National Geographic : 2011 Apr
two men were determined to keep the High Line from being torn down. In the fall of 1999 they formed Friends of the High Line. At rst their ambitions were modest. "We just wanted to ght Giuliani to keep it from being demolished," Ham- mond said. "But preservation was only the rst step, and we began to realize that we could create a new public place." e organization crept forward slowly. en came the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001. "We thought no one would care about the High Line at that point," Hammond said, "but the increased interest in urban planning and design with the ground zero design process paved the way for heightened interest in our project. People felt this was one positive thing they could do." In 2002 Friends of the High Line commissioned an economic feasibility study, which concluded that, contrary to the Giuliani administration's claim, turning the High Line into a park would help the neighborhood, not slow its development. Not long before, an abandoned rail line in east- ern Paris, near the Place de la Bastille, had been turned into a highly successful linear park called the Promenade Plantée, which gave the group's idea for the High Line a serious precedent. Although Parisian models don't transfer easily into New York, the existence of the Promenade Plantée did a lot to increase the credibility of David and Hammond's crusade. ey began to think their idea of turning the High Line into a new kind of public place might be achievable. Friends of the High Line may have been a grassroots group, but its roots were planted rmly in the world's most sophisticated art and design community. In 2003 the pair decided to hold an "ideas competition"---not a formal archi- tectural contest but an invitation to anyone to submit an idea and a design for what the High Line might become. ey expected a few dozen proposals from New Yorkers. eir call brought 720 entries from 36 countries. Gansevoort St. W. 14th St. W. 16th St. W. 18th St. W. 20th St. W. 22nd St. W. 24th St. Eleventh Ave. Tenth Ave. West Side Highway Ninth Ave. e 9A The Caledonia IAC Building Chelsea Market Standard Hotel Whitney Museum of American Art (Future site) Hudson River Chelsea Piers Pier 54 Pier 57 HUDSON RIVER GREENWAY & BIKE PATH Chelsea Grasslands Tenth Ave. Square Chelsea Thicket 23rd St. Lawn Philip and Lisa Maria Falcone Flyover Chelsea Market Passage Diller-von Furstenberg Sundeck Washington Grasslands Gansevoort Woodland 26th St. Viewing spur MEATPACKING DISTRICT CHELSEA N 0ft 400 0m 100 This ramp rises eight feet above the tracks. Trees planted on the railbed will one day shade the Falcone Flyover.