‘Park in sky’ really taking off, to open next year


By Joshua David

You can see a lot of activity up on the High Line these days, especially as you walk near Section 1, between Gansevoort and W. 20th Sts., projected to open to the public in 2008. The most visible work is the sandblasting and priming of the steel structure, which takes place in sealed containment units. About 60 percent of the site preparation, which also includes concrete and steel repair and an overhaul of the underside drainage system, has been completed. Contractors will begin building the park landscape, including walkways, plantings, access points and lighting, this summer.

In addition, construction will soon begin on Section 2 (20th to 30th Sts.). As with Section 1, this will start with a process in which soil, plant matter, gravel ballast, concrete and steel equipment will be removed from the rail bed. The steel railroad tracks will be lifted, tagged and stored, allowing for their integration into the High Line landscape.

Many people deserve credit for the tremendous momentum behind the High Line’s transformation, beginning with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his administration, specifically Adrian Benepe, the Parks Department commissioner, and Amanda Burden, the City Planning Commission chairperson. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Senators Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton and Representative Jerrold Nadler have also provided visionary leadership and brought much-needed public funding. All the members of High Line design, contractor and city teams have devoted thousands of hours of hard work to help build this great new public park.

Friends of the High Line continues its evolution from an advocacy group to a conservancy. Presently, F.H.L. is raising crucial funding for the construction of Section 2. In coming months, we will continue fundraising to bring private support to capital construction costs and maintenance and operations of the park for when it opens. We’re also planning a full schedule of public programs and events. For more information about our programs and to receive regular construction updates, please visit www.thehighline.org and sign up to receive our e-mail newsletter.

David is co-founder, Friends of the High Line.