The Highline Section 2
The second section of the High Line was opened on June 2011, revealing green lawn, unique lounging spots and a less industrial feel to the Section 1. The second section of the High Line runs from West 20th Street to West 30th Street, connecting the Meatpacking District, West Chelsea, and Hell’s Kitchen. Designed by James Corner Field Operations, project lead, with Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Piet Oudolf, Section 1 of the High Line opened on June 8, 2009 to critical and public acclaim, and after years of inspiration, building community and city support, fundraising, planning and construction, New York’s premier elevated park came closer to completion with the opening of Section 2 on June 8, 2011. With Section 2 opened.
“It’s a park that really celebrates the city, and people up here will walk 20 blocks, which they would never do 30 feet below us…” said architect Ricardo Scofidio. According to Scofidio, it was conceived as a musical composition with a single theme running continuously through the park. For example, paving that “feathers” into the grass, allowing visitors to move in and out of the vegetation beds, establishes a theme early in the project and continues to play with the theme in various ways and locations throughout the park.
“…Through a strategy of agri-tecture—part agriculture, part architecture—the High Line surface is digitized into discrete units of paving and planting which are assembled along the 1.5 miles into a variety of gradients from 100% paving to 100% soft, richly vegetated biotopes.” – James Corner Field Operations, project lead, with Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Piet Oudolf
The High Line is a public park built on an historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. It is owned by the City of New York, and maintained and operated by Friends of the High Line. Founded in 1999 by community residents, Friends of the High Line fought for the High Line’s preservation and transformation at a time when the historic structure was under the threat of demolition. It is now the non-profit conservancy working with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation to make sure the High Line is maintained as an extraordinary public space for all visitors to enjoy. In addition to overseeing maintenance, operations, and public programming for the park, Friends of the High Line works to raise the essential private funds to support more than 90 percent of the park’s annual operating budget, and to advocate for the preservation and transformation of the High Line at the Rail Yards, the third and final section of the historic structure, which runs between West 30th and West 34th Streets.
The High Line is located on Manhattan’s West Side. It runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th & 11th Avenues. The first section of the High Line opened on June 9, 2009. It runs from Gansevoort Street to West 20th Street. The second section, which runs between West 20th and West 30th Streets, opened June 8, 2011.
What will grow here?
The Field Operations-led team comprises a design collaborative with Diller, Scofidio and Renfro, Olafur Eliasson, Piet Oudolf and Buro Happold. This team is supported by L’Observatoire, Robert Sillman Associates, ETM Associates, Philip Habib Associates, Williams Group, GRB, Control Point, Code Consultants, VJ Associates, DVS Associates, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, Creative Time and Pentagram. As a collective, this team brings together seasoned technical expertise with innovative design thinkers that move fluidly in and out of disciplinary boundaries.
Inspired by the melancholic, unruly beauty of the High Line, where nature has reclaimed a once-vital piece of urban infrastructure, the team retools this industrial conveyance into a post-industrial instrument of leisure, life, and growth. By changing the rules of engagement between plant life and pedestrians, our strategy of agri-tecture combines organic and building materials into a blend of changing proportions that accommodates the wild, the cultivated, the intimate, and the hyper-social. In stark contrast to the speed of Hudson River Park, this parallel linear experience is marked by slowness, distraction and an other-worldliness that preserves the strange character of the High Line. Providing flexibility and responsiveness to the changing needs, opportunities, and desires of the dynamic context, our proposal is designed to remain perpetually unfinished, sustaining emergent growth and change over time.
At 20th Street, the transition from Section 1 to Section 2 begins as visitors wind through the Chelsea Thicket, a comparatively wild area that differs from the more ordered and sparse plantings in Section 1. Enclosed by foliage, visitors can experience a sense of privacy and shelter here, occasionally able to view the cityscape through breaks in the foliage.
As visitors move north from the Chelsea Grasslands’ prairie-like landscape, a dense planting of flowering shrubs and small trees indicates the beginning of a new section of the park, between West 20th and West 22nd Streets. In the Chelsea Thicket, species like winterberry, redbud, and large American hollies provide year-round textural and color variation. An under-planting of low grasses, sedges, and shade-tolerant perennials further emphasizes the transition from grassland to thicket. The Chelsea Thicket South is in memory of Janice H. Levin and made possible through support of the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation.
