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The High Line (New York), June 2009 - 01

This is the Standard Hotel, at 848 Washington Street, near the southern end of the High Line. The New Yorker article says "The concrete-legged brute offers its guests prime view of the High Line; its glassed-in rooms will present park visitors with equally stimulating spectacles."


Note: for another look at the High Line, about a month after this set was photographed, and also when the weather was somewhat more interesting, see my Flickr set Return to the High Line - Jul 2009.


Note: this photo was published in an Aug 27, 2009 Consumerist blog titled "Hotel With Glass Windows Overlooking A Park Markets Itself To Exhibitionists." An Italian variation of this blog was published as "Un hotel scandalosa." It was also published in a more flamboyant Nov 11, 2009 Gawker blog titled "Guest at Horny Sex Hotel Assumes Rape Included in Price." It was also published in a Jul 27, 2010 blog titled "Get a Room? Get Some Cash! Hotel Rates Rising."




A recent Wikipedia article informs us that "the High Line is an abandoned 1.45-mile (2.33-km) section of the former elevated freight railroad of the West Side Line, along the lower west side of ... Manhattan between 34th Street ... and Gansevoort Street in the West Village. The High Line was built in the early 1930s by the New York Central and has been unused as a rail line since 1980. Part of it reopened as a city park on June 8, 2009."


Since its opening a few days ago, the High Line park has gotten quite a lot of publicity including a June 10, 2009 Huffington Post blog/article titled "Story of Reusing the City: Welcome to High Line," and a June 15-22, 2009 New York magazine article titled "The Twin Pleasures of the High Line: A Petite New Park, and a District of Lively Architecture" (the online version of which seems to be much more sparsely illustrated than the hard-copy version, though I've just been alerted to the existence of a PDF image of the photos from that New Yorker article, which you can find here).


So I ventured down to the West Village today, along with a gazillion other New Yorkers, tourists, and visitors, to see what it looked like. Photographing the crowds along the walkway was probably a worthwhile exercise, because it serves as a reminder of how many people a park like this must serve, in a city the size of New York. On the other hand, there's no question that I'll want to come back in a few months, after the novelty has worn off, to see what it looks like when it's essentially empty (showing up at 7 AM when the park opens, instead of noon, would probably help too!).


It was a gray, leaden day when I strolled through the park, with sprinkles of rain as I reached the northern end of the park at 20th Street -- and that probably didn't do much to help the pictures. I'll come back on a sunny day, sometime, and I may well wait until late afternoon or early evening, in order to catch the sunset glow in the western New Jersey skyline...


But for now, the pictures do offer a view of a very different kind of park than most people envision; instead of vast, open, grassy fields and views that try to deny the very existence of the surrounding city, this park is woven right into the abandoned train tracks, the surrounding buildings, and the abandoned piers along the Hudson River. And it has obviously inspired a wave of innovative architecture in the new hotels and office buildings that have sprouted up along the way; where possible, I've tried to identify the buildings, too, so you can draw your own conclusion about whether all of this is beautiful, inviting, or just a little bizarre.


If you're interested in finding out more, the afore-mentioned Wikipedia article has a number of links to articles and other resources about the past, the present, and the future of the High Line...

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Taken on June 13, 2009