Thursday, June 26, 2008

The re-greening of the High Line

The renderings for the High Line have been unveiled. They are quite unique, interesting and impressive. As they should be, considering the cost. Just a few notes...

"...derived from the High Line's self-sown landscape."

You mean the weeds that were growing up there?

"...landscape of native species that once grew spontaneously on the High Line..."

You mean the weeds that were growing up there?

"...between tall buildings, where trees originally grew up once the trains stopped running."

You mean that accidental landscape that sprung up? I thought those were no good. And are those Chinese sumacs (aka "ghetto trees") in that drawing? That's an invasive species!

In summary -

Manhattan: The Parks Department seems to want to preserve weeds and exotic vegetation in the non-natural setting of The High Line, all for the low price of $120M.

Queens: The Parks Department wants to spend $55M to bulldoze a forest containing threatened species at Ridgewood Reservoir and replace them with boiling hot carcinogenic artificial turf.

From the NY Times: Amanda M. Burden, the city’s planning commissioner, who joined Mr. Benepe at the news conference, said in a statement... “This amazing and totally unique public open space will be celebrated worldwide and stand as one of the great legacies of the Bloomberg administration.”

Because Bloomberg's legacy is, and should be, the motivation for everything that takes place in this city. However, the Comptroller is not buying his plan for the Ridgewood Reservoir.


Anonymous said...

I love the sumac - weed trees - it's the very kind of scourge weed that we in Queens would be in horror od seeing sprouting in our yards.

I'll bet the city bought these! The smell from these weeds must be overpowering!

Rob Jett said...

Let me make sure I understand the thought process:

- Accidental landscapes are bad, if they interfere with the mayor's plans at Highland Park
- Accidental landscapes are good, if they are part of the mayor's plan on the Highline
- Endangered plants are irrelevant if they are growing in the Ridgewood Reservoir
- Invasive species are good if they make pretty scenery within the Highline

Phew! I was a little confused there for a moment.

Anonymous said...

To Rob Jett: To help you out of your cloud of confusion, please try to understand that just because the name of the agency uses the word "Parks" doesn't mean that anyone, from Commissar Death and Taxes, through Witless, Hunched-over Lackey Benepe, down to Lazy Lewandowski, has ANY interest in things green or earthbound.

The Commissar has set the tone, without objection from these lickspittles, to use the Parks Department as a Tax Dollar ATM machine for the favored "friends" of the Commissar.

So, don't examine the project; just examine the tax dollars involved. Spending OUR money on deranged activities is what the job of Parks Dept. is all about. We pay, the Commissar lavishly spends OUR money on HIS "friends".

Anonymous said...

Rip it down tear it up , what Bloomie useing all that maoey for non frozen meals for the elederly, since he wants to cut the daily meals with weekly frozen ones for the meals on wheels, or say what about giving it to homless families for food or medical maybe clothes, or say how about building some real (lol) low income aptments!! No instead of spending millions to build a treandy park for rich treandzoid city libs!

Anonymous said...

An abandoned railway in Manhattan is transformed into a park, while an abandoned railway in Queens remains abandoned.

Typical Bloomberg Manhattan-centrism.

Ridgewoodian said...

I don't begrudge the Manhattanites the Highline. I look forward to using it myself someday. It showed real imagination to decide to convert a long unused elevated railroad into a park. I've never heard of such a thing anywhere in the world. It could well turn out to be yet another bit of evidence that New York is, in fact, the coolest city on Earth.

I just wish the city would show as much intelligence and foresight in disposing of the Ridgewood Reservoir. Here we have this completely unique, wholly unexpected urban forest which just sort of grew up while no one was looking and what do they want to do? Plow it under and put in ballfields. I'm sorry, but that's completely freaking insane. Especially when Highland Park is right next door and could use some sprucing up, especially its ballfields. What they should do, obviously, is put in some paths to make it accessible to the public but otherwise not touch it. There have always been debates in park circles as to what’s better for the city – natural green spaces or playgrounds. In truth, both are indispensable but in this particular case you have to go with the green space.

As for our un- and under used railroads here in Queens; I don’t know that they’d make good parks but wouldn’t it be nice if we could use them for, say, transit. The Regional Planning Association has been advocating for years for a Bronx-Queens-Brooklyn circumferential subway using existing railroad rights of way. And it sure would be nice if they could do something with the old Montauk Branch of the LIRR. (Too bad NIMBYs nixed the Queens “Super Express” twenty some odd years ago.)

Anonymous said...

Even at the suggestion of tearing down the dilapidated (some stretches are dangerous) "High Line"
and there would be a revolution
in Manhattan tomorrow morning!

But rip up the Ridgewood Reservior
and the "tweeded" populace would remain complacent and inactive!

Tsk, tsk, tsk. What can we do?

Anonymous said...

Where's the Queens "preservation" community on the Ridgewood Reservoir, Dr. Kroessler ?

(Too busy fermenting palace coupes at HDC with their Manhattan confederates, we suppose).

Anonymous said...

And what does the city intend to charge for the privilege of walking along the High Line ?

Aye, maybe there's the real rub.

Put those trees in a tree museum and charge a dollar and a half just to see 'em. (With apologies to Joni Mitchell and her epoch song lyrics)