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PR- 270-10
June 16, 2010


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today presented the 2010 Doris C. Freedman Award to the Friends of the High Line for its dedication to preserving an essential piece of New York’s industrial history and for transforming the High Line into an innovative public space. The Doris C. Freedman Award was established in 1982 by Executive Order by Mayor Edward I. Koch to recognize an individual or organization for a contribution to the people of the City of New York that greatly enriches the public environment.  It is dedicated to the memory and vision of Doris Chanin Freedman (1928-1981), the City’s first Director of Cultural Affairs at the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Administration. Mrs. Freedman also served as President of the Municipal Art Society and Founder of the Public Art Fund, and she worked to establish New York City’s Percent for Art legislation. Mayor Bloomberg was joined at the High Line to celebrate the Award by First Deputy Mayor Patricia E. Harris, Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate Levin, Department of Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Department of City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden, Friends of the High Line Board Chair John Alschuler, Friends of the High Line Executive Director Joshua David and members of the Freedman Family including daughters Karen Freedman, Nina Freedman and Public Art Fund President Susan K. Freedman.

“It’s an honor to present the Doris C. Freedman Award to Friends of the High Line for its invaluable work in bringing the City’s historic High Line back to life,” said Mayor Bloomberg.  “By transforming an old rail line into an innovative new park with inventive art installations and public programs, Friends of the High Line helped create an iconic attraction that has captured the history of the neighborhood – and given all New Yorkers and our visitors an elevated oasis to enjoy for generations to come.”

“Organizations like Friends of the High Line are the life blood of our City, preserving the landscape of our neighborhoods through innovative design and community outreach,” said Public Art Fund President, Susan K. Freedman. “My mother, Doris Freedman, would have been thrilled to see Mayor Bloomberg applauding their efforts to reinvent this extraordinary piece of our City’s history by creating a unique and inviting public space, changing the cultural landscape of the City forever; and benefiting all New Yorkers and visitors to the City.”

“The High Line began as a seemingly impossible dream more than ten years ago,” said Joshua David, Co-Founder of Friends of the High Line. At that time, many found it difficult to believe that this neglected piece of urban infrastructure had any future. It is thanks to the dedication and vision of our friends that the High Line stands today. Artists, business owners, City leaders, elected officials, and neighbors – we came together, united around a shared vision. The result is an incredible and inspiring park – one that is changing how we see New York City.  I would like to thank the Bloomberg administration, without which this extraordinary park would not be here today.”

“This beguiling civic space anchors the transformation of Manhattan’s West Side, from the Meatpacking District to 42nd Street,” said Friends of the High Line Board Chair John Alschuler. “This transformation has been driven by visionary elected leaders working in partnership with the business and citizen leadership of the City. This partnership has been cemented by a shared and unrelenting commitment to excellence in all phases of the project: world class design, innovative programming, and superb maintenance and operations. The Board of the High Line expresses its appreciation to Co-Founders, Joshua David and Robert Hammond, and to the Bloomberg Administration for their vision and unwavering leadership.” 

Founded in 1999 by two neighborhood residents, Joshua David and Robert Hammond, Friends of the High Line was formed as a non-profit organization advocating for the preservation of the entire historic structure and the landscape of wild flowers, trees, and shrubs that had taken over the High Line during its years of disuse. Working with the Administration and the City Council, Friends of the High Line was able to save the High Line through the federal Railbanking program. The organization also spearheaded the design process for the High Line’s transformation to a public park, partnering with the City of New York on an international design competition that selected the team of James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro.  The first section of the High Line (Gansevoort Street to 20th Street) opened in the summer of 2009.

With more than two million visitors in its first year, the High Line has become a global destination as well as a favorite new neighborhood park for New Yorkers. Friends of the High Line now serves as the non-profit conservancy that works with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation to ensure the High Line is well maintained as a beautiful public place for all New Yorkers and visitors.  In addition to coordinating the maintenance, operations, and public programming for the High Line, Friends of the High Line raises private funding to help complete the High Line's construction and create an endowment for its future operations.

The High Line is a public park built on an elevated freight rail structure on Manhattan’s West Side.  Originally built in the 1930s to remove dangerous freight trains from Manhattan’s streets, the High Line delivered milk, meat, produce, and raw and manufactured goods into the upper-floor loading docks of factories and warehouses. 

Past recipients of the Doris C. Freedman Award, include: Olafur Eliasson and the Public Art Fund, 2008; City Parks Foundation, 2007; Barry Benepe and Robert Lewis, founders of the Greenmarket, 2006; Christo and Jeanne-Claude, 2005; Richard Kahan, 2004; Edward I. Koch, 2003; The Hugh L. Carey Battery Park City Authority, 2002; The J.M. Kaplan Fund, 1992; Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts and its Founder, Halina Rosenthal, 1991; Dancing in the Streets, 1990; Richard J. Haas, 1989;  Studio In A School, 1988; Mark di Suvero, 1987; Margot Gayle, 1986; The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, 1985; William H. Whyte, 1984; and Ronay Menschel, 1983.


Stu Loeser / Jason Post   (212) 788-2958

Kate Lindquist (Friends of the High Line)   (212) 206-9922

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