The recently opened Moynihan Train Hall will get an additional access point, through an extension of the High Line. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the proposal today, which will be an L-shaped connection running east from a High Line terminus, known as The Spur, at 10th Avenue and 30th Street to Brookfield’s Manhattan West public space. It will be built at a cost of $60 million through a public-private partnership between Brookfield Property Group, Empire State Development, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and Friends of the High Line.
From the Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
Brookfield’s Manhattan West is located across from the Shops at Hudson Yards on 10th Avenue, located on the block between 9th and 10th avenues behind Moynihan Train Hall. Cuomo announced that construction on the extension will begin this year. The High Line will be extened across 10th Avenue and 30th Street from The Spur, which was completed in 2019 by James Corner Field Operations (Project Lead) and Diller Scofidio + Renfro with landscaping by planting designer Piet Oudolf, the same team responsible for the design of the first three sections of the High Line. You may know The Spur best for the sculpture, Brick House by Simone Leigh, which has been on display since last summer. The extension will then run along Dyer Avenue and turn north after about a block into a public space at Manhattan West. The public space will end on 9th Avenue across from the western facade of Moynihan Train Hall.
An extension of The High Line will run eastwards from The Spur on the High Line at 30th Street. Timothy Schenck/Courtesy of the High Line
With his usual aplomb, Cuomo announced, that “this will be the most ambitious redevelopment that New York City has seen in decades. When the private sector economy lags, state governments build infrastructure and spur development. The beautiful Moynihan Train Hall is open, the renovation of Penn Station and this High Line extension project begin this year. This connection is part of a district-wide redevelopment of the West Side that will jumpstart the private market in a post-COVID world.”
Simone Leigh, Brick House, 2019. A High Line Plinth commission at the Spur. On view June 2019 – September 2020. Photo by Timothy Schenck. Courtesy the High Line
The rendering shared by Cuomo’s office shows a glass extension on copper-colored supports. Friends of the High Line Executive Director and Co-Founder Robert Hammond told us, “We are in the very early stages of this process. This is the first time that the High Line will extend beyond its initial footprint, so we are eager to engage our neighbors and surrounding communities throughout the process to put forward thoughtful design solutions.”
This is actually not the only extension of the High Line that is planned. There will be another extension that will go from the northernmost terminus of the High Line at 34th Street and 12th Avenue, going past Javits Center and turning west to the West Side Highway to end at Pier 76 in Hudson River Park just across from the Javits Center. Hammond tells us that a possible extension of the High Line to Penn Station, Hudson River Park and Javits Center was identified in the very first planning study.
The northernmost section of High Line before its transformation
The extension of elevated infrastructure is a fascinating one, particularly after the decades of activism that took place in order to adaptively reuse the High Line in the first place. The High Line spurred a renaissance of elevated parks all around the world, demonstrating that disused industrial infrastructure could play a role in urban redevelopment. The level of transformation around the High Line (and subsequent real estate value increases) was not something even the original organizers or architects could have imagined. At a 2019 event announcing the Mile Long Opera, Liz Diller of the firm of Diller, Scofio + Renfro, designers of The High Line and the Shed, acknowledged even her own nostalgia about the old High Line: “Some of us really remember [the old Meatpacking District] in a very nostalgic way. We’re not making any value judgements. We’re using this as an opportunity to really think hard about the present, and the speedy transformation of the city. Of course, there are winners and losers in all of this.”
The High Line extension will run east in front of these buildings to Moynihan Train Hall behind it.
Today, the office of Governor Cuomo states that the new extension “not only creates new public space but also addresses community concerns about pedestrian access between Penn Station and Hudson Yards and surrounding areas…The High Line is New York’s most popular elevated park, and its extension will offer safe passage for commuters, residents, and tourists navigating this booming area.”
Cuomo has had a long relationship with Brookfield, with the developer having transformed the World Financial Center and its marina into Brookfield Place. Ben Brown, Managing Partner of Brookfield Property Group stated in a press release today, “The central element of Brookfield’s Manhattan West complex will be a 2-acre landscaped public plaza that will be surrounded by 240,000 square feet of curated restaurants and shops and enlivened year round with public events, art installations and an ice rink programmed, in part, by the NHL.”
Meanwhile, Friends of the High Line Executive Director and Co-Founder Robert Hammond said, “We are excited to work with the Governor’s office and Brookfield on this opportunity to better connect residents, workers, and visitors to public spaces, cultural institutions, businesses, and vital transportation hubs on the West Side of Manhattan. We look forward to working with the State and our neighbors over the coming months to advance this unique public access project.”