VISITORS to the High Line often marvel at the panorama the elevated park affords: open-sky views across the Hudson River, an unbroken sightline up 10th Avenue to Midtown and beyond. But in recent months, in a section of the High Line around 23rd Street, a more intimate, domestic cityscape has emerged.
Where the park widens to form a seating area with bleachers and a lush lawn, several apartment buildings rise up and enclose the space on either side. Three are newly constructed glass and steel towers that just began filling with residents, and the most prominent of them, the architect Neil M. Denari’s sleek HL23, is so close it’s as if parkgoers could walk right into one of the multimillion-dollar apartments.
Pierre Salamon, who lives in the Marais, another building rising above this section of the park, called it “a secret new city waiting to be discovered.” It makes him feel, he said, “like I’ve arrived in another dimension of Chelsea … I slow down on purpose to retain that feeling.”
Annik La Farge, who wrote a book about the park called “On the High Line,” looks onto this section from her office and living room windows in the Spears Building. The space is made more striking, she said, by the narrow, forested path that precedes it, known as the Chelsea Thicket. “Horticulturally, the area goes from dense, shady thicket to open, sunny lawn,” Ms. La Farge said. “And in more human terms, it goes from a very private space to a very, very public one.”
Walking this neighborhood in the sky is like finding yourself in a mash-up of “Blade Runner” and “Rear Window.” The thrill isn’t the wide angle, but the close-up, being at eye level with high-rise apartments and the people inside them. Like the hulking, metal-sheathed 245 Tenth, an 11-story co-op designed by the Brooklyn-based architects Jared Della Valle and Andrew Bernheimer: on a recent evening, a couple rested among moving boxes inside their new third-floor apartment there, obviously exhausted, in full view of passers-by.
Just a few steps down the High Line is Ten23, another glass building, which opened along this section of the park in January. In one west-facing corner unit, a mod-looking candy-red chair was displayed prominently in the window, as if this weren’t an apartment, but a store or a design studio.
While casual voyeurism along the High Line (the “ ‘Pry’ Line,” as The New York Post dubbed it) has been going on since the park opened three years ago, the residents of new buildings like HL23, Ten23 and 245 Tenth are different from earlier High Line dwellers in at least one respect: they moved here knowing their homes would be among the most exposed in the city.
Moreover, the cutting-edge architecture, the bleachers and lawn, and colorful metal “Urban Rattle” sculpture by the artist Charlie Hewitt, installed in May in the courtyard of Ten23, have all made this section of the High Line a popular gathering spot.
Thousands of people go by these apartments every day, and no doubt wonder who lives in them. But what do the residents see? What is life like on the other side of the glass?
We talked to people who live in HL23, Ten23 and 245 Tenth, and two other buildings, the Spears Building and the Marais, which predate the High Line but are integral to the skyline of this section of the park.”
Via: The NY Times
Photo: SIGHT LINES In a section of the High Line near 23rd Street, five apartment buildings, three of them newly built steel-and-glass towers, overlook the park and create a sleek update on “Rear Window.” Robert Wright for The New York Times