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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for true New Yorkers
I considered myself to be in-the-know on the history and creation of The High Line, after 13 years of living in Manhattan and reading endless press in Time Out NY, New York Mag and The NY'er. Now that I've finished reading "The Inside Story of New York City's Park in the Sky", I realize how little of this remarkable story I actually knew. We are so often promised...
Published on October 20, 2011 by High Line Fan

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Good story
Good story but the photos were disappointingly too small and not well composed. I would have liked to read more about the design elements and how they were selected.
Published 4 months ago by Amazon Buyer


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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for true New Yorkers, October 20, 2011
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This review is from: High Line: The Inside Story of New York City's Park in the Sky (Paperback)
I considered myself to be in-the-know on the history and creation of The High Line, after 13 years of living in Manhattan and reading endless press in Time Out NY, New York Mag and The NY'er. Now that I've finished reading "The Inside Story of New York City's Park in the Sky", I realize how little of this remarkable story I actually knew. We are so often promised "behind the scenes" glimpses into famous people and pop-culture storylines yet are left disappointed by lackluster revelations and glossier-than-actual trips down memory lane. I found this book to be a brutally honest tale of two regular guys who lacked experience, resources and time yet somehow managed to keep their partnership and dream alive in spite of repeated challenges, fights and, what seems like, an entire city of naysayers.
In addition to sharing a great story in candid, often hilarious voices, the photos in the back half of the book are worth the $19 price tag alone. I suspect the next time I walk along The High Line, I'll recognize it even more as the greatest gift to New Yorkers, and all Americans, since the Statue of Liberty.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating, fun read, November 15, 2011
This review is from: High Line: The Inside Story of New York City's Park in the Sky (Paperback)
This book is a compulsively readable and surprisingly (at times shockingly) honest account from the two guys, Joshua David and Robert Hammond, who took on the High Line project and saw it through over the last 12 years. It begins with the chance meeting of the project's co-founders in 1999, and is written in their own voices as they give a loosely chronological account of the project up to the opening of the first section of the park in 2009.

Along the way, the book gives a truly "insider" perspective with plenty of juicy details. What did Edward Norton think of the High Line when he lived in the neighborhood? Who do you have talk to to get in front of designer Diane von Furstenberg? What does a property owner who traded swords with Arnold Schwarzenegger have to do with the High Line? How did Friends of the High Line almost lose a staff member over an Aeron chair? And why did Jean-Claude (of Christo and Jean-Claude, the famous artists) scold Robert over his formatting of a letter? All these questions (and many, many more) are answered in this "who's who" of New York activists, officials, architects, powerful figures, and neighborhood characters.

This book is a must-read for anyone who is interested in the High Line, but also anyone who's interested in New York, urban planning, architecture, or the way cities change over time. Even people who know "everything" about the High Line will be surprised by some of the revelations! I could also see this being an essential road map for people who have "big ideas," as it explains all the steps that Robert Hammond and Josh David took to make the High Line "dream" into a reality. There's enough information here to be a school textbook for anyone who wants to be a planner or a social entrepreneur - but, unlike a textbook, it's actually fun to read.

Also - the second half of the book is full of incredible color photographs, including photos of the High Line under construction, historical photos, and beautiful landscape shots of the converted park. The visual story presented by the photographs is just as compelling as the text.

I think this would be a good holiday gift for anyone who likes the High Line park, or also anyone on your gift list who already owns these: The Death and Life of Great American Cities (50th Anniversary Edition) (Modern Library) The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York Building Up and Tearing Down: Reflections on the Age of Architecture Joel Sternfeld: Walking The High Line Empire State Building: The Making of a Landmark AIA Guide to New York City Designing the High Line: Gansevoort Street to 30th Street Steve Jobs Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck--Why Some Thrive Despite Them All
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nine Reasons to Read High Line, November 20, 2011
By 
Annik La Farge (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: High Line: The Inside Story of New York City's Park in the Sky (Paperback)
There are as many reasons to admire this book as there are entries to the High Line. So I'll give you nine.

1. It's inspirational: a true David and Goliath story, set in post 9/11 New York City, featuring two guys who admit quite charmingly in these pages that they had no idea what they were doing. And they won.

