Once and Never High Lines

The High Line in New York City, the once-abandoned rail easement, has partially re-opened to the public as a linear park. And the internet is aflare with amazing photos. So to celebrate, let’s take a look at some of the high lines that were or were never-to-be. Click on the images to travel to other websites where we can revisit these alter-places.

Bluejake: Photos: The High Line, August 2002

Bluejake: The High Line, August 2002

The view of the High Line from Chelsea gallery window on 19 January 2002 on Wired New York Forums

The view of the High Line from Chelsea gallery window on 19 January 2002 on Wired New York Forums

Nathalie Rinne, once an architecture student in Vienna, proposed a swimming pool in 2003.

A portion of a proposal by Gisue Hariri. See more also at Archi Dose.

Prison Park Pool, by Misha Sklar and Yevgeniya Plechkina, a really interesting counternarrative to the seemingly benign beautification of other proposals.

Zaha Hadid Architects with Balmori Associates, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, and studio MDA. (more from the four finalist master planners on archinect and curbed)

“Not content to stop there, (Steven) Holl plays on fond Christmas memories with this hypnotic red/green neon underbelly for another portion of the High Line.” Said Curbed.

The above image was a way earlier (1981) proposal by the same architect, Steven Holl. This was, in the architects words, a “pragmatic” entry. It is perhaps one that best conforms to periods of high demand in housing, which also indirectly shows how improbable the current project for the High Line was.

Finally, at least one person thinks the best proposal for this line would have been to, well, either turn it back into a hard-working industrial rail line, or tear it down and reconnect the grid. He—James Howard Kunstler–sees the brainy, DIY-ish, loungy retrofit as decadent. (More on the Infrastructurist.)

Oh, but…

Then of course, this other person wanted to leave it as it was, “wild” as you might be able to read if you squint at the board. Though seemingly contrarian in the context of submitting it to the initial ‘ideas’ competition, it did seem to be awarded a prize in order to implicitly lend support to not tearing down the line itself.

[Updated w/ more images and links]

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