camera footage of the “cells” (individual areas with specific parts of the libretto and music) that were posted by the sponsor, Target, I was concerned that many voices were not coming through the texture. After performing for a couple of nights I realized what I had missed, and why our composer had written such unusual “music.” This was an immersive experience. Even more important than seeing the piece on the High Line was listening to every voice along the way. Lang gave the audience an active part in the drama as it unfolded before them. You really had to “lean in” to get the full intellectual and sensory power of the narrative. By lighting the faces of each performer, or group of performers, Lang and his collaborators invited the audience to parse the threads of text, sound, and light, both momentary and temporally continuous. The music and libretto established a repeating theme, marked by phrases and distinctive vocal riffs, that would eventually make sense in the context of a moving, walking perceptual gestalt. There was, first of all, the recurrence of the dining table in the spoken narrative. I did not realize how my version of this little “recollection” would strike audience members as they heard me say “Between us, I love my dining room table.” With a common memory, shared by so many of us, Claudia Rankine established an immediate frame of reference. In the music, themes of community, loss, loneliness, love, and deprivation played out in vignettes sung by recognizable characters from the city: a Vietnamese nail salon technician, a construction worker, an eight-year-old walking with his aunt, lovers at the movies, a hotel maid, a window washer. One thousand voices, each distinct, would finally create a “cloud” of meaning, at least in theory. Before each performance, we heard our directors describe the “miracle” that was occurring each night. Press notices were positive, but it was the audience that gave us the best feedback on the piece. They were spellbound, amazed, and entirely engaged. Friends invariably would ask if tickets were available—they had heard the hype. Alas, anyone who failed to get a pass would miss one of the cultural events of the new century. I thought of how pissed I was to have missed Einstein On The Beach. It was like you had to see MLO in order to be a hip New Yorker in 2018, at least among choral geeks. For architects, the allure was just as strong. The tapestry sound would not have been so striking without the incredible setting of the High Line. One should always mention James Corner and the community activists who fought to save the elevated tracks from Gansevoort to 34th Street, because this was adaptive re-use at its best. Architect Liz Diller and her staff saw the potential of the linear park as a performance space and helped to design the enhancements to the setting that made the piece ring so beautifully, in a visual sense. Indeed, it was the synesthetic character of the Mile Long Opera that I believe signaled its importance as a new kind of performance piece. The Mile Long Opera was an intense distillation of the things that make New York the greatest city in the world. It brought us the city of the imagination, the city of technology, the city of skyscrapers, the city of world theater, the city of music, the city of strangers, the city of magic, the city of poverty, the city of transport, the city of wealth, and above all the place that we call New York. At the end of the performance, Anne Carson’s poetry captured everything in a few trenchant, Whitmanesque lines: “Whatever can happen in a city can happen in this city, whatever can happen to anyone can happen to us. Onward rolls the bright current.”