Click to take a virtual walk along the High Line - Manhattan's magnificent elevated linear park

I’m in awe of Google Maps. To my unalloyed delight, Google’s camera operators have gotten out of their Prius and taken a stroll along Manhattan’s High Line, cameras an’ all. Now everyone with access to a computer can experience (virtually) this great urban wonder (click the image above to take a walk in Street View).

The High Line is an elevated linear park constructed on a disused rail line, part of the West Side Line running parallel to the Hudson River. The first section of the park from Gansevoort Street to 20th Street opened in 2009 and the second section up to 30th Street opened in 2011. Here’s a way to compare “before” and “after” aerial views.

If you continue ‘walking’ north (although the southern part is older with consequently lusher landscaping) you’ll also see one of the buildings I discussed last week, Gehry’s IAC building – it’s on the western side.

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Back home in Australia, it’s likely the proposal “to convert the unused part of the Sandridge Bridge into a park oasis over the Yarra” announced last week by Melbourne Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle, owes something to the High Line. Mr Doyle said the bridge will be lined with green spaces and trees and include “a zero carbon building made from local recycled materials housing an eco café with a vegetated roof”.  He goes on:

What we’d be doing here is take an unused part the existing bridge and turn it into a place for people to relax, read a book in the shade of trees and you could even go and have a coffee or a snack in what will be a remarkable sustainable green building with a view like no other.

Kudos to the Lord Mayor – I think it’s a wonderful idea, although I’m not sure a $6 million project to landscape a mere 178 x 17 metre space is quite the “ambitious concept” Mr Doyle thinks it is. Nor am I as confident as he is the bridge “could become one of Melbourne’s most internationally iconic landmarks in the city”. Still, it should be a great civic asset.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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