The City of New York is full of parks -- in fact, there are 1700! We have enormous parks (Central, Prospect, Flushing) and medium-sized offerings (Bryant, Madison Square), plus there are little pocket parks everywhere like Stuyvesant and Washington Market. And now, today, the borough I love opened what may be its most forward-thinking park space -- it's called the High Line.
Many years ago, High Line was the name for an elevated freight railroad that traversed the meatpacking district on the west side of lower Manhattan that has no more remnants of packing meat. It's all Prada and Varvados and fancy-shmancy restaurants! Abandoned for nearly 80 years, all of a sudden a citizens group, with -- GASP, imagine -- help from the City Government got the High Line "renewal" funded and a huge construction project began in 2004. Phase one opened just this week.
It is, lovers of all trendy things, the wave of the future in this infrastructure-messy recession era. Although the High Line is a major urban renewal effort, the park's construction is emblematic of a core value that I hope will stick around once Wall Street bulls come out of hiding: We should reuse resources to create value for our audience and our customers. Here, a town with many (other) problems turned an eyesore into what New Yorkers value most -- a public space that cost us nothing out of pocket.
Seeking a trend? In the future, and right now, people resent the cheap, they want true value--and not the hardware chain! We want to feel part of something amazing. We wish to be inspired. People want to be provided with a sense they are valued. Consumers want a service - or a product -- provided out of care.
A little over 80 years ago, the High Line was filled with trains that brought cattle to the Meatpacking District. Today, lo and behold, it is bringing New Yorkers what they love most: another reason to brag about New York. All it took was some effort.
I'm proud. Come see us high up.
****Twittering at www.twitter.com/laermer. A lot.
Book: "2011: Trendspotting," available everywhere, like here.
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