Posts tagged with "High Line":

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The High Line of Hamblen County

New York and Paris will soon be joined by Morristown, Tennessee as cities that have turned abandoned, elevated bits of their aging infrastructure into pleasant walkways. New York’s High Line and Paris’ Promenade Plantee have justifiably received many pages of press, but Morristown’s 1968 Skywalk is known to few people outside of eastern Tennessee. The sheer audacity of the concrete promenade—“built to Interstate quality,” with planter boxes and piped-in Musak—should rank it with the better-known works of 1960s utopian planning. It’s not exactly Cedric Price’s Potteries Thinkbelt in aspiration, but more like Peter and Alison Smithson’s concrete service ramps in Robin Hood Gardens if they were designed by Victor Gruen. Yet unlike most of the era’s utopian visions, over 1,000 feet of Skywalk was actually built. Morristown’s Main Street grew up directly above a main line railroad and a waterway known as Turkey Creek. In 1962 the creek flooded, nearly wiping out the commercial district. At the same time, a suburban shopping mall was ruining the historic downtown district, and the city developed a plan to modernize Main Street by creating an “overhead sidewalk” that would turn the second floor of the existing buildings into a new street while serving as a canopy for the sidewalks below. Building owners spent nearly $2 million upgrading their properties and linking them to the ramp, while the government contributed over $5 million to build the ramp and place Turkey Creek underground. The project, the city fathers hoped, would turn the dilapidated central business district into a bright and enticing commercial haven and “aesthetically place the downtown on par with any shopping center.” In the end, however, the Skywalk was no match for air-conditioned and enclosed suburban shopping malls, and it has served as little more than a roof over the sidewalk and a remnant of the idealism of 1960s urban renewal. That may soon change, though, as Morristown is embarking on a resurrection of the Skywalk as a social and commercial hub. A newly accessible ramp has been built up to the walkway, and it has been made a key element in a greenway master plan for the region. (Plus, it’s about to receive a fresh coat of paint.) Town librarian Bill Denton claims the Skywalk remains a source of pride for many local residents. It may not have saved Morristown’s Main Street in the 1960s, but to its credit, it was essentially an urban approach that may outlive all the ill-conceived suburban malls built in the 1970s and beyond.
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High Line Reaches The Street

Today, The Wall Street Journal ran an article on the High Line, written by none other than AN's Executive Editor, Julie V. Iovine. Employing the same skill for observation and elegant phrasing that she applied to our own sneak peek of the elevated park back in April, Iovine has brought the wonders of this industrial-wreck-turned-lilly-scented-promenade to a whole new readership: the brokers and bankers of The Street. The Journal also put together this video on the High Line just before its opening. Enjoy!
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The Art Above

As the first segment of The High Line opened to the public on Monday, the first public art commission to occupy the space was unveiled. An installation by Brooklyn-based artist Spencer Finch, The River That Flows Both Ways, is a collection of 700 tinted films applied to the existing windowpanes of a semi-enclosed loading dock attached to The Chelsea Market. Anne Pasternak, President and Artistic Director at Creative Time, the cultural partner of Friends of the High Line, described the project: “He takes old window mullions in a dark, unremarkable tunnel and transforms them into reflections of color and light taken from the nearby Hudson River.” The installation is based on a single day Finch spent in a boat floating up- and downriver propelled only by the natural flow of the Hudson. A camera, on a timer, took a photograph of the water once a minute for 11 hours and 40 minutes. Later, selecting the exact color of a single point in each photograph, Finch produced a film with which he laminated the windows and organized in chronological order. The River That Flows Both Ways is a subtle work, unassuming at first glance, especially with construction still taking place around it. On its first day open, passersby were observed walking halfway through the underpass, apparently unaware of the exhibit, and suddenly stopped to look at the playfulness and soothing colors of Finch’s work. The park currently plans on presenting at least one other major public art project, scheduled for next spring. The artist and the project will be announced in the next few months. Pasternak explained that in addition, “Friends of the High Line will be launching an artist residency program this fall through which artists will be invited to create new work that interprets the site's past, present, and future.” The new curator for this program is Lauren Ross. Adrian Benepe, the Parks & Recreation Commissioner, also shared his view of the park’s future. “The High Line will be one of the city’s best outdoor art museums,” he said. With Finch's work now on view, the elevated park has a great start.
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Dry Line

Unless you’re living under a rock, you already know the High Line officially opened its first section to the public on Monday. One of its highly styled neighbors and our favorite designer happens to also be one of its biggest supporters, not just financially speaking! Diane von Furstenberg recently released a newly designed limited edition towel that is, according to her blog, “inspired by the tracks of the railroad.” Available at her Washington Street studio, which is conveniently located steps away from the Gansevoort Street entrance to the High Line, and online, the towel retails for $75 and a percentage of the proceeds will go towards Friends of the High Line to help raise funds for the remaining sections and maintenance. So if you haven’t already been, the green promenade that stretches from Gansevoort Street to West 20th Street is now open daily for strolling from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Don’t forget to grab your towel on the way!

Lights, Camera, High Line!

Sundance Channel recently launched a new online video series titled “High Line Stories,” profiling activists, artists, architects, landscape architects, City officials, and celebrities involved in turning the abandoned elevated railroad track into a park paradise.

Including commentary by Adam Gopnik of The New Yorker, Adrian Benepe, Commissioner, New York City Dept. of Parks & Recreation, Amanda Burden, Chair, New York City Planning Commission, James Corner, landscape architect for the High Line, and Piet Oudolf, planting designer for the High Line, Diane von Furstenberg, fashion designer, Ric Scofidio and Liz Diller, High Line architects, Ethan Hawke, Joel Sternfeld, photographer, Robert Hammond and Joshua David, Co-Founders, Friends of the High Line, and Kevin Bacon, the ten featured episodes explore the profiled individuals relationship to the High Line as well as the structure's impact on the city. Even without the commentary, these breathtaking panoramic video shots are sure to get you excited for the park’s official opening next month.

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Graffitigate

As Gothamist and Curbed have pointed out today, workers up on the High Line have begun removing one of the elevated track cum park's dozens (hundreds? thousands?) of graffitos, as seen in the picture above. Everyone seems to be worried about this one mediocre piece, but it's our sorry job to report that the tragedy goes far deeper than that. When we took our tour of the High Line a few weeks ago, one of the most striking things was the impressive graffiti covering the neighboring buildings. With the exception of all those shiny new buildings, it seems every spare brick and beam within arm's reach of the High Line had been coated in decades worth of Krylon. Having glimpsed all this hidden treasure, the obvious question to our journalistic minds--after we got over being awestruck by it all--was what's gonna happen to all this, well, art? One of our chipper tour guides answered something to this effect (and we're paraphrasing here): "As you can imagine, the city doesn't look too kindly on graffiti, so it all has to come down. We'll be painting over it. The city doesn't want to be seen as condoning or encouraging graffiti here. Or anywhere else, for that matter." It's probably too late to save the graffiti, so the best we can hope is that someone's documented it for posterity's sake. We're sure it would make a nice coffee table book, seeing as how it's been deemed unsuitable for public consumption.