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Welcome to the High Line

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The High Line is a 1-mile (1.6 km)1 New York City linear park built on a 1.45-mile (2.33 km)2 section of the elevated former New York Central Railroad spur called the West Side Line, which runs along the lower west side of Manhattan; it has been redesigned and planted as an aerial greenway.

A similar project in Paris, the 3-mile (4.8-kilometer) Promenade plantée, completed in 1993, was the inspiration for this project. The High Line currently runs from Gansevoort Street, three blocks below West 14th Street, in the Meatpacking District, to 30th Street, through the neighborhood of Chelsea to the West Side Yard, near the Javits Convention Center. Formerly the viaduct of the High Line went as far south as Spring Street just north of Canal Street, but the lower section was demolished in 1960.

The project has spurred real estate development in the neighborhoods which lie along the line.

1934 The High Line opens to trains. It runs from 34th Street to St. John’s Park Terminal, at Spring Street. It connects directly to factories and warehouses, allowing trains to roll right inside buildings. Milk, meat, produce, and manufactured goods come and go without causing street-level traffic.

1980 The last train runs on the High Line pulling three carloads of frozen turkeys.

As the line lay unused and in disrepair (despite the fact that the riveted steel elevated structure was structurally sound) it became known to a few urban explorers and local residents for the tough, drought-tolerant wild grasses, shrubs, and rugged trees such as sumac that had sprung up in the gravel along the abandoned railway. It was slated for demolition under the administration of then-mayor Rudy Giuliani.


Repurposing
In 1999, the non-profit Friends of the High Line was formed by Joshua David and Robert Hammond, residents of the neighborhood the High Line ran through. They advocated for the Line’s preservation and reuse as public open space, an elevated park or greenway, similar to the Promenade Plantée in Paris.

Broadened community support of public redevelopment for the High Line for pedestrian use grew, and in 2004, the New York City government committed $50 million to establish the proposed park.

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.

October 2002 A study done by Friends of the High Line finds that the High Line project is economically rational: New tax revenues created by the public space will be greater than the costs of construction.

Above the original railway is still visible.

Impact The recycling of the railway into an urban park has spurred real estate development in the neighborhoods that lie along the line. Mayor Bloomberg noted that the High Line project has helped usher in something of a renaissance in the neighborhood.

Empty parks are dangerous, You’re virtually never alone on the High Line."

Residents who have bought apartments next to the High Line have adapted to its presence in varying ways. For the most part though, their responses are positive.

The High Line, now a destination itself, has encouraged the leaders of other cities, such as Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago, who see it as “a symbol and catalyst” for gentrifying neighborhoods.

Several cities also have plans to renovate some railroad infrastructure into park land, including Philadelphia and St. Louis. In Chicago, where the Bloomingdale Trail, a 2.7 miles (4.3 km)-long linear park on former railroad infrastructure, will run through several neighborhoods.

The park extends from Gansevoort Street north to 30th Street where the elevated tracks turn west around the Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project to the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on 34th Street, though the northern section is expected to be integrated within the Hudson Yards development and the Hudson Park and Boulevard.

When the Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project’s Western Rail Yard is finished in 2018, it will be elevated above the High Line, so an exit along the High Line will be located along the viaduct over the West Side Yard, exiting out to the Western Rail Yard of Hudson Yards.

The 34th Street/Eleventh Avenue entrance will be at grade level, with wheelchair access.

The park’s attractions include naturalized plantings that are inspired by the self-seeded landscape that grew on the disused tracks and new, often unexpected views of the city and the Hudson River.

Pebble-dash concrete walkways unify the trail, which swells and constricts, swinging from side to side, and divides into concrete tines that meld the hardscape with the planting embedded in railroad gravel mulch. Stretches of track and ties recall the High Line’s former use. Portions of track are adaptively re-used for rolling lounges positioned for river views.

Most of the planting, which includes 210 species, is of rugged meadow plants, including clump-forming grasses, liatris and coneflowers, with scattered stands of sumac and smokebush, but not limited to American natives.

At the Gansevoort end, a grove of mixed species of birch already provides some dappled shade by late afternoon. Ipê timber for the built-in benches has come from a managed forest certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, to ensure sustainable use and the conservation of biological diversity, water resources and fragile ecosystems.

The High Line has cultural attractions as well as its integrated architecture and plant life. As part of a long-term plan for the park to host temporary installations and performances of various kinds, Creative Time, Friends of the High Line, and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation commissioned The River That Flows Both Ways by Spencer Finch as the inaugural art installation.

The work is integrated into the window bays of the former Nabisco Factory loading dock, as a series of 700 purple and grey colored glass panes. Each color is exactly calibrated to match the center pixel of 700 digital pictures, one taken every minute, of the Hudson River, therefore presenting an extended portrait of the river that gives the work its name.

