Aside from the September 11th Memorial, what I really wanted to see was the High Line.
There’s not really a lot to say about it, it is awesome. A linear park threading through the city up above the streets.
There has been some push back, the area the High Line runs through had been what many would consider run down. The Meat Packing District was once a place where meat was packed and after the abattoirs left auto shops and other similarly non-glamourous businesses moved in. The High Line has been followed by a wave of gentrification.
So while boutiques and galleries and trendy bars have moved in”¦
“¦the old businesses are being squeezed out. Except, the High Line is high in the sky, the hoards of tourists that visit it don’t drop back down to street level very often. So the gentrifiers are now find that they are having a hard time of it as rents have gone up but the customers have not arrived.
In fact what struck me about the High Line, aside from the fact that it is beautiful and awesome, is that it is a great piece of transportation infrastructure. If you’re not stopping to gawk and have coffee and take pictures, there’s really no faster way to walk 19 blocks uptown than the High Line. Being up in the air means no interaction with the streets, no stopping every block to wait for the light, you just walk. If people take to it as a means of transportation, then they are not going to patronize the businesses beneath it.
I’m sure the gentrification will continue and more people will begin living and working in the neighborhood and the business climate will stabilize. It will stabilize at a state that is much different than it was before the High Line, but the Meat Packing District was gentrifying way before the High Line came along.
So now on with the pretty pictures:
We took the subway downtown and boarding the High Line (if you will) at West 23rd Street.
From West 23rd Street we walked south.
We walked back up to and beyond West 23rd Street:
And at the current northern end at West 30th Street:
Providence park designers take note: this linear park is NOT immediately next to a heavily trafficked highway! That’s key!
Which is to say, please don’t spend our tax money (or even your own charity dollars) on rebuilding the bike path on the rt-195 bridge over the Blackstone into a linear park. Wider, rideable bike lane, YES! Expensive narrow green park 10 feet from trucks downshifting at 65mph, NO!
Speaking of gentrification, the restaurants at the end of the high line are terrible. Expensive for stuff that’s easily available elsewhere.
The final section of the High Line will run right next to the West Side Highway.
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This has to be the future!I’d invite this into any dense city fabric.Providence must do this to accompany what it already has done. Hartford ,Sprinsfield,New Haven& Lowell could do this.Boston surely will follow New York.I already have my sketch pad out.The Providence ideas I’m drawing may surprise.95 is my first air game!
Add to the mix:
The very well-respected Whitney Museum of American Art is expanding from it’s Upper East Side location on Madison at 75th East to a second location in the Meatpacking District…. at the southern entrance to the High Line.
Construction is underway – the groundbreaking was this past May. Completion aimed at 2015.
Architect is Renzo Piano, who is currently working on a near-completed wing at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, is the architect for the new addition to the Whitney.
Actually, most of the “gentrification” that has taken place came way before the High Line even opened. I was living in West Harlem and working in SoHo at the time preceding the High Line. Meatpacking was already in full gentrification swing by the time I left the city in 2009.
However, thats not to say some gentrification is good, some bad.
I feel that here in Providence progress is often stalled, on a would be successful neighborhood, because of misconceptions and fear of what it can do to an area.
I’ve maintained that most logical approach to rebuilding the viaduct through downtown is to bury it.
The highway carries far too much traffic to be restricting lanes, etc. And it’s a short two mile run.
Then you could take two miles worth of land and develop away!
Nice idea, but it’s remote that the feds would ever consider paying for another Big Dig project anywhere in the country and that’s what burying the viaduct would become. 95 would have to be depressed from its current elevation from 195 to Branch Avenue. The I-way ramps would have to be discarded so new ones could be built to reach down to a new depressed highway tunnel, not to mention 6/10 and 146.
Instead where ever possible deck over the 95 canyon through Downtown and Smith Hill and infill the gash with buildings or better yet spend the money on a mass transit system.
News on the High Line: http://www.northjersey.com/news/ny_metro/NYCs_High_Line_gets_20M_gift.html
Now you can see the High Line on Google Street View: