At the Hudson Yards Development Corporation public meeting about redevelopment plans for the huge West Side rail yard the other night, Friends of the High Line boosters distributed American Apparel T-shirts with the logo “High Line Railyards,” a reminder that a good chunk of the now-beloved trestle runs through the site and implicitly urging the MTA to ensure that whoever develops there protects it. MTA chief planner Bill Wheeler dubbed himself a High Line fan, but he warned that developers’ bid prices would guide the MTA’s decision about protecting it. (In other words, if someone will pay more for the site but plan to remove the High Line, the MTA would be okay with that.) But here’s the good news for High Line supporters: The public-review process for the site means the MTA’s decision won’t be the last word.
After a bid is chosen, explains authority spokesman Jeremy Soffin, public hearings will be held and community groups and the City Council will vet the project. (This is the process Bruce Ratner dodged — er, streamlined — at Atlantic Yards.) “There is a public benefit to preserving the High Line,” Soffin told us, “and it should be a matter for the public to decide with full knowledge of the cost.” Friends of the High Line is no doubt printing up lots more T-shirts. —Alec Appelbaum