I hope you enjoyed seeing this incredible transformation of the High Line and the cascading effect it has on the environment and the surrounding neighborhoods.

More blog posts by bathgate

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Comments

 

Thankyou for the tour Bathgate very interesting.

I would love to visit New York again just to see this.

6 Jul, 2014

 

Its an astonishing vision, and it must be a very welcome green lung among all the otherwise unrelieved buildings.
The trees in particular will make such a difference.Thank you for all the time you must have taken to produce this for us.

6 Jul, 2014

 

You are welcome. I enjoyed working on this project. It's been very rich.

6 Jul, 2014

 

What a brilliant transformation! And thankgoodness there was a group of people who could forsee something far more beautiful for the future...! :o) Thanks for taking the time to produce this blog for us - it's a brilliant piece!

6 Jul, 2014

 

Great presentation, wonderful transformation. Lived in Manhattan for about twenty years -25th st. near 1st ave. -a short walk to where I worked at Bellview Hospital. Seeing this, what wonders could have been done to the 3rd ave elevated had it not been taken down.

7 Jul, 2014

 

Amazing transformation, love how it has been set out, lovely place to walk, rest and play in :O) Thank you for a lovely tour with lovely pictures :O) It must have taken you ages and ages to put it together, well done! :O)

7 Jul, 2014

 

That was interesting. I'm glad they didn't just demolish it. It's part of the place's history, and it's nice to see it transformed into a wonderful green space, for the use of the public.

7 Jul, 2014

 

Thank you. Amazing how Nature will return to a space
in a city, given the right compost !

7 Jul, 2014

 

Thank you everybody for your warm reception and encouragement. I am very grateful. This was a story waiting to be told and you know my affinity for trains. I enjoyed working on this blog very much. Dianebulley: That IS amazing and I think we've learned a valuable lesson - to respect nature. Hywel: Thank You! I'm glad you found it interesting. The High Line now serves as an "escape" from the "rat race" a respite. What a lost opportunity if this had been torn down.

Thanks Oliveoil. I really enjoyed working on this project and tried to present it in the most logical way possible - a chronology makes the most sense. It's a story about victory through perseverance.

I share the same sentiments Loosestrife. I often wonder why nobody stepped up to save the original Penn Station which was an engineering marvel. By the way, did you know that the 2nd Avenue Subway is under construction and the Long Island Railroad will be stopping at Grand Central Station - several other improvement projects are under way too. Thanks for your comment. Bellview Hospital is a model institution.

8 Jul, 2014

 

That's news! The inability to complete the long ago started 2nd Ave subway has been one of the legends of the Big Apple.

8 Jul, 2014

 

Thanks for the bit of railway history, Siris OH.

15 Jan, 2015

 

You are welcome.

15 Jan, 2015

amy
Amy
 

I'm astonished I've never seen anything like it before , what amazes me most is that some one had this vision and that it was taken seriously normally that kind of vision gets pushed aside as being to expensive or it wouldn't work ,well I'm very glad it did it's well worth it for encouraging the Swallow tails ... I love the night lights ,Thanks for showing Paul ☺

29 Nov, 2015

 

You're welcome Amy. I'm eager to see how London's "High Line" turns out. Similar parks have already cropped up in other cities. There was a long arduous battle in the courts to finally get approval for it.

29 Nov, 2015

amy
Amy
 

Paul I'm not sure after googling the'London Garden Bridge' project if it will ever be worked on its a project put forward by Joanna Lumley it was planned to be open in 2018 the designs by Thomas Heatherwick show the bridge crossing the River Thames and looks wonderful on paper ,there appears to be a lot of concern about the money side of things being funded from the public purse , Google London Garden Bridge to see what your thoughts on it are ! there's another one which is said to be more inspiring and authentic the Peckham Coal Line project in South London ( on another disused elevated railway line ) dreamt up by local residents as a way of linking up flourishing newly regenerated quarters ,this project is now seeking backers and donations ... Ill be keeping my eyes & ears open as to anything new ....

30 Nov, 2015

 

Thank you Paul - what a brilliant blog. I love the rolling loungers(!) but the imagination and thought behind the construction is truly awe-inspiring. It would be great if our present London Mayor could read this . . . as Amy says, the proposed Garden Bridge would be fantastic, but there are many who are huffing and puffing about the cost.

25 Sep, 2016

 

I was interested in the comment that the transformation would be more than paid for by revenues - where are these coming from - obviously not from charging for entry??

25 Sep, 2016

 

The Highline will cater your wedding reception, art exhibits, all kinds of private parties, concerts, live performances, political speeches, campaigns, graduations, you name it. There is a long waiting list.

25 Sep, 2016

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