The New York Times just posted an excellent Op-Ed piece about Manhattan's planned High Line Park. It's one more example of the lack of vision within the city department of parks:
High Line, Low Aims
By Sean Wilsey
LATE last month, city officials and the group Friends of the High Line presented the final design for part of the $170 million High Line park that is under construction on the West Side of Manhattan. The High Line, an abandoned elevated railway that once carried freight to, and sometimes inside, warehouses, is already a fanciful forest of industrial decay and native plants, and it has the potential to be the most delightful and unconventional green space in the country.
And yet I was struck by the banality of the plans unveiled. The idea, come to at great expense and after much fanfare, is essentially to plant some native shrubs (the same shrubs that have been colonizing the structure since the last train ran on it, in 1980) and thread a path through them. I’d been hoping for a utopia. Instead, I got sumac. The plan’s most exciting element is a big glass panel that would allow people on 10th Avenue to look up and see the pedestrians on the High Line. This, plate glass and sumac, provides the city with absolutely nothing it doesn’t already have in abundance.
What a waste. The High Line is in many ways a metaphor for the heterogeneity of New York, and an ideal plan should reflect that. It joins two neighborhoods that have been in historic opposition: Greenwich Village, the historical heart of bohemia, and Midtown, a center of global capitalism and corporate culture. To span the gulf, it runs through a largely defunct slaughterhouse district, a gallery district, low-income housing projects, the center of gay Manhattan and heaps of old warehouses. Can’t this be a place to dream?
Read the entire piece here.
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