We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
God knows how many lawyers have built their retirements in West Palm Beach or "the Tampa area" on slip 'n fall cases in New York City. It's a major industry there, feeding mostly off the deep pockets of the city government. They settle promptly.
There is an entire category of inattentive person which seems to be slip and trip-prone. Perhaps their moms never told them "Watch what you're doing." They trip over curbstones. The overlap of that set of people with the set of greedy litigious persons are the key to the jackpot for both the lawyers and for the lucky jerk who didn't watch where he was going and has the personality type to cash in.
In the past, such people would win the Darwin Prize which eliminates their genes from the gene pool, but, in the new world, they win the big bucks.
Winter must be a windfall for these lawyers. Everybody slips on ice, and everybody knows that Gomers Go To Ground.
Admittedly the design is meant to be as much to invent an aesthetic rus in urba experience rather than a practical one, but how could anybody design anything in which some litigious person might not be able to find something to trip over? Aren't there rocks to trip over in Central Park? There are rocks and roots and ice all over my town paths where I like to take my dog - each one, I would suppose, with dollar signs all over it. I have slipped and tripped and fallen many times in my life, broke an arm, tore a shoulder to shreds, etc., and it never occurred to me to sue anybody.
I thought the litigation risk of the High Line would be drunks falling off the sides. Maybe I am out of sync with this new way of life. How do you design a litigation-proof anything other than a padded cell?
In a fair world where everybody was physically equal that would be true. However those of us who have had several serious concussions and suffer from "foot drop" time-to-time (due to drain bamage) falling can be a serious business.
As a once-upon-a-time city planner, I recall having a conversation with our city attorney one time about hazardous conditions in the city's right-of-way. He made the excellent point that if the hazard is already there (and the city didn't put it there in the first place) then we were much better off leaving it as-is than trying to fix it. If somebody gets hurt AFTER you fixed it, then you are on the hook for not fixing it well enough, but if you leave it alone, then you can rely on the fact that a reasonable person should have been able to assess the situation and recognize the hazard on their own. This sort of reason goes double for natural hazards like streams of ponds in parks; the reasonable person already knows there is a risk and the city doesn't protect itself from liability by trying to protect people from risks they should be able to protect themselves from.
That said, there's no telling what could happen in a jury room, and some cities' peeps are more likely to succumb to silliness than others, so you gotta be aware of your litigal surroundings as much as your physical environment these days. Also, given that highline has been completely remade, none of the advice I got those years ago really apply.
Still, it's a pity that the world can't expect its users to act like adults a little bit more.
I was in Tijuana many years ago. In the downtown commercial district, a work crew had excavated a large, deep hole in the sidewalk. At 5:00 Friday afternoon, they left it open, put a half-ass barricade around it and 2 kerosene bombs.
Apparently, the Mexican philosophy is that if you are stupid enough or drunk enough to fall into it, it's your problem. Our Mexican neighbors have the right attitude.