NY Gov Proposes High Line Extension
12. January 2021
The Spur, at 30th Street and Tenth Avenue, is the westernmost portion of the High Line and where the proposed extension would connect to the park. (Photo: John Hill/World-Architects)
Governor Andrew Cuomo, in his State of the State address on January 11, proposed a $60 million extension of the High Line that would connect the elevated park to the newly opened Moynihan Train Hall two blocks away.
For certain, a relatively small public-private infrastructure project is not one of the main elements of the Cuomo administration's "Reimagine | Rebuild | Renew" agenda for 2021. Much of it appropriately focuses on public health, and it proposes legalizing marijuana and mobile gambling as ways of addressing the budget shortfall created by the coronavirus pandemic.
Of particular interest to architects and planners is the proposed High Line extension, which would take the form of an L-shaped elevated walkway following 30th Street from the park's Spur over Tenth Avenue, then turning at Dyer Avenue to meet up with the park at the center of Manhattan West, a large development being built between Hudson Yards and Moynihan Station. (A plan is in the New York Times' initial coverage of the proposed extension.)
Rendering of the proposed walkway as seen from the Spur looking east along 30th Street. (Image: Office of Governor Cuomo)
The 1,200-foot (365m) walkway would be paid for in thirds: one-third by the state; one-third by Brookfield Properties, the developer of Manhattan West; and one-third from nonprofits and private organizations. The main reasoning behind building a new walkway appended to a park built atop a former railroad viaduct is access: It "addresses community concerns about pedestrian access between Penn Station and Hudson Yards and surrounding areas," per Cuomo's announcement. "The High Line is New York's most popular elevated park," it continues, "and its extension will offer safe passage for commuters, residents, and tourists navigating this booming area."
But given that the walkway literally connects the High Line to Manhattan West, not Moynihan Train Hall (the development's mid-block park would enable that link), the project clearly would benefit Brookfield, which has been overshadowed by the high-profile Hudson Yards development one block away. Both developments span the railroad tracks west of Penn Station and Moynihan, but only Hudson Yards currently benefits from direct access to and from the High Line.
Looking at the Moynihan Train Hall from the intersection of 31st Street and Eighth Avenue, with one of the towers of the Manhattan West development looming in the distance. (Photo: John Hill/World-Architects)
The park that will form the central spine of Manhattan West, and which would comprise about half of the pedestrian connection between Moynihan Train Hall and the High Line, is depicted in the below fly-through. Lined by buildings on both sides, the park would effectively function as an outdoor mall. In turn, the direct foot traffic to/from Penn/Moynihan and the High Line would benefit Brookfield, evening it out with Hudson Yards.
Cuomo's announcement also included a potential second extension to the High Line, one that would connect the northwest end of the park, at 34th Street and 12th Avenue, to Pier 76 in the Hudson River, which he would like to turn into a park. Neither the announcement nor coverage of the news credits an architect or landscape architect for the proposed extensions as envisaged in at least one rendering. Given that Friends of the High Line is part of the project team, it's hopeful that — if the extension actually happens — the design will meld with the existing park as designed by James Corner Field Operations, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and Piet Oudolf.