2. It's spot-on, Zeitgeist-wise: if you're even remotely interested in the movement of urban landscape design that is sweeping major cities around the world, David & Hammond have just given you the playbook. This book tells the full story of how these two young men, with lots of help from a wide variety of people and over a ten year period, navigated the neighborhood, city, state, corporate, and Federal politics to create this park.

3. If you love New York...: this a book that will help you understand how and why it works as well as it does under the leadership of Mayor Bloomberg.

4. It has that magical element that non-fiction readers love: voice. These two guys, in alternating paragraphs, each come across as distinct personalities and as they tell their story we come to know them as individuals. There are other key characters who come alive, including Gifford Miller and the extraordinary Amanda Burden, a woman who has done something I will always be grateful for: she has made New York a better city.

5. It's unsparingly honest. Serious readers know when they're being jollied along, and these guys give us everything, warts and all: their disagreements and crises of faith and plenty of unpretty moments, like a hangover that could have derailed an important meeting.

6. Marvelous, excruciating detail. Example: Hammond provides the color swatch for the Sherwin-Williams paint color of the High Line's railings: SW6994. It's called "Greenblack," and you too can use it in your own kitchen, just as he did.

7. The photos are gorgeous.

8. It's a cautionary tale: on every page you marvel that the thing actually got built, that these men didn't get derailed.

9. The High Line, the glorious "park in the sky." What's not to love? Here's a book that celebrates both the creation -- in all its gritty, gnarly detail -- and the end result: a park that always inspires, always leaves room for dreaming.

I've been writing about the High Line for three and a half years on my blog, LivinTheHighLine.com, and I was surprised that I learned something on just about every page of this book. It's a great story.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars INSPIRATIONAL!, October 28, 2011
This review is from: High Line: The Inside Story of New York City's Park in the Sky (Paperback)
The two guys, Joshua David and Robert Hammond, who conceived, and drove through against all odds the creation of the wondrous 'urban park on stilts' on the west side of Manhattan, were described by a journalist writing about the High Line's unlikely success as "A pair of nobodies who undertook an impossible mission." In their book they readily admit this was true and that they knew next to nothing about preservation, architecture, community organizing, horticulture, fundraising, working with City Hall, or running a park.

This lack of expertise in these areas was the key to the High Line's phenomenal success as it forced them to bring in other people to help them, and bring the dream into reality.

The book gives a potted Time Line from 1847 to 1999 (when Messrs David and Hammond started their quest), charting the history of street level and elevated train tracks in NYC. The authors then give a detailed but highly interesting account of the struggle to overcome all of the many obstacles, frustrations and challenges to a successful conclusion. They freely admit that they had an enormous amount of help from many people and organisations without which there would probably be no High Line today, but it is also self-evident that they were the most important reason for the projects triumphant outcome. The latter part of the book is taken over with many great photographs showing the before, during conversion works, and after of this unique green city leisure space.

In a short time, if not already, the most famous attractions in NYC will be Central Park, Times Square, Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, Ground Zero Memorial, The Empire State Building and The High Line. This elevated parkway is truly a marvel of urban regeneration which serves as an object lesson to City Politicians and Planners worldwide.

Henry David Thoreau, the renowned natural and environmental historian, was perhaps prescient of the creation of The High Line Parkway when he wrote "If you have castles in the air, your work need not be lost: that is where they should be. Now put foundations under them." Joshua David and Robert Hammond and their friends did just that.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible Story, October 29, 2011
This review is from: High Line: The Inside Story of New York City's Park in the Sky (Paperback)
I have been a Friend of the High Line for about eight years now, since I went to one of the early summer benefits. I have worked with Robert and Josh over the years to help plan events for young people and do some other things here and there. Because of my involvement, I thought that I knew the whole story. I was completely wrong. What these two extraordinary people did to get this organization off the ground was not only wonderful, it was a page turning compelling read. I learned so much not just about the process to save the High Line, but city politics in general.

Very rarely do I read a book on the subway that moves me to tears. This one made me cry almost every time I took it out. The stories are so personal and beautiful, it really provides a unique insight into the lives of these two men and all the people they encountered along the way.

