High Line, Lower Manhattan
A new public park set on a disused railroad route in New York, USA
(©urban75, December 2010/June 2011)
Offering a 1.45-mile (2.33 km) walk along the lower west side of Manhattan, the High Line is a New York City park built along a disused elevated freight railroad spur.
Redesigned and planted as an 'aerial greenway,' the High Line Park currently runs from Gansevoort Street, one block below West 12th Street (in the Meatpacking District) up to W30th Street.
It is hoped that the park will eventually expand northwards to the West Side Yard.
(Pic courtesy of FOHL website)
Opening to trains in 1934, The High Line originally ran from 34th Street to St. John's Park Terminal, at Spring Street, with the route going straight through the middle of several buildings!
The elevated railroad allowed the transportation of milk, meat, produce, and raw and manufactured goods without disturbing traffic on the streets, although the growth of interstate trucking in the 1950s led to a national drop in rail traffic.
The southernmost section of the line - running from Gansevoort Street to Clarkson Street - was demolished in the 1960s, with the last train on the remaining section running in 1980.
Its final cargo was rather undignified, with the last train pulling three carloads of frozen turkeys.
Predictably, property developers were soon encircling the land, keen to demolish the remaining structures and destroy a fascinating part of New York's history.
Thankfully local resident, activist, and railroad enthusiast Peter Obletz was having none of it, and lobbied hard for the line to reopen. With the line's future uncertain, nature started to reclaim the site until the non-profit Friends of the High Line were formed in 1999.
Led by Joshua David and Robert Hammond, a campaign started to to preserve the line's structures and create a new public open space.
On June 8th, 2009, the southernmost section, from Gansevoort Street to 20th Street, opened as a city park, with the middle section running between West 20th and West 30th Streets opening on June 12th, 2011.
The last segment to be restored is the loop around the Hudson Yards. This segment is still owned by the railroad freight company CSX and the area has been in dispute for years, with various development plans coming and going.
So, here's some photos from our walk along the line....
There's public art situated along the route.
This work, by Brit artist Richard Galpin, takes the form of a 'viewing station' that functions in a manner similar to his 'cut' photographs, as the High Line website explains:
"Park visitors could look through a viewing apparatus lined up with a metal screen from which geometric shapes have been cut. The combination of these two devices gave visitors an altered, abstracted view from the High Line."
View showing where the railroad line used to slice through the side of a building.
Abandoned railroad spur.
A lot of the original track has been left in situ.
View from the High Line.
Picnic area looking over the Hudson River.
These large wooden chairs can slide along the old rails.
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