Park funding isn't the only issue at the city's newest open space. It seems Ricardo Scofidio, a principal at the high end design firm, tried to pass off responsibility for using rainforest wood at the Highline to the mayoral controlled Design Commission. The Highline is embroiled in a eco-controversy because ipê trees were used instead of recycled material or locally sourced wood. Let's hope they and the DPR get their act together for the second stage of construction. Now if only someone had bothered to question a major design flaw from Diller Scofidio + Renfro's which has caused numerous trip and falls in the "park" since its opening. More on that later.
Showdown on the High Line
To The Editor:
Re “Rainforest activists: High Line wood a ‘pour’ choice” (news article, July 8):
Rainforests of New York (www.rainforestsofnewyork.org), the long-term campaign to end the use of rainforest wood in New York City government-funded projects, has challenged the much-touted “eco-park,” the High Line, for using it. While passing out fliers to Chelsea residents and tourists there a week ago, the campaign met Ricardo Scofidio, a principal partner of the team of Diller Scofidio + Renfro that designed the High Line park. We discussed the firm’s ecologically insensitive decision to use ipê wood from the Amazon.
During our conversation, Mr. Scofidio repeatedly claimed that the city’s Design Commission “insisted” the High Line use ipê trees, although his firm proffered thoughtful eco-designs that would salvage the old High Line rail ties or use recycled plastic lumber or regionally sourced hardwood from black locust trees. He also claimed that the Parks Department had provided specifications requiring ipê be used — despite the fact that Mayor Bloomberg has declared he would end, where possible, the city’s use of rainforest wood because of its significant contribution to global climate change.
Last week, we wrote to the Design Commission to ask them about Mr. Scofidio’s assertion. They refuted his claim, stating that “[W]hile the Commission reviewed the design of the High Line, it did not request that a particular type of wood be used.”
Read more: The Villager - July 29, 2009 - Letter to the Editor (fourth letter down)