High Line by Joshua David
The Inside Story of New York City's Park in the Sky

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How two New Yorkers led the transformation of a derelict elevated railway into a grand—and beloved—open space

The High Line, a new park atop an ele-vated rail structure on Manhattan’s West Side, is among the most innovative urban reclamation projects in memory. The story of how it came to be is a remarkable one: two young citizens with no prior experience in planning and development collaborated with their neighbors, elected officials, artists, local business owners, and leaders of burgeoning movements in horticulture and landscape architecture to create a park celebrated worldwide as a model for creatively designed, socially vibrant, ecologically sound public space.

Joshua David and Robert Hammond met in 1999 at a community board meeting to consider the fate of the High Line. Built in the 1930s, it carried freight trains to the West Side when the area was defined by factories and warehouses. But when trains were replaced by truck transport, the High Line became obsolete. By century’s end it was a rusty, forbidding ruin. Plants grew between the tracks, giving it a wild and striking beauty.

David and Hammond loved the ruin and saw in it an opportunity to create a new way to experience their city. Over ten years, they did so. In this candid and inspiring book— lavishly illustrated—they tell how they relied on skill, luck, and good timing: a crucial court ruling, an inspiring design contest, the enthusiasm of Mayor Bloomberg, the concern for urban planning issues following 9/11. Now the High Line—a half-mile expanse of plants, paths, staircases, and framed vistas—runs through a transformed West Side and reminds us that extraordinary things are possible when creative people work together for the common good.


About Joshua David

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Joshua David and Robert Hammond cofounded Friends of the High Line in 1999. David has written for Gourmet, Fortune, Travel + Leisure, Wallpaper, and other magazines. Hammond was awarded a Rome Prize by the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2009. In 2010 they were awarded the Jane Jacobs Medal for their work on the High Line.
Published October 11, 2011 by FSG Originals. 352 pages
Genres: History, Arts & Photography, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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They just wanted to save this “tremendous sense of space” full of “waist-high Queen Anne’s lace” from being destroyed, to transform the abandoned rail bed into a “place where people would come to stroll just for the sake of strolling.” Split into two parts--one part interview, one part photograph...

Sep 15 2011 | Read Full Review of High Line: The Inside Story o...

The New York Times

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The second phase, extending it up to 30th Street, is set to start construction in a few weeks, which will raise new design questions.

Jun 09 2009 | Read Full Review of High Line: The Inside Story o...


2 hours, 2 minutes, 2 seconds (Wind at Walden Pond, March 12, 2007) In some ways, Finch’s installation feels divorced from the rest of the High Line – it’s a blue oasis from the alternating billboards, broken chimneys, and tufted grasses that line the promenade.

Jun 15 2009 | Read Full Review of High Line: The Inside Story o...

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