My first visit to the High Line was exactly 4 years ago, about a week after it opened. At that time everyone hailed the innovative new urban park with its attractive plantings and expansive city views. Since then, the runaway success of the High Line has brought hordes of tourists to West Chelsea as well as a wave of development. Luxury condos in Chelsea now sell for higher prices per square foot than condos uptown. (The median price for a 3-bedroom condo in Chelsea is $3.6 million.) The rooftop sculpture garden next to the High Line that I admired four years ago is gone, a construction site in its place. There is official art, like the High Line Art Billboard in the picture above, but even the high-priced galleries in the area are beginning to close because they can no longer afford to do business in Chelsea. Another innovation is the Citibike docking station, unfortunately inoperable today due to well-publicized software and battery glitches.
The High Line: urban amenity, international tourist mall, or gentrification gone amok?