Friday, July 03, 2009

The High Line

After what seemed an endless wait, the High Line Park is open on the West side of Manhattan and it is lovely. More than an actual park (no dogs, no bikes, no skates, no booze), it's an example of a great urban public space. It elegantly balances the original elements, like those amazing railings, with a very cool streamlined design.

But what it does really well is to make you notice the landscape of our magnificent city, which in this area still looks industrial and a bit forlorn, which makes it very cool. As any great architecture, it feels like it totally belongs in its context and more, it makes you reevaluate and admire the surroundings, particularly the cool buildings that have sprung up in Chelsea recently. After years of architectural drought (worse, an epidemic of uglyass, boring buildings) we now have a Frank Gehry and a Jean Nouvel across the street from each other, speaking to one another, and a couple other buildings that are fresh and interesting, not just eyesores like the ones Donald Trump likes or regulations permit. We have new, fun buildings to add to our heritage as a marvel of human buildings and that makes me very happy. It also makes me very happy that everyone I saw walking the High Line seemed as happy as me. Smiles of pleasure all around.
I think it's great that dogs, skates, bikes, etc, are not allowed. A nice little civilized bar however would not be out of order. But we still seem to be living in the times of the Mayflower as far as these things are concerned. The High Line has these cool wood chaise longues (some of them doubles!) for basking in the sun.

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