When the Empire State Building was under construction, the governor wanted the top spire to be used as a zeppelin docking station, despite the fact that passengers would have to disembark a quarter of a mile above the ground, and wind shears at that height could slam the hydrogen-filled airships into any number of nearby buildings. In 1890, drug manufacturer Eugene Schieffelin thought New York should be home to all of Shakespeare’s songbirds, and so, smuggled 40 starlings from England and released them into the night sky. Today, the North American starling population numbers close to 200 million. This is to say that New York is a city historically filled with crazy ideas, though none tend to be as quixotic as those we have for our parks.
In the next few days, I’ll be posting an article I wrote with some extended thoughts on the High Line and its historical context within New York City’s park system.