The story of New York’s High Line (part 3 of 5): The vision [video]
Content provided by CSX
Part 3: The vision
While it was clear the remnants of the historic High Line couldn’t be used to run trains, what it could be used for wasn’t as clear.
“One of the first things CSX did was commission a study [by the Regional Plan Association] on what do about the High Line,” says Laurie Izes, CSX project manager.
Possible uses of the structure and rights-of-way included parking decks and rolling billboards, recalls Crosby. Also among the possible ideas for the High Line was rail banking – a consensual agreement granting communities right-of-way for rail lines no longer in use. Enrolling the viaduct in the federal “Rails to Trails” program through rail banking, could allow the transformation of the High Line into the city’s most unique park. It was that possibility that captured the imaginations of Joshua David and Robert Hammond, who just happened to be sitting next to each other at the public hearing in which CSX executives presented the study. David and Hammond established Friends of the High Line and a movement was born.
“It was really Friends of the High Line that got the ball going on this and started to create the drama and enthusiasm for this public park,” recalls Pete Shudtz, vice president of federal regulation and general counsel for CSX.
Just as the paintings of Thomas Moran inspired a nation to preserve Yellowstone National Park, the photographs of Joel Sternfeld convinced many New Yorkers the High Line was worth saving.
“One of the single most important things that happened to save the High Line in the very early days was when CSX made it possible for Joel Sternfeld’s project to photograph the High Line,” says David. “They basically made it possible for the world to see what was on top of the High Line.”
What the world saw was a long, narrow wild flower meadow winding above the congested streets of the West Side. They saw something you’ll find nowhere else — something worth saving.
The story of New York’s High Line (part 2 of 5): The challenges
The story of New York’s High Line (part 4 of 5): The plan
|Watch the full video
Improbable Journey: The story of New York’s High Line
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