The High Line
Imagine walking the streets of New York and you find yourself walking up a flight of stairs to a train track…but once you get to the platform, instead of seeing trains, metal, and hordes of people, you see grass and plants covering the tracks with people riding their bikes by. You have found the High Line.
The High Line in New York was constructed in 1930 to lift dangerous freight trains off the streets of Manhattan; it transported agricultural goods and meat to the meatpacking district. Section 1 of the High Line is now open as a public park thanks to the non-profit group Friends of the High Line who formed the park in 1999 when the rail was facing demolition after seeing no train traffic since the 1980’s. The park is now owned by the City of New York and operated under the jurisdiction of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation.
The High Line project is still under construction with Section 2 to be complete this year; when all sections are complete the High Line, “will be a mile-and-a-half-long elevated park, running through the West Side neighborhoods of the Meatpacking District, West Chelsea and Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen.” It landscaping is functional with flowing concrete pathways and vegetation, fixed and movable seating, lighting, and equipped with plenty of bike racks.
Friends of the High Line wanted to save the space as a testament to New York’s industrial past and use the old line as a safe way for people to enjoy the city and to hopefully set an example for other states. Currently, major roadways and old train tracks are beginning to break down and cities across the country are having to make the decision between rebuilding roads, taking them out, or reusing them like Friends of the High Line did. Some cities have realized it costs less to reconstruct the roads as a park or as a pedestrian area than to rebuild a major highway.
Not only can one walk “the line’ and enjoy the views of the Hudson and the skyline, but pedestrians will be able to choose from innovative, creative, thoughtful food vendors in the near future. There are also “viewing stations” located in the park with public art displays. Friends of the High Line also offers school groups or educational tours of the line where children can learn the history, nature, or design of the line.
For more information and a gallery of photos, please click HERE.