Friday, August 28, 2009

Review of the High Line

The New York Review of Books has a balanced review of the High Line. Most of which I would agree with. I walked the High Line the other evening with a horticulturist from The Horticultural Society of New York, which helped my appreciation for the variety in Piet Oudolf's planting strategy. One more point, however. I had been on the High Line some years ago before any work was done (I was working for Friends of the High Line at the time, and we did a press conference on the High Line with Mayor Bloomberg, (then) Senator Clinton, and actor, Ed Norton.) Now with the work done and lots of people up there, successful as the High Line is for all the reasons cited by the NYRB, the impression is decidedly not monumental. It has the feel on the east-west axis of a New York City pocket park -- which is dramatically contrasted by the north-south winding access which extends like an avenue -- and, of course, on the vertical axis, you're three stories above the streets. All in all, a distinctive experience, well adapted/integrated into the environment. But not stunning. It fits very well into the city in lots of dimensions. I don't think, however, it's going to be viewed ultimately as a transformative architectural/landscape addition to the city.