Wednesday, January 25, 2017

W. 28th Street View: 2010 - Today

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.


  1. Philip Lopate's quote nailed it. The joy of the line were the remnants of history that it passed through.

    The irony is that there was so much of a push to preserve the line itself, no thought was given to preserve the space around it.

  2. Great documentation. Thank you.

  3. It is quite a dark suffocating feeling walking north from 23rd street until you hit the 30s. Now walking south from 23rd there is tons of construction. It is going to feel more and more like a tunnel instead of an elevated walkway.

  4. I wonder about the landscaping. The more it is built up around there, the less light on the plants. As for the financial betters on the balconies, I never see anyone on a balcony anywhere these days. They buy apartments with terraces and they don't use them. I never see anyone in the windows either, those huge floor to ceiling windows. In the old days ordinary people were block watchers, knew their neighbors, sat on the fire escape in the summer. The new people with money are too busy, or too self absorbed, or too into their e-gadgets.

  5. The same crap that was doin when the PierHouse was crammed in to Brooklyn Bridge Park.

    I will never go on the High Line.

  6. Gentrification is coup d'etat minus assassinations and violence

  7. This has joined the list of places in Manhattan I used to go to that I never go to anymore. It's getting to be a pretty long list.

  8. Concrete Canyons

    VERY effective layout J.....maybe a few make a book? (I KNOW it ain't easy finding the right perspective in the pics.....but this REALLY worked!)

  9. As bad as it currently is....wait until they start to build in (over) the river. Air rights over the Hudson are going for a pretty penny.

    G. Sukenick

  10. I hate to pile on, but even the highline itself will be lost in the hudson yards development. The west end in particular. It will be even with the platform over the railyard. You can already get a preview of what this will be like by visiting the new entrance courtyard to the coach tower via the highline. Now don't get me wrong, I'm certainly not complaining about hudson yards, an amazing project, just pointing out how it will obscure the highline itself.

  11. 'progress' as punishment. 10th ave as a dark alley. sigh.


Comments are being reviewed sporadically. Your comment will be received and held for approval. There's no need to post the same comment multiple times. It's coming through just fine.

NOTE: Comments are moderated by the blog owner. Your remarks and lively debates are welcome, whether supportive or critical of the views herein.

However, commentary that is intended to "flame" or attack, that goes off topic in order to flame, or contains violence, potential libel, and the like will not be published. Commenters who regularly harass or abuse, Anon or not, your comments come with an identifier and go directly to the Spam Box.

Please bear in mind, this is an individually run blog, not a democratic nation nor a wide-open public forum. Comment publication is entirely subject to the owner's discretion.

Thank you.

And a disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by commenters are those of the commenter, and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the blogger.