Great news for New Yorkers and design fans alike: After years of wrangling, delays, and uncertainties, the High Line, an astonishing urban park built upon the remnants of an abandoned stretch of elevated railway, is opening tomorrow. Fast Company was at the preview, and here, we bring you the first images of the completed park.
It was a long shot from the outset: In 1999, two locals–Joshua David, a writer, and Robert Hammond, a painter–quailed at the prospect of the massive old railway structure being torn down by hungry developers. They lobbied the city to instead turn its surface into a park along the western fringe of the Chelsea neighborhood, some two stories above the street. Ultimately, they succeeded: The park itself is remarkably designed, a work led by landscape architecture firm James Corner Field Operations, with architecture by Diller Scofidio + Renfro. But it’s still a work in progress: So far, only a 2.8 acre stretch of the park has been completed, corresponding with the blocks between Gansevoort and 20th street. A second phase, between 20th street and 30th street, will begin construction in a few weeks, with completion slated for 2010. Together, those two sections will cost $152 million. A third, final section has yet to be developed. And the Whitney Museum is slated to open a new downtown branch below the first portion as well.