“If the newest, last stretch of the High Line doesn’t make you fall in love with New York all over again, I really don’t know what to say. Phase 3 of the elevated park, which opens on Sunday, is a heartbreaker, swinging west on 30th Street from 10th Avenue toward the Hudson River, straight into drop-dead sunset views. It spills into a feral grove of big-tooth aspen trees on 34th Street.
It’s hard to believe now that some New Yorkers once thought renovating the decrepit elevated rail line was a lousy idea. Not since Central Park opened in 1857 has a park reshaped New Yorkers’ thinking about public space and the city more profoundly. Like Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim museum in Spain, it has spread a dream, albeit largely a pipe dream, around the world: how one exceptional design — in this case, a work of landscape architecture — might miraculously alter a whole neighborhood, even a whole city’s fortunes.
Yes, at roughly $35 million, Phase 3, like the rest of the High Line, cost more per acre than probably any park in human history. With most city parks struggling to make ends meet, that kind of money is an inevitable source of resentment, notwithstanding that the High Line was, in significant measure, constructed and is almost exclusively maintained with private funds.”
“But this third phase completes a kind of narrative, which the two earlier phases started, about 21st-century New York as a greener, sleeker metropolis, riven by wealth, with an anxious eye in the rearview mirror. It is a Rorschach test, signifying different things — about urban renewal, industry, gentrification, the environment — to different people. Occupying an in-between sort of space between buildings, neighborhoods, street and sky, the park makes a convenient receptacle for meaning. Neither an authentic ruin nor entirely built from scratch, a sign of runaway capital but also common ground, it is a modern landmark capitalizing on the romance of a bygone New York — the “real,” gritty city — a park born of the very forces that swept that city away.”
This is the most perfect description of how I and most new yorkers feel about the high line. Im not sure that I’ve ever known how to put it into words, but here it is, thanks to someone else.