Even though construction has been quietly progressing for the last month, today was the official groundbreaking for the High Line Park. Just about every local politician was there to make a little speech about the revitalization of the area, including Senators Clinton and Schumer, Mayor Bloomberg, and City Council Speaker Quinn. A requisite smatter of celebrities also showed up-- Barry Diller and his wife Diane Von Furstenberg, Kevin Bacon, and Ed Norton all stood on the dais during the speeches. Everyone was wearing green commemorative hard hats with the Michael Defeo flower on the front. The big moment was a ceremonial "rail lifting"-- although to tell the truth, the machine seemed to be doing most of the work while the politicos stood around for the cameras.
After the official ceremony there was a big party down on Little West 12th-- lots of free food, and some music. Everyone was standing around to get their picture taken with the High Line behind them. There was also a horse, presumably there to commemorate the cowboys that used to ride in front of the trains in olden times. The horse seemed sort of bored, but was allowing people to pet him.
Related: here's Diller Scofidio + Renfro's official rendering of the park as it will look in a few years:
Special Contest: the take away prize for the groundbreaking was an honest-to-god rusty spike from the tracks, etched with the words "High Line Groundbreaking." We took one, and want to give it to you! All you have to do is answer the following question: what was the last train to ever run on the High Line carrying? [First correct answer to jake(at)gothamist wins! Tetanus shots are recommended for the winner-- and we'll even throw in the velvet bag that came with the tie!]