Of the three substantial challenges to the instantaneous success of the High Line when it opens in June, only one may be insurmountable: our preconceived fantasies.
Great care has gone into heightening the new kind of experience on offer up on the High Line—the chaise lounges are positioned just where the sun always shines; the south end is wider and more hard-scaped to allow for social congregation—and Parks anticipates adding food concessions there—while the upper reaches where the surrounds are more residential narrow and soften with an actual lawn going in at 23rd Street. One of the more adventuresome features is the bleacher dropped down like a trap door—a favorite DS+R trope—right over 10th Avenue traffic. “You’ll see the city in a whole new way,” said Scofidio, “not like mice scurrying around the edges of buildings. You never get into the space of the city like this.”
As sure as the initial reaction to the High Line is bound to be disappointment, so will it grow and flourish as people become accustomed to using it. One thing more is abundantly clear: The High Line has been perfectly timed to open just when we need it most, to rediscover the civil pleasures of walking and talking with each other.