22nd STREET SEATING STEPS AND 23rd STREET LAWN:
Continuing on from the Chelsea Thicket, the Line opens to a wider area where extra tracks served as a rail siding. Here, seating steps and an almost 5,000 square foot lawn (the first and only on the High Line) at 22nd and 23rd Streets invite visitors to step off the path and relax, providing a place to rest, socialize and observe. The 22nd Street bleacher-type steps mirror the materials and form of the seating in Section 1’s 10th Street Square. Towards 23rd Street, the concrete base supporting the lawn lifts up above the grade of the High Line, providing a slightly elevated vantage point for visitors to view Manhattan from river to river (to help the lawn recover after rains and heavy foot traffic, the lawn is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays).
The High Line opens to a wider area between West 22nd and West 23rd Streets, where an extra pair of rail tracks once served the loading docks of adjacent warehouses. The extra width in this area was used to create a gathering space, with Seating Steps made of reclaimed teak anchoring the southern end of a 4,900-square-foot lawn. At its northern end, the Lawn “peels up,” lifting visitors several feet into the air and offering views of Brooklyn to the east, and the Hudson River and New Jersey to the west.
Between 25th and 27th Streets, the Philip A. and Lisa Maria Falcone Woodland Flyover elevates visitors to tree-top level. Countering the heavy steel of the High Line itself, the delicate “bridge on a bridge” lifts visitors 8’ above the Line surface. The vegetation here takes advantage of a microclimate created by adjacent warehouses; at the High Line level, moss and groundcovers (liriope muscari ‘Densiflora’ for example) surround the trunks of the sumacs and magnolias that reach up to the Flyover level. As the trees mature and grow, visitors will eventually be cradled and shaded by a lush tree canopy.
26th STREET VIEWING SPUR:
Along the High Line, seating areas punch out from the main path at various locations and angles. One of these at 26th Street is a “Viewing Spur” that forms a two-way “theater” to the street below. The designers removed a billboard and added a frame in its place to evoke the shape and location of the former sign, forming a window that captures the busy streetlife. The steps and framing continue the language of the 10th Street Square (much as the steps at 22nd Street do), visually connecting park users with the car and foot traffic and the city below. Captured by the frame of the former billboard, visitors to the viewing spur become objects of scrutiny by pedestrians on the street.
Hovering above the historic rail on the east side of the High Line at West 26th Street, the Viewing Spur’s frame is meant to recall the billboards that were once attached to the High Line. Now the frame enhances, rather than blocks, views of the city. Tall shrubs and trees flank the Viewing Spur’s frame, while a platform with wood benches invites visitors to sit and enjoy views of 10th Avenue and Chelsea. The 26th Street Viewing Spur is thanks to Sherry and Douglas Oliver, The Hanson Family, and Avenues: The World School.
As visitors approach the end of Section 2 as they pass over West Chelsea, they pass through the Wildflower Field, which is covered in native grasses and perennials, forming an ever-changing landscape. Many of these plant species were the original colonizers of the High Line after its abandonment in 1980.
“…The paving system consists of individual pre-cast concrete planks with open joints to encourage emergent growth like wild grass through cracks in the sidewalk. The long paving units have tapered ends that comb into planting beds creating a textured, “pathless” landscape where the public can meander in unscripted ways….” — James Corner Field Operations, project lead, with Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Piet Oudolf
Between West 26th and West 29th Streets, the landscape of the Wildflower Field is dominated by hardy, drought-resistance grasses and wildflowers, and features a mix of species that ensures variation in blooms throughout the growing season. The simplicity of the straight walkway, running alongside the wildflowers interspersed between the original railroad tracks, allows visitors to appreciate the green axis of the High Line, as it moves through the city.
At West 29th Street, the High Line begins a long, gentle curve toward the Hudson River, signifying a transition to the West Side Rail Yards. The High Line’s pathway echoes the curve, and a long bank of wooden benches sweep westward along the edge of the pathway. Planting beds behinds and in front of the benches line the curve with greenery.
