Giant Cow High Line. Image via of Friends of High Line.
We all know New York’s High Line as an iconic, elevated outdoor park overlooking Chelsea’s west side. But what if instead of a green, modern park with picturesque views, it was a fun rollercoaster? Seems crazy, right? But back in 2003, before the vision of the High Line had been fully developed, Friends of the High Line asked the public to submit what they wanted to do with the abandoned freight train track. They organized a competition called, “Designing the High Line.”
It’s almost September and we’ve completely refreshed our monthly picks for the best outdoor art installations with all new selections. While many of our selections from summer will still be live, these are new ones to discover during your explorations of New York City.
The NYC High Line. Photo via NYC Parks
Since 2009, people have hailed the High Line as the savior of declining west Chelsea, a neighborhood that is now a burgeoning food and art gallery hub of New York City. Lying fallow for years as an abandoned infrastructural element above Chelsea’s streets and storefronts after being used by freight trains for twenty years, it became an overgrown meadow, an unusual sight in the city, and many talked of demolishing it for good.
Thankfully, efforts by the community and various organizations like the nonprofit Friends of the High Line campaigned for its renovation in the late 1990s. After years of planning and construction, the elevated railroad became an elevated park, attracted millions to its picturesque views, and revitalized the entire neighborhood’s economy and real estate. The High Line is an old-fashioned American success, and though its current form is one of the newest attractions in the city, it still has its fair share of secrets.
On the rotating art mural along the High Line, a new work by artist Kerry James Marshall imagines New York City’s water towers as luxury condos and apartments. This isn’t a future that is too far off, with a speakeasy once built into a water tower and a steel tank converted into a rooftop cottage already in the city.
Slide the City will arrive to Summer Streets this month. Photo via Slide City website
This Summer we’ve had a plethora of exciting art installations in all five boroughs. Playful, colorful, interactive, life-like, thoughtful and thought-provoking. We’ve been treated to art in public spaces and parks that have never had art before. Here’s what’s new in August, along with other installations in the city that are still up this month:
Spend more than five minutes in Chelsea and you’ll find a smattering of galleries, installations, and one of New York’s most prominent art scenes, from the famous David Zwirner Gallery, now social media famous because of recent exhibitions by Yayoi Kusama to the blank, spacious Gagosian Gallery, now hosting legendary recluse and architectural sculptor Michael Heizer.
What may go unnoticed, however, is the history behind the neighborhood, as is the case for most areas on the lower half of Manhattan. Last Saturday, we took a tour with David Behringer, founder of The Two Percent, whose Chelsea art gallery tour, called Audio Hop, showcases both sides of Chelsea culture and focuses almost as much on the walk to each of Chelsea’s galleries as it does on the galleries themselves. Audio Hop will continue into June, take a break for the summer, and return in the fall with all new tours. Here were some of the weirdest things we found.