GVSHP has a special kinship with The High Line. I mean that is what historic preservation is all about! GVSHP was one of the earliest endorsers of the plan to preserve and re-use the High Line as a public park, and actually got the first segment of the High Line determined eligible for the State and National Registers of Historic Places as a part of our Gansevoort Market Historic District in 2001. Additionally, a few years ago, High Line co-founder Josh David did a program for us about his book, High Line: The Inside Story of New York’s Park in the Sky. I remember attending that night, and being so impressed with the story of how two people (Josh and co-founder Robert Hammond) – who had never been the ‘activist’ type, never been involved in community rabble-rousing – fought the bureaucracy and won. It was so inspirational!
The elevated railway that once served the warehouses along the Hudson River waterfront, and that rough-and-tumble neighborhood that served the food industry for many years have been an important part of many of our public programs:
Back in July, photographer Brian Rose presented images from his new book Metamorphosis, a collection of before-&-after photos of the Meatpacking District. Also in July, Robin Nagle presented a lecture and slideshow about the Gansevoort Pier and its role in sanitation.
Last year, author Robin Shulman shared sections of her book Eat the City and we learned the rich history of the meat and sugar industries in this neighborhood. A few years ago, filmmaker George Cominskie gave us a screening of his documentary Westbeth—Home of the Arts. Westbeth still has an amputated section of the old elevated railway – the train used to serve this building when it was the Bell Telephone Laboratories for over 60 years.
Last December, architect and preservationist Françoise Bollack discussed her book, Old Buildings, New Forms: New Directions in Architectural Transformations. The High Line Park is an outstanding example of creative adaptive re-use of the built environment. And to be sure, the High Line is featured in Francis Morrone and Robin Lynn’s book, Guide to New York City Urban Landscapes.
You can watch video and view photos of many of our past programs here.
We’ve also written about the High Line in previous Off the Grid posts. You can read some here and here. And to learn more about the effect that the High Line has had on development in the area, you can read this New York Times article.
What a success story the High Line is! From functional to derelict, from steely gray to vibrantly colorful, the High Line has seen a lot of change over the years. Sounds like pretty much every neighborhood, doesn’t it? We are proud of our friends at the High Line and salute them on this momentous occasion. A few years back this wasn’t even possible. But when people get together to work for the common good, amazing things can happen.