INTERVIEW: Landscape Architect James Corner On NYC’s High Line Park
Jill: What’s your favorite part of the High Line?
James: Everyone asks this question, and it’s really hard to say. I like this area around Gansevoort because it’s really the moment where you leave the hard concrete and steel of the street level, come into the garden, and really see the sky and a complete panoramic view. But what we call the ‘Sundeck at 14th Street’ is another great social space with big, over-sized furniture. Then there is also this wonderful spot, the 10th Avenue Square, where seating has been installed to overlook 10th Avenue. These are all great places, but at the end of the day, the most important thing to me is the fact that the High Line is this green ribbon. So when you say, “What’s your favorite part?” it’s not that there’s a favorite part, but it’s that there’s a favorite experience – it is the experience in the duration of time that it takes to walk from Gansevoort to 20th Street. You go through an amazing succession of episodes, and for me, it‘s this choreography and experience of this that is really the most exciting and original part of this project.
Jill: Is there a particular experience you want people to have when they come up here or a hope that you have for how people experience this?
James: I don’t think you can ever determine what people will feel, how they will emote or what they will experience. Different people come up here and feel different things and have a different set of experiences. But what I do hope is that we will have succeeded in getting people to experience the delight in the sense of finding things. What’s great about the High Line is that there are nooks, crannies and hideaways. There are vistas and vantage points. You can turn one way and find yourself looking north up at 10th Avenue, but if you turn the other way you’ll see the Statue of Liberty. There are amazing discoveries to be made and if people come up here and find delight in that, then I think we’ve succeeded.
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