Mixed Beginnings• Originally, property owners of the Highline area wanted to have it torn down and develop their own arrangements in its place.• This was supported by the Giuliani Administration.• People rallied to “save the highline”, particularly the group, Friends of the Highline which lobbied extensively for it, eventually succeeding• As the idea of a park formed after the highline was saved, responses were rather apprehensive. (Chelsea residents, 2005)
Lots of Hype“Ever since it was unveiled in 2005, the design for this park,conceived for a strip of elevated rail tracks abandoned nearly 30years ago, has been the favorite cause of New York’s rich andpowerful. Celebrities attended fund-raisers on its deck. City officialsendorsed it. Developers salivated over it, knowing it would raise landvalues.” - Nicolai Ouroussoff, New York TimesThe Highline garnered a stupendous amount of media attention inanticipation of its renovation and eventual opening. People wereanxious. Excited. The city was putting a lot of money into this thingand it wasn’t certain whether it would all be worth it.
Initial Reviews Overwhelmingly Positive!Right since the opening on June9th, 2009, reviews done on theHighline park were very positive.
Periodical Reviews“A little more than a month since itsfirst stretch opened, the High Line isa hit, and not just with tourists butwith New Yorkers who are openly But what’s really unexpected about therelishing a place where they can park is the degree to which it alters yourreflect and relax enough to get a perspective on the city. Guiding younew perspective on Manhattan.” through a secret landscape of derelict - Diane Cardwell, New York Times buildings, narrow urban canyons and river views, it allows you to make entirely new visual connections between different“And as we sauntered past the original parts of Manhattan while maintaining atracks, reinstalled precisely where they remarkably intimate relationship with thewere when they carried trains, it slowly surrounding streets.dawned on me that this might be a truly - Nicolai Ouroussoff, New York Timesrare phenomenon: a widely anticipatedevent actually better than its hype.” - Karrie Jacobs, Wall St Journal
BUT… It’s not all rainbows and sunshineAlthough many city residents and tourists absolutely lovethe Highline, the Chelsea area residents had a bittersweet mix. TWO MAIN REASONS: 1) Tourist activity 2) Gentrification
Those darn tourists!"West Chelsea is not Times Square. It is not a tourist attraction."
“Since opening and despite some rain, crowdsTourists (con’t) have been so dense that at busy times a line stretches down the block toward the West Side Highway.” -Julie Iovine, Wall Street Journal• Due to its incredible popularity, the Highline generated a very large amount of traffic due to tourists wanting to “experience the highline”• This causes much inconvenience for the people living in the area around the Highline• “Please consider how you would feel if 3 million people a year from around the world trampled your street, your neighborhood, and your local park, and act accordingly--in the way that your morals or religion or general human consideration would dictate.” – words on the flyer
Gentrification! (yay?)• While the area around the Highline was already starting to gentrify before it became a park, the new attraction hyper accelerated the process, causing it to gentrify like crazy in a short amount of time.• This created jobs and crime rate decreased, however eventually the poorer families and small businesses began to get kicked out of their home neighborhoods.