Manhattan royalty such as Diane Von Furstenberg (sans hubby Barry Diller), Moby, Anderson Cooper and the Reverend Al Sharpton gathered at Cipriani Wall Street to honor Ed Norton and other advocates of the High Line, a 1.5-mile stretch of unused elevated railway running from 34th to Gansevoort Street, along Manhattan’s West Side. The Friends of the High Line’s fifth annual summer benefit was another stop along the way to turning the railway — long known as an off-limits haven for photographers, high-school kids and urban adventurers — into a public park.
When asked if he’d ever climbed up there illegally, Norton grinned sheepishly. “I learned about a couple of ways to get on it,” said the honoree, who initially noticed the High Line in 1996 from the roof of his first apartment on Horatio Street. “There was this one building they were doing construction on with scaffolding along the side where people could climb up. But those days of sneaking up there are over. And it doesn’t matter because soon everyone will have access to it.”
In the meantime, guests had to settle for photos taken against a staged backdrop of a view from the High Line. Among them was Norton’s proud papa, Ed Sr., who’s a founding member of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy program.