For years, the block of West 28th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues was a quiet one, wide open and low rising. It was auto-body shops, a scrap yard, a place to get a slice of pizza, and the Eagle gay bar. Then the new High Line came.
Immediately, a big chunk of the block was flattened. Small construction businesses moved out. The +ART condo went up across the street in 2010.
The second section of the High Line opened in 2011. Construction began for Avalon Bay's AVA High Line.
In 2012, the one-story nightclub in the bottom right of this photo was demolished.
The scrap yard (left side, with yellow machine) kept scrapping. Life went on. Then residents of the +ART condo started complaining about the Folsom East fetish fair. Christian right-wingers stood on the High Line with signs telling the fairgoers they were sinners. Tourists gawked.
The fair was cancelled and eventually moved.
AVA got bigger and bigger and bigger.
Then the scrap yard went in 2013, sold for millions after doing business since 1927. All of the auto-body shops closed. Digging began immediately for the foundation of Zaha Hadid's ultra-luxe, space-age condo.
As Hadid's building rose (left), so did another directly across the street.
And now another is rising, right behind the Hadid.
On the other side of the High Line, behind this view, a little tenement with a bodega was recently demolished. Something else will be rising there. It will certainly be made of glass and shimmer and money.
This all took just six years.
One little block, sun-lit and wide open, is now as dark and suffocating as a sarcophagus. Walking on it used to be a pleasure. No more.
I've quoted this before, and I'll quote it again. In 2011, Philip Lopate wrote a love letter to the High Line. He concluded:
“Much of the High Line’s present magic stems from its passing though an historic industrial cityscape roughly the same age as the viaduct, supplemented by private tenement backyards and the poetic grunge of taxi garages. It would make a huge difference if High Line walkers were to feel trapped in a canyon of spanking new high-rise condos, providing antlike visual entertainment for one’s financial betters lolling on balconies."
It would. And it did.