Narrated by actress Susan Sarandon, this hour-long documentary film showcases the High Line, a most unusual and unlikely public park. Since opening in 2009, it has become a top global tourist destination, with nearly 5 million visitors annually.
Since 1998, Great Museums’ call to action has been find the museum in your own backyard. The High Line is a perfect example. “The long, narrow High Line is like a gallery in a museum where the city itself is on display,” explains co-executive productive Marc Doyle. “You see the Statue of Liberty looking one way and the Empire State building looking the other.”
The mile-and-a half-long High Line offers visitors a carefully curated world of woodlands, thickets, prairies and meadows – floating 30 feet in the air – through 22 blocks of Manhattan’s West Side. It is like a living museum of plants – a tour de force of public landscaping – carefully curated atop an abandoned elevated railroad that was saved from the wrecking ball. “We filmed the High Line over the course of two years to capture the full glory of all four seasons,” says Chesney Doyle, co-executive producer of Great Museums.
“Elevated Thinking” is the story of a grassroots effort, led by Friends of the High Line co-founders Robert Hammond and Joshua David, to buck city hall and save a massive, derelict, mile-and-half-long, freight railway from demolition. Against all odds, they built a coalition of neighbors, real estate developers, philanthropists, and city officials, including the support of the Bloomberg administration. CSX Transportation, which had purchased the High Line 1998, supported the idea of repurposing the High Line and eventually donated the structure to the city. “Many residents thought it was a big, ugly piece of junk in the sky,” says Great Museums’ Chesney Doyle. “Now it’s a model for communities everywhere.”