Urban Fold

Plans for High Line 'Banal', Says NY Times

Plans were recently revealed for the much-ballyhooed High Line Park in New York, converting an abandoned elevated railway into a recreation area. But the NY Times says, 'I’d been hoping for a utopia. Instead, I got sumac.'

"...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?"

Full Story: High Line, Low Aims

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