“The first entry to arrive for the ideas competition was drawn as a cartoon. It turned the High Line into a Mother Hubbard theme park, with the stairs built into a giant shoe. No other entries came in for a while after that. We were worried. We had done all this work for the competition, and we were going to end up with just this fairytale theme park.
In the end we received 720 entries from thirty-six countries….A few famous firms entered, including Polshek Partnership, the Hariri sisters, and 2×4, Michael Rock‘s graphic design firm. But most of the entries were from students and ordinary people. I had two favorites. An architecture student from Austria, Nathalie Rinne, proposed making the High Line into a mile-and-a-half-long swimming pool. The image of a lap pool running right through Manhattan was very beautiful. Another idea was from Front Studio, the firm of Yen Ha and Ostap Rudakevych, the two young architects who had designed our office space at Hudson Guild. They proposed leaving the landscape intact, as in the Joel Sternfeld photos, and putting a roller coaster on the Line. You’d be zooming up, looking into someone’s apartment, zipping down, and doing flips over the city streets. These were not realistic ideas, but they made people think about the High Line in new ways.”
-Joshua David, who founded Friends of the High Line with Robert Hammond in 1999, in High Line: The Inside Story of New York City’s Park in the Sky (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux). David and Hammond will discuss the project with Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel at a talk on Thursday, July 26, at the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton, New York.