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May 3, 2005: The High Line


The Friends of the High Line presented the preliminary design proposal tonight at the Bohen Foundation on 13th Street. I'd seen the web site but it was nice to hear the architect and landscape architect explain the designs and answer questions. Also to see the Bohen Foundation, which I've never heard of and have since learned has a major art collection. In the basement was a recreation of a NY subway station with some slight alterations.

Greg Allen's interview with Elmgreen * Dragset about the subway station project.

But about the High Line. The major premise of the design is to basically leave what's there alone as much as possible, which isn't possible because they have to tear it apart and add eight-foot-high fencing in order to meet city safety requirements. It was good to hear there won't be any playgrounds and that parents are expected to teach their children that the site is being created for their future even if it doesn't have any swings or cute little brass cartoon characters. Also no running or bike paths. It's for strolling and taking things slow above the rush of the city below and beyond. While I think those involved have the best intentions I can't believe that most of the site won't end up being the private balcony of the various luxury lofts being created along its pathway.

In the afternoon I went to the contemporary auction previews at Phillips de Pury, who have a nice view of the existing High Line from their second storey galleries. That view was more interesting than most of the art, which made me thankful I don't have the art buying gene since I would never be able to decide what to buy anyway. The doctor on ER who died of a brain tumor was there rushing around with a man who looked like some kind of art dealer/consultant. They didn't look at anything but seemed to be there to chose what to buy. I suffered sticker shock when I saw a small painting of a fish by Luc Tuyman was estimated at over $500,000. Had to be a mistake. Like I said, I'm glad I don't have to decide these things though I would like to have the kind of bank account where I could raise my hand at the auction to buy it.