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  • The Highline

  • is an old, elevated rail line

  • that runs for a mile and a half right through Manhattan.

  • And it was originally a freight line

  • that ran down 10th Ave.

  • And it became known as "Death Avenue"

  • because so many people were run over by the trains

  • that the railroad hired a guy on horseback to run in front,

  • and he became known as the "West Side Cowboy."

  • But even with a cowboy,

  • about one person a month

  • was killed and run over.

  • So they elevated it.

  • They built it 30 ft. in the air, right through the middle of the city.

  • But with the rise of interstate trucking,

  • it was used less and less.

  • And by 1980, the last train rode.

  • It was a train loaded with frozen turkeys -- they say, at Thanksgiving --

  • from the meatpacking district.

  • And then it was abandoned.

  • And I live in the neighborhood,

  • and I first read about it in the New York Times,

  • in an article that said it was going to be demolished.

  • And I assumed someone was working

  • to preserve it or save it

  • and I could volunteer,

  • but I realized no one was doing anything.

  • I went to my first community board meeting --

  • which I'd never been to one before --

  • and sat next to another guy named Joshua David,

  • who's a travel writer.

  • And at the end of the meeting, we realized

  • we were the only two people that were sort of interested in the project;

  • most people wanted to tear it down.

  • So we exchanged business cards,

  • and we kept calling each other

  • and decided to start this organization,

  • Friends of the High Line.

  • And the goal at first

  • was just saving it from demolition,

  • but then we also wanted to figure out what we could do with it.

  • And what first attracted me, or interested me,

  • was this view from the street --

  • which is this steel structure,

  • sort of rusty,

  • this industrial relic.

  • But when I went up on top,

  • it was a mile and a half of wildflowers

  • running right through the middle of Manhattan

  • with views of the Empire State Building

  • and the Statue of Liberty and the Hudson River.

  • And that's really where we started,

  • the idea coalesced around, let's make this a park,

  • and let's have it be sort of inspired

  • by this wildscape.

  • At the time, there was a lot of opposition.

  • Mayor Giuliani wanted to tear it down.

  • I'm going to fast-forward through a lot of lawsuits

  • and a lot of community engagement.

  • Mayor Bloomberg came in office, he was very supportive,

  • but we still had to make the economic case.

  • This was after 9/11;

  • the city was in tough times.

  • So we commissioned an economic feasibility study

  • to try to make the case.

  • And it turns out, we got those numbers wrong.

  • We thought it would cost 100 million dollars to build.

  • So far it's cost about 150 million.

  • And the main case was,

  • this is going to make good economic sense for the city.

  • So we said over a 20-year time period,

  • the value to the city in increased property values

  • and increased taxes

  • would be about 250 million.

  • That was enough. It really got the city behind it.

  • It turns out we were wrong on that.

  • Now people estimate it's created about a half a billion dollars,

  • or will create about a half a billion dollars,

  • in tax revenues for the city.

  • We did a design competition,

  • selected a design team.

  • We worked with them to really create a design

  • that was inspired by that wildscape.

  • There's three sections.

  • We opened the fist section in 2009.

  • It's been successful beyond our dreams.

  • Last year we had about two million people,

  • which is about 10 times what we ever estimated.

  • This is one of my favorite features in section one.

  • It's this amphitheater right over 10th Ave.

  • And the first section ends at 20th St. right now.

  • The other thing, it's generated, obviously, a lot of economic value;

  • it's also inspired, I think, a lot of great architecture.

  • There's a point, you can stand here

  • and see buildings by Frank Gehry,

  • Jean Nouvel, Shigeru Ban,

  • Neil Denari.

  • And the Whitney is moving downtown

  • and is building their new museum right at the base of the High Line.

  • And this has been designed by Renzo Piano.

  • And they're going to break ground in May.

  • And we've already started construction on section two.

  • This is one of my favorite features,

  • this flyover where you're eight feet

  • off the surface of the High Line,

  • running through a canopy of trees.

  • The High Line used to be covered in billboards,

  • and so we've taken a playful take

  • where, instead of framing advertisements,

  • it's going to frame people in views of the city.

  • This was just installed last month.

  • And then the last section was going to go around the rail yards,

  • which is the largest undeveloped site

  • in Manhattan.

  • And the city has planned -- for better or for worse --

  • 12 million square-feet of development

  • that the High Line is going to ring around.

  • But what really, I think, makes the High Line special

  • is the people.

  • And honestly, even though I love the designs that we were building,

  • I was always frightened that I wouldn't really love it,

  • because I fell in love with that wildscape --

  • and how could you recreate that magic?

  • But what I found

  • is it's in the people and how they use it

  • that, to me, makes it so special.

  • Just one quick example

  • is I realized right after we opened

  • that there were all these people holding hands on the High Line.

  • And I realized New Yorkers don't hold hands;

  • we just don't do that outside.

  • But you see that happening on the High Line,

  • and I think that's the power

  • that public space can have

  • to transform how people experience their city

  • and interact with each other.

  • Thanks.

  • (Applause)

The Highline

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A2 BEG US TED high line line section people manhattan

【TED】Robert Hammond: Building a park in the sky (Robert Hammond: Building a park in the sky)

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    banananana posted on 2017/05/05
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