Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Urban Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

New York City inaugurated a new park 30 feet above street level today. The High Line is a nine-block stretch of abandoned elevated rail track running through Manhattan's west side.
The rail line carried cattle to the city's meat packing plants from the 1930s to the 1980s. Two local residents made it their business to champion the weed-choked, graffiti-sprayed eyesore when others wanted it demolished and the area redeveloped. Against long odds, and the wishes of the Guiliani government, they managed to find sponsors and gain public support for an overhead park.
The first stretch of the High Line, awash in wildflowers and native plants, benches, walkways and vantage points offering views of the city, Statue of Liberty and Hudson River, opened at 7 a.m..

A second phase is scheduled to open next year. A third phase is under discussion.
I'll think of the High Line every time I hear some snob with a pricey condo on the Old Montreal waterfront whining about how the Silo # 2 blocks their view of the river. If nothing else, the overhead park offers proof positive that ugly has a beauty all its own.

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