wunderkammer on the high line – mammoth // building nothing out of something

wunderkammer on the high line

Wunderkammer has a nice piece by Ned Shalanski on the High Line, which approaches the High Line from a rather different perspective than the one I’ve tended to bring to it (bemoaning the loss of the landscape that had developed over time, etc.).  A couple of nice observations, about the High Line as the product of highly concentrated wealth (which produces some interesting irony, as Shalanski notes) and the High Line as a platform for the urban voyeur, both torn from their context (you’ll have to read the whole piece to see how they’re related):

“How can you too become a destination for popular outdoor activity? For starters, as the High Line Park saga has shown, the backing of a dedicated group of community members is paramount. Celebrities help too. Also, you’ll need 86.2 million dollars, which was the final tab for High Line Park’s phase one, and you can count on another half million per year per acre in maintenance fees. Already, you can see that low-income neighborhoods hardly stand a chance. The High Line Park model for landscape-based urban development is driven by local wealth as much as robust community values.”

“High Line Park is a novel upgrade of this sort. More than a chic strolling promenade, it is a captivating, one-of-a-kind amalgamation incorporating some of the most articulated culture New York City has to offer. Along their stroll, High Line Park flâneurs take in the sights of Chelsea’s fashionable restaurants, contemporary galleries, and high-end boutique stores. Using the sidewalk to engage Chelsea’s street culture is so last year. Being elevated above the action, visitors are one more step removed from the city, effectively squaring the flâneur experience. Not just neighborhood amenities but now street culture itself is an object to be admired. In this way, High Line Park is an urban theme ride, a slow speed tram made from a masterfully fashioned landscape which quietly weaves its way through museum neighborhoods.”

One Response to “wunderkammer on the high line”

  1. namhenderson says:

    Very interesting take.
    Can’t way i disagree thought with the idea that the “HighLine model” isn’t applicable to many socio-economic environments…