30th STREET CUT-OUT:
Near the northern terminus of Section 2, the pathway curves west toward the Hudson River, and slowly rises above an area where the concrete decking has been removed, showcasing the strength of the High Line’s steel frame. The pathway leads to a viewing platform that hovers above the Cut-Out, allowing visitors to peer down through the grating and grid of steel beams and girders to the traffic passing below on West 30th Street. The 30th Street Cut-Out and Viewing Platform are thanks to The Pershing Square Foundation.
- Continuing on through a curve between 29th and 30th Streets, visitors pass over a cutout over 30th Street which exposes the heavy steel support structure of the High Line. The cutout allows visitors to see the Line’s massive supporting structure and the street below, a reminder of the industrial underpinnings of New York’s popular new park.
- A temporary public plaza called “The Lot” sits beside and under the High Line at 30th Street, providing a place to buy food, socialize and play; programming will change throughout the summer.
- The High Line, already reportedly the most visited tourist spot in New York, is a landmark case of marshaling community support to transform a derelict but admired industrial relic into a vital, modern and useful resource for an entire city.
HIGH LINE 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 dangerous trains from the streets of Manhattan’s largest industrial district. No trains have run on the High Line since 1980. Friends of the High Line, a community-based non-profit group, formed in 1999 when the historic structure was under threat of demolition. Friends of the High Line works in partnership with the City of New York to preserve and maintain the structure as an elevated public park.
Friends of the High Line:
Founded in 1999 by community residents, Friends of the High Line fought for the High Line’s preservation and transformation at a time when the historic structure was under the threat of demolition. It is now the nonprofit conservancy working with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation to make sure the High Line is maintained as an extraordinary public space for all visitors to enjoy. In addition to overseeing maintenance, operations, and public programming for the park, Friends of the High Line works to raise the essential private funds to support more than 90 percent of the park’s annual operating budget, and to advocate for the preservation and transformation of the final section of the High Line at the rail yards.
Project name: The Highline Section 2
Location: West 20th Street to West 30th Street, New York, United States
Coordinates: 40.746082,-74.006106 to 40.752540,-74.002136
Type: Park, Street / Road / Highways / Bridges
Project Area: the mile-long
Project Year: Section 2 – 2008-2010
Opened: June 8, 2011
Completion Year: 2011
Visit The Highline’s website: here
Client / Owner / Developer: The City of New York
Team Lead, Landscape / Urban Design / Project Management: James Corner Field Operations – 475 10 Avenue, New York, NY 10018, United States
- Project Director: James Corner
- Project Manager: Tom Jost
- Design Manager: Taewook Cha
- Senior Designer: Lisa Switkin
- Designers: Michael Flynn, Justine Heilner
Architecture: Diller Scofidio + Renfro – 601 West 26th Street New York, New York 10001, United States
- Principal: Elizabeth Diller
- Architect: Charles Renfro
- Designers: Hayley Eber, Matthew Johnson
Horticulture: Piet Oudolf
Artist: Olafur Eliasson
Lighting Design: L’Observatoire
- Principal: Herve Descottes
- Designer: Zac Moseley
Structural Engineering / Sustainable Engineering: Buro Happold
- Principal: Craig Schwitter
- Structural Eng: J. Cohen
- Sustainability: Byron John Stigge
Structural Engineering / Historic Preservation: Robert Sillman
Traffic Engineering / Zoning and Land Use / Civil: Philip Habib
Commerical Viability / TDR Analysis: Williams Group
Environmental Engineering and Testing: GRB – Richard Barbour
Capital and Operating Cost Estimating: VJ Associates – Vijay Desai
Public Space Management: ETM – Timothy Marshall
Site Security: DVS Associates – Robert Ducibella
ADA / NYC Code / Regulations: Code Consultants- John McCormick
Public Art Programming: Creative Time – Anne Pasternak
Art and Cultural Outreach: Tanya Bonakdar Gallery
Graphic Design: Pentagram – Paula Scher
Site Surveyor: Control Point – Paul Jurkowski
Text Description: © Courtesy of James Corner Field Operations, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the highline, land8, ilikearchitecture
Images: © the highline, Hufton + Crow, Iwan Baan, Friends of the High Line