The High Line: Unparalleled urban oasis or maelstrom of gentrifying malevolence? After reading about poor Alan Brownfeld and his imperiled Brownfeld Auto Service, we're gonna go with both. The Chelsea auto body shop was started by Brownfeld's grandfather back in the 1920s, but now its days are numbered, and the High Line is allegedly to blame. Why couldn't they have made it a little less gorgeous?
"I'm getting pushed out. [The park] has been a nightmare," Brownfeld tells the Post. "I had a right to extend my lease, but my landlord said, 'I can't do it right now because of the High Line people.' So he's terminating me and trying to get me to vacate my premises. They want to replace us with an art gallery or a high-rise."
The group Friends of the High Line deny exerting any pressure on Brownfeld's landlord to replace the auto body shop with yet another PaceWildenstein outpost or whatever. Reached for comment by the Post, the landlord, Ronnie Abramov, said Brownfeld "has plenty of places to go to" and that "[the High Line] is not the problem." He won't say what he plans to replace the auto-body shop with, but Brownfeld's not going down without a fight. He plans to challenge the eviction in court if necessary, and will continue to deposit his monthly rent into an escrow account if his landlord refuses to accept it.
Brownfeld's not the only old-timer stuck in a bitter standoff by the High Line: the Firestone Bear Auto Center on West 26th Street has been fighting eviction, too. An unnamed source tells Vanishing New York that a forthcoming private school across the street wants the auto center replaced with a parking lot—and this school, called Avenues, just so happens to be a big contributor to the High Line.