Have you ever been to the High Line in NYC? It’s one of my favorite places in the city not only because of its beauty, but because of its history. The High Line was built in the 1930s, as part of a massive public-private infrastructure project called the West Side Improvement. It lifted freight traffic 30 feet in the air, removing them from Manhattan’s largest industrial district. In 1999, a community-based non-profit group, Friends of the High Line, formed when there were threats of the High Line being demolished since no trains had run on the High Line since 1980. Friends works in partnership with the City to preserve and maintain the High Line as a tranquil elevated public park above the madness down below.
If you are a chef or restauranteur, you are also encouraged to work with the High Line to have your food served up there. The High Line is committed to working with those who have products that are good for the people eating the food, good for those who grow it, and good for the land. Another beautiful aspect of the park is that they also partner with artists to add public art to their outdoor haven. High Line Art was founded in 2009, and commissions and produces public art projects on and around the High Line. They present everything from site-specific commissions, like sculptures, billboards and paintings, as well as presents exhibitions, performances, and video programs.
If you find yourself in the city and stressed out, go check out the High Line. I’ve hopped on at the 3oth Street cut out and gotten off at the 10th Street Square. It’s relaxing, peaceful, and just a beautiful spot of green and nature above the city that never sleeps.
In addition to the High Line, the Low Line is now in the works of becoming a serene underground park, much like the High Line. My friend Jenny and I checked out the exhibition on the corner of Essex and Broome in the Lower East Side, to see what this was all about. The exhibit helps to show you what the proposed park will look like, and let me tell you, it looks pretty awesome.
The Lowline concept was developed by Dan Barasch (formerly of PopTech) and James Ramsey of RAAD Studio. They are proposing to take the old WIlliamsburg Bridge Trolley Terminal, which hasn’t been in use since 1948, and turn it into a public park, complete with moss, trees, sunlight, and greenery. You’re probably thinking, how in the world will there be sunlight in the underground and complete opposite of the High Line park? Well, dear readers, thanks to modern day (almost Jetson-like) technology, there will be a solar canopy, which looks like a big silver dome (but cool, don’t worry,) that will stand over the greenery that will channel and draw light from above, down to the living things that inhabit the Lowline.
Sounds pretty cool, right? Go check it out on a free weekend and support this new green space in the city that’s not so green! Not only will it provide some tranquility, but I think it’s a pretty great idea of how to use up unused space. In a city that doesn’t have a lot of above ground space offerings, the Lowline offers a great way to use up space that they already have. Read more about the Lowline here.