High Line: the Sequel
The New York Times 5/28/2011
By ROBIN POGREBIN
IT promises to be the summer’s biggest sequel: the High Line, Section 2.
Friends of the High Line, the nonprofit group that with the New York City parks department maintains the elevated railway turned park by the Hudson River, has yet to announce an opening date for the second section, except to say it will be in June. The city is closely guarding that ribbon-cutting moment so that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg can fling wide the gates.
Once he does, visitors will discover a section with its own distinct identity, running from the current end, West 20th Street, to West 30th Street: a narrow corridor bounded on both sides by the hulking buildings that are part of the area’s manufacturing history. As an e-mail from the mayor’s office put it: “The High Line, an eyesore to critics a decade ago, has become one of the most innovative and successful parks anywhere in the world. The highly anticipated second section is distinct from the first but no less remarkable.”
“Its scale is more intimate,” said James Corner, the landscape architect whose firm, James Corner Field Operations, designed the High Line with the architects Diller Scofidio & Renfro. “It feels more removed from the big city and more immersed in the neighborhood.”
To some extent, High Line fans — two million people visited last year — will once again be left hanging: There is a third and final stretch, still to be completed, up to 34th Street, but its future is uncertain. (Section 1 extends from Gansevoort Street to 20th Street and 10th Avenue.) Proponents of the High Line hope that public enthusiasm will fuel a siren call for the path’s completion. “We like to think of it as a place where people revel in doing nothing, which is an anomaly for New Yorkers,” Elizabeth Diller, one of the architects, said. “It has an unscripted, unintended, unprogrammed timelessness. You just get lost in there.”