Thursday, July 23, 2009

Bridge to Nowhere—In a Good Way…

I cannot believe The High Line [article, slideshow, another article] is real and actually finally happened. Makes me SO want to move back to New York.

Greatest. City. In. The. World.

More from the Times. Plus, a Flickr pool.


Kiki said...

Amen. I wake up everyday surprised that I am not there....

Mike said...

Very cool. I used to live in the West Village and that elevated structure always intrigued me. I was really psyched when I heard they were turning it into a promenade.

Know what I'm doing this weekend if I have some time.

Also interesting to see they're extending it uptown into an area that used to be about loading docks, whores, and that sort of thing. But now it's art galleries and a state-of-the-art elevated park.

Lots of bad changes in Manhattan over the last 10-15 years in my opinion, but clearly a good one seeps in now and then.

Smitty said...

Christ almightly I want to move out of LANSING, MI. I feel like I'm missing a lot, living in a cultural void. Were it not for Boarshead and the Wharton Center, this place would be as cultural as Joe the Plummer's neighborhood.

Surabaya Stew said...

As a native New Yorker, let me reassure everyone that the High Line is by itself, not worth coming back to New York for. Don't get me wrong, it is a heck of a place to visit and lot of fun, just not the amazing place that many seem to think it is. I can walk there from my home and have come to think of it as another nice place in the City, nothing really life-changing about it.

Of course, New York City by itself is an amazing place, yet it is just about unaffordable. Were it not for my parents buying Manhattan property 30 years ago, I would also be a refugee from the Big Apple. The public opening of the High Line is sure to lead further investment into the Meatpacking District and West Chelsea, thus making even less likely that the people who want to visit it the most will ever have a shot at living nearby.

Mr Furious said...

Alas, you are correct Stew. I had my chance to get into a piece of NYC real estate 12 or so years ago and didn't. It remains one of my bigger regrets in life. When the lease on the 1,500 sq ft loft I rented came up, the owners offered to sell it to me (even to rent-to-own) rather than remain landlords, and I moved out instead.

$185,000 asking price. Probably worth three times that now in a Brooklyn nabe that has only skyrocketed in price and coolness.

What is happening on the West side is what happened where I had my DUMBO work studio (and many other areas...Artists moved in and made it desirable to yuppies and were promptly priced out.

The High Line itself is hardly reason alone to move back—we'd live in Brooklyn again anyway—but it's just really cool use for otherwise wasted and blighted things and areas.

Mr Furious said...

Adding: And because Manhattan and NYC is a water-locked area, it forces creative usage of space like that. I love that "opposite of sprawl" approach.

Many other cites encircle themselves with "green belts" which go unused or require a drive to reach.

Creating a natural space in midair out of wasted structure is really inspired. They did a far better job with it than I ever imagined.

Surabaya Stew said...

Hey Furious, thanks for replying to my comment! Re: the real estate decision, my heart goes out to you; often it is hard to see the advantages of forking over all of one's life savings into what is at the time a questionable real-estate investment.

My Mother had to be dragged into our family's deal, ($64,000, 2650 SF) and frankly her reluctance to make the jump seemed reasonable for the next 10 years. With the value of the loft having increased 30-fold since then, its important to remember that back in 1979, the neighborhood streets weren't safe, the local schools were worthless, nearby parks were littered with used cocaine and heroin bags, garbage pickup was infrequent, and near-abandoned buildings were everywhere. From the vantage of 2009, all these fears have been vanquished, so its hard to remember how things were like when the place was really worth $64,000.

Likewise, I'm sure $185,000 was a realistic value of you loft a dozen years ago, and the state of the neighborhood at the time reflected that. The legitimate question is not the rise in value since then, but the disproportionate rate of the said increase. While I can't comment on your particular condition without more information, I certainly feel that our own neighborhood and residence has improved over time...but enough to say it is worth over 2 MILLION dollars today?!?

Rising property values may give pleasure to a few lucky owners or regret to those who didn't buy at the "right time", but the fact is that such increases are unsustainable if New York is to remain a lively and creative place. It is this soulless scenario that give me the most fear for my city in the coming years.

Surabaya Stew said...

It's interesting, Furious, that you mention the "green belt" example of urban parks; in my experience, these are better suited for wildlife refugees than places for people to enjoy for exactly the reasons your describe. Every city has opportunities to place new parks near people if they only use their imagination and are willing the spend a few extra dollars.

To get back on the original topic, the design and detailing if the High Line has turned out far better than I (a skeptical architect) thought it would, and I'm pleased that it has focused attention to the adaptive re-use possibilities of many kinds of unused structures. While other cities may not have the same abandoned infrastructure that the West Side of Manhattan does, there is no excuse not to make every park and public space in the USA as unique and thoughtful as the HIgh Line is!

Bob said...

"Christ almightily I want to move out of LANSING, MI."

My sister and best friend live in NYC. They act as if I am a caveman for not wanting to move there.

Personally, unless you score a good deal on a piece of real estate, like those described above, I see NYC as a personal and financial disaster.

I couldn’t have any personal space to work with my hands, take pride in a yard, have space to kick a soccer ball around with the kid, be confident the kid could walk to a quality school, etc. I think claustrophobia would set in. That’s me though. I like where they live. Its fun to visit, but there is no way I would raise a kid in the city.

Since so few people can ever own a home or even establish credit through purchasing a car, NYC remains a financial disaster for many. Owning a home is a primary way to establish wealth and get ahead. Can you imagine at age 40 trying to move out of the city and establish your first credit to buy a house?

While I really love the city too, I just could never justify moving there.