The High Line, New York City
Running 30 feet above Manhattan's West Side is The High Line, a 1.45 mile long park and walkway built along a historic railroad track. It starts runs from the Meatpacking District all the way through Chelsea (and over some very very cool art galleries), and ends at the Northern edge of the West Side Yard. (Check out this cool map by Aaron Meshon on Bechance!!)
Here's the (condensed) history of the railroad and the park, as told by Friends of the High Line:
1934 As part of the West Side Improvement Project, the High Line opens to trains. It runs from 34th Street to St John's Park Terminal, at Spring Street. It is designed to go through the center of blocks, rather than over the avenue, carrying goods to and from Manhattan's largest industrial district.
1980s Following decades-long growth in the interstate trucking industry, the last train runs on the High Line in 1980, pulling three carloads of frozen turkeys. A group of property owners lobbies for demolition while Peter Obletz, a Chelsea resident, activist, and railroad enthusiast, challenges demolition efforts in court.
1999 Friends of the High Line is founded by Joshua David and Robert Hammond, residents of the High Line neighborhood, to advocate for the High Line's preservation and reuse as public open space.
2002-2003 The planning framework for the High Line's preservation and reuse begins. A study done by Friends of the High Line finds that the High Line project is economically rational, and leads to an open ideas competition, Designing the High Line.
March–September 2004 Friends of the High Line and the Ciy of New York conduct a process to select a design team for the High Line. The selected team is James Corner Field Operations, a landscape architecture firm, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and Piet Oudolf, planting designer.
2005–2006 The City accepts ownership of the High Line which is donated by CSX Transportation, Inc. in November 2005; Groundbreaking is celebrated in April 2006.
June 9, 2009 Section 1 (Gansevoort Street to West 20th Street) opens to the public.
June 8, 2011 Section 2 (West 20th Street to West 30th Street) opens to the public.
April–September 2012 The New York City Planning Commission approves a zoning text amendment for High Line at the Rail Yards. Groundbreaking is celebrated on the High Line at the Rail Yards September 20, 2012.
September 21, 2014 The third and northernmost section on the park, the High Line at the Rail Yards, opens to the public. Friends of the High Line celebrates 15 years of successful advocacy to preserve the entire structure.
Do you know what sticks out to me? First, that these two guys had this vision and even though it took YEARS to see it to fruition, they did! Two guys! It inspires me to think big and be confident that even the most hopeless seeming projects can become successful. And two, what a cool vision! I love railroads and I love the history of them and how they changed the landscape and the dynamic of our country and I love that this project turned a neglected eyesore into a beauty. And last, I wonder what it's like for people that live right next to it? There is a lot of foot traffic and a lot of apartments were eye level with the greenway.
I went for the first time years ago with my friend Rachel, and I have always wanted to get back there, so this last trip with my husband, we made it happen! He had never been and I was so excited for him to see it.
We walked the whole thing, taking breaks to people watch and lounge. We also hopped off in Chelsea to try and find an art studio that I remembered from being there with Rachel - it was an artist named Arlene Rush and I loved her work and her space - but, sadly, I couldn't find it! Next time, next time.
Shop my (not pictured - too busy enjoying the moment!) outfit: