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High Line

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Leven Rambin Consoles Herself With Chocolate After the Daytime Emmys

In addition to playing the autistic teenager Lily Montgomery on All My Children, Leven Rambin, the face of Caressa jewelry, has been a party fixture ever since she moved from her mom’s house in Connecticut to a place on the Upper West Side. When making the scene, she skips the hors d’oeurve. “After working from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.,” says the 17-year-old, “the last thing I want to do is go to the gym. So I try to eat light.” That is, except for those addictions to peanut butter and protein bars — and the occasional serotonin-boosting chocolate splurge.

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Not Everyone Can Visit the High Line (Though Chris Meloni Could If He Wanted)

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The first section of the High Line park isn’t scheduled to open until next spring, but sometimes it can feel like everyone has made (sort of) secret, (entirely) illegal visits to the overgrown train trestle. But at the annual Friends of the High Line summer benefit last night, we learned that even some of the High Line’s best Friends haven’t had a chance to visit. “My boyfriend was really angry that when his mom came in town I didn’t take her,” Friends co-founder Robert Hammond, who has been pushing for the park for nearly a decade, told us. “He’s like, ‘What’s the advantage of sleeping with the High Line guy if I can’t take my mom up there?’” (Of course, Hammond’s own parents have already been.) SVU star and longtime Friend Christopher Meloni hasn’t visited either. “They’ve invited me like ten times, but I’ve been working,” he said, no doubt further incensing Hammond’s boyfriend’s mom. “I don’t want them to go out of their way.” The city has to okay any legal visits, Hammond explained, but money also helps: A sunset Champagne tour on the High Line for one lucky bidder and ten friends was auctioned for $17,000 during last night’s cocktail hour. —Amy Odell Related: The High Line: It Brings Good Things to Life [NYM]

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How to Succeed in Hudson Yards Without Really Trying

Does the developer who wants to tear down the High Line above 30th Street have an inside track on getting the Hudson Yards contract? Sources who ought to know tell us that the Durst Organization, which complained last week that preserving the High Line would cost $117 million, has hired the architecture firm of FXFowle to prepare its Hudson Yards bid. Coincidentally (we're sure), FXFowle is the same firm that prepared the architectural protocol for the project on behalf of the MTA and the Hudson Yards Development Corp., a city-created overseer. The MTA claims it wants to keep the High Line, provided it understands the costs and revenues involved. But it will take quite a bid by another developer to dispel the notion that Durst has already seen the answer sheet. —Alec Appelbaum

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No High Line in Redeveloped Hudson Yards? MTA Promises Public Will Have Last Word

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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.

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High Line Cars Should Stay on the Street, Community Board Says

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Sometimes a parking space is just a parking space — even in the glitzy new High Line district. That's what Chelsea's Community Board 4 declared last night when it swatted down developer Young Woo & Associates plan for en suite parking at its 200 Eleventh Avenue development. Plans called for a car elevator that would have allowed residents to drive right to the door of the building's fifteen floorthrough luxury condos — Madonna was said to be interested in buying one — but the Fire Department has made its disapproval known and last night the community board said the plan violated local zoning laws. (The board's decision is only advisory, but the borough president, planning commission, and city council typically follow boards' leads.) Under those rules, a new development can offer parking spots for only 20 percent of its units without a special permit. "The board has a principle that because of too many cars in the community board's confines, they want to enforce the 20 percent," district manager Robert Benfatto told us. So three spots, even hovering ones, would be just fine. — Alec Appelbaum Related: The High Line: It Brings Good Things to Life [NYM] Earlier: West Chelsea Car-Elevator Apartments: Going Down?

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A Lifeline for the Upper High Line?

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Last we checked in, it seemed that the officials were willing to let a successful bidder for the MTA's Hudson Yards site tear down the part of the High Line that runs through it. But now it seems that the old rail trestle, slowly becoming a park, has a better chance of survival. Real Estate Board of New York president Steven Spinola, the developers’ rep in the bidding process for Yards site, tells us that the Hudson Yards Development Corporation showed a presentation yesterday that included a preference for cultural institutions, lots of open space, an attempt at affordable housing, and sympathy for the High Line. “They likely will say to developers: We would like to see the High Line continue, so explain what the ramifications would be of keeping it,” Spinola said. “I think they started off negative about the High Line and they’re now looking to keep it an open question.” Will developers — who must sink more than $300 million just to install a platform over the rail yards — willingly invest around an elevated park? “The High Line, if done properly, can clearly be an attractive amenity for the city,” Spinola says. “A few months ago people said, ‘Of course it’s a problem,’ and yesterday people said, ‘We’ll analyze it.’” —Alec Appelbaum Earlier: The High Line, Suddenly Not as High?

