Cuomo proposes a $60 million High Line extension to new Moynihan Train Hall

West Side Connection

Cuomo proposes a $60 million High Line extension to new Moynihan Train Hall

A pedestrian pathway extending from the High Line will bring pedestrians to the foot of the new Moynihan Train Hall. (Governor Cuomo's Office)

The High Line could gain an L-shaped extension that creeps further into Midtown Manhattan while serving as a direct pedestrian link to the newly opened Moynihan Train Hall at Penn Station, part of a two-phase extension scheme proposed for the famed elevated park. The proposal, which also envisions extending the 1.45-mile-long High Line northwards so that it terminates at Pier 76, was revealed yesterday during New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2021 State of the State address.

The northern extension, which would stretch up 12th Avenue past the Javits Center before veering west across the West Side Highway and terminating at Pier 76 directly on the Hudson River, appears to cover slightly more physical territory when comparing the two extensions. However, it’s the first phase, the so-called High Line East Connection, that’s garnering the most attention due to its linkage with Moynihan Train Hall and the involvement of Brookfield Properties. The developer is behind Manhattan West, a new mixed-use micro-neighborhood—as noted by Gothamist, the 5.4-million-square-foot complex has strong hints of neighboring Hudson Yards—underway opposite the train hall. Per a press release from Governor Cuomo’s office, the proposed eastern extension would be realized as part of a public-private partnership between Brookfield, the nonprofit park conservancy Friends of the High Line, Empire State Development, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

“This will be the most ambitious redevelopment that New York City has seen in decades,” Governor Cuomo said. “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.”

map of extension plans for High Line
(Courtesy Governor Cuomo’s Office)

The first phase, as illustrated above, would extend the existing High Line eastward at 10th Avenue and 30th Street along Dyer Avenue and end mid-block between 9th and 10th Avenues. From there, the park would turn north and connect to a pedestrian path that terminates opposite Moynihan Train Hall. The new public space will, as mentioned, be realized as part of Manhattan West, which, as detailed by Gothamist, is set to feature 6 million square feet of office space, over 800 residential units, a Whole Foods, a Peloton-branded gym, an ice rink programmed in part by the NHL, and a two-acre public plaza designed by the same landscape architecture firm behind the High Line, Field Operations. Both Moynihan Train Hall, a years-in-the-making adaptive reuse project, and Manhattan West were designed by Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill.

As stressed by several officials in the release issued by the Governor’s office, the goal of the High Line East Connection, as well as the northern extension terminating at Pier 76, is to enhance pedestrian connectivity within this once-desolate and low-traffic stretch of Manhattan’s West Side that’s been subject to a flurry of highly transformative, for better or worse, development in recent years. (Albeit the elevated park is an oft-clogged artery depending on the season and time of day).

“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,” said Robert Hammond, executive director and co-founder of Friends of the High Line, in a statement. “We look forward to working with the State and our neighbors over the coming months to advance this unique public access project.”

Cuomo’s announcement made no indication of when work on either phase of the extension plan will kick-off. The New York Times noted that the cost for the two-pronged extension is expected to be in the range of $60 million. The first two phases of the High Line, which debuted to the public in 2009 and 2011, cost $125 million.