I highly suggest recommend this book to anyone interested in parks, New York, history, urban planning, government, activism, community, or simply a captivating read.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extraordinary tale of hope and possibility, November 22, 2011
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This review is from: High Line: The Inside Story of New York City's Park in the Sky (Paperback)
Improbable yet true, the story of the High Line's making is among the greatest urban dramas of our time. In easy, conversational style, in the authentic voices of co-founders Robert Hammond and Joshua David, this book provides an uncommonly candid look at what it takes to turn an unloved liability into one of the most vibrant city parks on the planet. It's a compelling read, and I literally could not put it down until finished. Beautifully illustrated and told with humor and generous spirit, it is a story of vision, of leadership, of inspired collaboration. For anyone who loves New York, it provides a richly detailed glimpse into the dynamics of this often unfathomably dynamic city. For anyone anywhere who values parks and other public landscapes and wishes there were more of them, it is an extraordinary tale of hope and possibility. For those working to bring a bit of the High Line's magic to their home towns, this book is essential reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What A Story!, April 10, 2012
This review is from: High Line: The Inside Story of New York City's Park in the Sky (Paperback)
It was fascinating to read the inside story of how Robert Hammond and Joshua David rescued the High Line from demolition and fulfilled their vision for "NYC's Park In The Sky". Their alternating voices compel the reader like dialogue in a drama. Gripping from the start, the read becomes even more interesting as a cast of characters develop. We learn how a wide variety of talented and generous people (from lawyers to politicians to photographers to meat packers to celebrities) worked together to make it happen.

They divulge many juicy details of their journey both good and bad, and their stumbles are as interesting as their triumphs. I was choked up by many passages throughout the book and out right crying by the end, as if I was actually there at the ribbon cutting! I was especially moved by their community outreach, their donor's generosity, and the growth of mass support and interest for the park. But was also moved by the combination of openness, sensitivity, and vigilance they employed in navigating city and community politics and ultimately, by the democratic process in which the High Line was saved and transformed.

It's amazing to learn how they balanced a grass roots approach (literally!) with city, state, and federal bureaucracies and capital donors. And how their design approach balanced spectacular innovation with careful preservation. Just when I thought I couldn't be more in awe of the High Line . . .this book has made me appreciate it on an even deeper level, spiritually and philosophically.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bold and Inspiring, November 17, 2011
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This review is from: High Line: The Inside Story of New York City's Park in the Sky (Paperback)
Reading about the High Line phenomenon and knowing the enormity of getting anything done in nyc,one is struck by the humble origen of this project- two young men meeting at a community meeting, their exchange of business cards, and subsequent discovery of an inner-city wilderness. But as the story unfolds (especially as it is told in this remarkable double narrative form) there is little doubt the vision and tenacity of Hammond and David was anything but extraordinary. An inspiring and uplifting story of an idea that bore great fruit.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A source of inspiration, November 28, 2011
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This review is from: High Line: The Inside Story of New York City's Park in the Sky (Paperback)
I love the story of The High Line - its Death Alley origins, the decades of decay where it stood there as a sole Manhattan reminder of the once-modern ways to deal with traffic congestion, the fight of its preservation, the wondrous metamorphosis into a beautiful park, and the string of grassroots miracles that made the dream real.

This book chronicles the history of The High Line and it does so with the level of care equal to the park itself. With its first-person account followed by spreads and spreads of beautiful photographs (disclaimer: I took one of them) it's a feast for the eyes, the mind and the heart alike. I found it inspiring, humbling, and just the right mixture of down-to-Earth and pie-in-the-sky.

Especially if you're interested in urban design, or design in general, you owe it to yourself to read this. But even if not, I bet you'll find more here than you'd think.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary tale about an extraordinary place, November 22, 2011
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This review is from: High Line: The Inside Story of New York City's Park in the Sky (Paperback)
For anyone who has been to the High Line or who plans to visit -- BUY THIS BOOK! It's an unusually candid account about how this wonderful park came to be. Robert Hammond and Joshua David provide enormous detail about the who, what, when and why, and the importance of serendipity. I loved the part about how they met. Their book is as unique and interesting as the place itself. It's an inspirational story about how "ordinary" (well... not so ordinary in my mind) citizens, despite enormous hurdles, created a place which has become so important to the neighborhood and the entire city.
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High Line: The Inside Story of New York City's Park in the Sky
High Line: The Inside Story of New York City's Park in the Sky by Joshua David (Paperback - October 11, 2011)
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