At a luncheon today hosted by AREW (Association of Real Estate Women), the topic was the High Line, an old elevated railroad on the far west side of Manhattan. Even though I’ve written about the plans (click here for a pdf) to turn it into one of the most unique greenway spaces in New York, if not the entire United States, I still learned a few things while eating a really bad chicken breast lunch. First of all, I was unaware of the fact that the elevated greenway design only recently got funding for phase 2 from EDC (NYC economic development corporation), and that the design as it currently stands does not extend all the way up to the Hudson rail yards. Friends of the High Line (check out their website for tons of great images) still needs to raise $40 million, and designs have not been totally finalized (they’ll be on display next summer at an exhibit at Grand Central Station). The designs by Field Operations and Diller, Scofidio + Renfro that have been widely circulated and approved of are more or less schematic in nature. Of course, this is about as far along as one could possibly hope at this point, but the High Line seems to be a bit more in flux than I thought, especially considering how fast the buildings all around it are coming up. The Caledonia at W. 17th — a massive 540,000 square-foot residential building with 190 condos (60 percent sold) and 288 rental units — broke ground four months ago and will begin rising out of the ground shortly, according to Charles Bendit, principal of Taconic Investment Partners. So it seems that the development frenzy kicked off by the High Line will surge ahead of the High Line itself.
Photo by Joel Sternfeld, who has a whole show of High Line photos opening tonight at the Caledonia sales office at 111 8th Avenue, Suite 516 (through Dec. 15).