“Ne travaillez jamais!”—Never Work!— is as much about a resistance to the notion of productivity, of participation in a capitalist enterprise that codes the idea of “good” activity as that which begets profit, as it is a utopian battlecry; likewise, the Situationist dérive is a mode of unproductive walking: traversing space for the sake of experiencing it rather than as a way to get from point A to point B, a rejoinder to the the capitalist city rather than a kind of updated flânerie.
The ethos of the High Line, on the other hand, is to take the unproductive spaces of the city and make them work—work in the sense of performing a function, imbuing them with productive life.
I do like the High Line; I’ve visited now in spring, summer, and winter, and (coming from the seasonless West Coast) that’s definitely part of the appeal, as is the art and the people watching. However, it’s definitely not wild; it’s tamed, and nice, in the worst sense of the word. On balance I’m happy it’s there, but I hope it’s not the model for every park (and every reclamation of industrial heritage) to come.