The greenway is a modern twist on an outdated concept. Ancient cities sprung up around trade routes. Many modern US cities were originally formed according to access to a local train station or navigable river. Today’s metropolises were brought to success by an advanced highway system. All of these circumstances were brought about by two prevailing factors, location and traffic. In a post-modern world however, when the infrastructure has been laid and a consumer society comes to live for a variety of new reasons how can these concepts be applied. The answer lies, partially at least, within the recent push for a developed greenway system.
New Yorkers can’t get enough of James Corner Field Operations with Diller Scofidio + Renfro‘s High Line as millions meandered along the refurbished rail tracks enjoying spectacular views of the skyline. And yet, the opening of the High Line in 2009 offered a mere preview of the project’s total grandeur as parts two and three of the 1.45 mile project were still to come. Today, the second phase of the High Line has opened to the public – a section which stretches from West 20th up to West 28th Street. This segment includes a hovering frame that will display people’s silhouettes against the evening sky, an elevated pathway which brings visitors to the level of the trees’ canopy, and a Great Lawn which will be perfect for sun-bathing and a summer time picnic.
The New York Highline, a project by James Corner Field Operations with the collaboration of Diller Scofidio + Renfro has been open to the public for a few weeks (as we reported previously on AD) and as a New Yorker who has waited patiently for the project to finish, I was anxious to stroll along the latest addition in Manhattan. The visit was a completely new way to experience the city. Just the idea of observing Manhattan by walking above (and through) it, rather than being an actual part of it, made the Highline a project one must encounter to feel what the space can offer.
More about some impressions after a visit to the Highline and more pictures after the break.