On The Avenue

When the High Line Stormed the Tunnel

by Michael Gross Photographed by Jared Siskin/PMC
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
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Does it seem at all strange to celebrate Manhattan’s High Line, the elevated park that transformed the West Side, inside what used to be The Tunnel, a semi-notorious ’80s nightclub that, in a previous life, was the Terminal Warehouse Company Central Stores Building? Not when you consider that, like the High Line, the sprawling million-square-foot building was once an integral part of Manhattan’s transportation matrix, a freight terminal and warehouse bisected by a pair of rail tracks connecting docks on the Hudson River to a freight line running up 11th Avenue.

On Monday night at its spring gala, Friends of the High Line transformed that somber, fortress-like relic of the 19th Century–now a dramatic event space called The Waterfront–into a sprawling, other-worldly banqueting hall lined with moodily-lit surrealistic paper pillows and clouds and silver foiled walls and filled with almost a hundred tables by Friends board member Bronson van Wyck and L&M Sound & Light. With its 20-foot ceilings, hardwood floors, and red brick walls, it was the height of industrial chic, and a perfect venue to celebrate the group that raises almost the entire cost of maintaining the High Line, once an elevated freight line and now stunning and innovative park and magnetic tourist attraction. “It’s almost too much,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development of New York, Alicia Glen, “beautiful, magical and daring,” as she thanked the guests for their help in supporting it. “Every time you do something for a piece of New York, you’re doing something for all of New York.” City Councilman Corey Johnson struck a similar note. “The High Line has done an incredible job reaching out to the community,” he said.

The evening, which began with cocktails at Skylight Modern, a half block away, honored Ellen Fitzsimmons, Michael and Deborah McCarthy and The Standard, High Line, for their support of the High Line.

Robert Hammond, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Friends of the High Line, was joined at the event by Friends of the High Line Board Chairman Catie Marron with husband Donald Marron, Darren Walker, Gillian Hearst Simonds, Debra and Anson Beard, Mario Palumbo, Karen Herskovitz Ackman, Alicia Glen, Amanda Burden, Charles Rockefeller, Mitchell Silver, Bill T. Jones, Liz Diller, Ric Scofidio, Charles Renfro, Phil Aarons and Shelley Fox Aarons, Jonathan Mechanic, Joanne Wilson, David and Hermine Heller, Ursula Burns, Jonny Schulhof, David Kuhn, Kimberly Kravis, Joshua David, Elizabeth and Colin Callendar, and Tom Hill.


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