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High Line Lectures

At the American Library in Paris. Photo © Danielle Voirin 2013

At the American Library in Paris. Photo © Danielle Voirin

Annik LaFarge lectures widely on the High Line, using hundreds of photographs — archival photos and maps as well as contemporary images, including many rooftop and aerial photos — to illustrate her talks. Lectures are customized for each audience, and subjects include:

* The History of the High Line, going back to the 1830s when the railroad first came to NYC.

An International Model of Adaptive Reuse: the High Line’s transformative role in urban placemaking around the globe, sparking the development of innovative urban greenways and public spaces in cities of all sizes.

Public Art and Programming on the High Line: the vital role of public art, educational and cultural programming on the High Line.

* Robert Moses’ West Side Improvement Project: this gigantic project finally provided a solution to the problem of “Death Avenue” by creating the elevated freight railroad known as the High Line.

* “The Lifeline of New York”: the history of Manhattan’s 19th century open-air farmer’s markets near Gansevoort Street, and the High Line’s crucial role in the 20th century in providing a commercial freight link that brought food from virtually every state in the country to New York City.

* The Marriage of River and Rail: how the great Hudson River port and the railroad that ran parallel to it enabled New York City to become “the mistress of the commerce of the world.”

* The High Line’s Innovative Design: how the landscape architects, architects and horticultural team incorporated and paid tribute to the railroad’s history in the park’s design.

* Joel Sternfeld and the essential role of photography: how landscape photographer Joel Sternfeld’s images, taken over the course of a year, helped define the vision that would guide and inform the park’s design, and how photography continues to play a significant role in the park’s success.

* Horticulture on the High Line: the philosophy of plant design that guided James Corner Field Operations and Dutch plantsman Piet Oudolf, who created the park’s horticultural plan.

* Engaging with the Neighborhood: the cultural, industrial and manufacturing history of West Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen and the West Village from the Industrial Revolution to the present.

The Hudson River’s “Lighterage System”: the little-known but fascinating network of railroad barges or “car floats” and terminal freight warehouses, including the Starrett-Lehigh Building, that empowered commerce along the West Side of Manhattan and whose remnants can still be seen in architecture and monuments around the High Line.

High Line Walking Tours

In addition to lectures and speaking events, LaFarge also conducts walking tours for Friends of the High Line as well as for private groups. Recent lectures & walking tours have been specially prepared for librarians, booksellers, teachers, community groups, schools, media, and business groups. To inquire about lectures or to arrange a private walking tour, please use the contact form on this website.

2-page lecture brochure

For more information, download a 2-page lecture brochure (PDF).





Photograph of Annik LaFarge at the American Library in Paris by Danielle Voirin, www.daniellevoirin.com

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