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You Love the High Line, You Got to Boogie

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Taking a perhaps-illegal tour of the High Line this weekend, one of the bloggers at the Fagat Guide (get it? like Zagat?) found this lone rainbow-colored disco ball, noted an Anderson Cooper billboard in the background (at left), and deemed the park-to-be "the gayest thing since the Christopher Street piers." Indeed. With Diane Von Furstenberg Involved, You Already Knew This Thing Was Going to be Pretty Special [Fagat Guide via Curbed]

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City Names Trump Vet High Line Chief

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The High Line’s supporters — from celeb friends like Edward Norton to City Hall backers like Dan Doctoroff — always say the elevated rail trestle will feel like a dream park. And now the city's Parks Department has bestowed the dream job of managing the High Line on veteran park planner Michael Bradley. Bradley, 48, previously shepherded design and greenspace commitments at Riverside South, which Donald Trump built on the Upper West Side in the nineties. That job prepared him for the new gig indirectly: Bradley organized the $30,000 purchase of a dead locomotive that kids now play on in his old park. The new gig, however, involves heavier challenges. Bradley’s job description includes surmounting engineering challenges (like installing “a waterproofing, drainage, and irrigation system,” according to the job description) and executing political pirouettes (like fund-raising and ensuring that developers whose buildings touch the High Line provide public access and lavatories and such). He’s also got a wardrobe to consider. “I’ve been thinking I need to get a windbreaker,” he says, disclosing that the Line's logo will combine Parks’ maple leaf with Friends of the High Line’s stylized H. Then there’s working up “criteria for potential connections from adjacent properties” — which means deflating rumors that swanky condos on the Line will enjoy exclusive access. The Caledonia, at 16th Street and Tenth Avenue, is designing a publicly accessible stair and elevator to show how a luxury condo can touch the park without stiff-arming the public. How un-Donald is that? —Alec Appelbaum

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The High Line, Suddenly Not as High?

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Not that it's any big surprise at this point — after secret sets of books, and floated-and-then-retracted fare hikes, and all that — but the MTA might be up to something a little shady again. While everyone's busy being excited about the redevelopment of the High Line, it turns out the MTA has been whispering to developers looking at its West Side yards — where Bloomberg wanted to build a Jets stadium, and which contain 31 percent of the elevated rail tracks — that a purchaser might be able to dismantle at least part of the Line. (You know, so building could start faster.) Last night, Friends of the High Line rallied its base in a meeting at Chelsea Market to protest this news and presented the case that maintaining the High Line on the MTA property would actually make it more attractive to developers, and thus more lucrative to the MTA. To that end, Friends of the High Line — with partial funding from developers with projects elsewhere along the structure — offered this sketch, from the Chelsea firm SHoP Architects, of what a redeveloped MTA yard would look like with the High Line still intact up there. Pretty, ain't it? —Alec Appelbaum

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Tom Wolfe Wants a Bonfire at the Whitney

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Tom Wolfe called the Landmarks Preservation Commission "de facto defunct" in a Times op-ed on Sunday, its members pawns of developer Aby Rosen and his evil plans to build a 30-story glass condo in the Upper East Side Historic District. Then today came news that the Whitney Museum, located in the same historic district and after decades of fighting to build an addition, would give up on its Madison Avenue expansion plan and instead build a "satellite" branch along the High Line in the meatpacking district. So does Wolfe think that this move, finally, is the right stuff? We called to find out. So, Tom, happy that the expansion has been stopped? Everything possible should be done to keep the Whitney from expanding. I mean, we really don't need any more of that, unless they improve in taste. Mainly, they should just get rid of the building. Almost anything they could put in its place, as long as it's no higher than that, would be real plus for the city.

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The Inexplicables

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• Mayor Bloomberg seems to be making all the right moves in the wake of the 50-bullet NYPD hailstorm that killed an unarmed man in Queens. The mayor called the shooting "unacceptable or inexplicable" during a meeting with the city's black leaders (including Al Sharpton and Charlie Rangel) — unusually strong language considering that all the facts aren't officially in yet. [NYT] • Firefighters doused a fire in the basement of a Bed-Stuy apartment only to find a man's body duct-taped to a bed. It's unclear whether the flame killed the victim or was intended to hide the crime. [WNBC] • Even the most radical proponents of graffiti-as-legit-art would have a hard time defending one Patrick McCormick, whose fifteen arrests alternate between graffiti offenses (his artless tag, seen all over town, is "MAP") and things like robberies and the murder of homeless people. He is now back behind bars after pleading guilty to a relatively mild crime of smashing a subway window with a hammer. What a guy. [NYDN] • In Trenton, the heirs of a wealthy couple that donated $35 million to Princeton in 1961 want the money back. Their reasoning hinges on a claim, which they're taking to court, that the university is misusing the endowment. It's safe to say there goes that honorary degree. [NYP] • And the Whitney is jumping on the High Line: The museum has inked a tentative deal with the city to build a downtown expansion that will also function as the entrance to the trippy park. This appears to mean that all talk of expanding its uptown space is now officially over, and the meatpacking district has ornery UES landmarks boards to thank. [amNY]

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