Residents of the neighborhood banded together in 1999 to join Friends of the High Line to fight to save the landmark from being destroyed. The nonprofit conservancy is now responsible for collaborating with NYC Parks to ensure that the High Line continues to be an amazing public area.
Friends of the High Line not only manages the park’s management, maintenance, and public programming but also raises public and private funding for these activities.
The History of the High Line
Midway through the 1800s, Manhattan’s 10th and 11th Avenues were lined with railroad tracks that brought coal, dairy goods, and meat to the West Side for further processing and distribution.
Men on horseback went ahead of the trains, waving flags to alert observers, but the passageway was dangerous. There had been an estimated 548 deaths and 1,574 injuries on the 11th Avenue line by 1910. Raise the track level; that’s the correct solution!
From St. John’s Park to Spring Street, the High Line viaduct saw its first train in 1933. However, by the 1950s, the market for freight trains had been severely impacted by the tremendous expansion in interstate transportation.
By 1978, only two freight cars per week were using the High Line. Conrail, the High Line’s owner, had to cut it off from the national rail system two years later due to the building of the Javits Convention Center on 34th Street. After that, the railway was abandoned and allowed to fall into ruin, although its underlying riveted steel framework held up fine.
In 1999, locals living near the High Line began lobbying for the city to preserve and reuse the High Line as an urban park, taking inspiration from Paris’ Promenade Plantée, a tree-lined path following an old, elevated train line.
Construction on the project of building the park began in 2006, and the first phase opened in 2009. The last, third phase opened in 2014, and this year will see the opening of a short offshoot above 10th Avenue and 30th Street.
The High Line has evolved into a renowned park in the heart of New York. With over 5 million yearly visits, this 1.45-mile elevated greenway has served as an example for other communities around the United States looking to transform aging infrastructure into more aesthetically pleasing public spaces.
The unique design of the High Line
The High Line’s surface is digitally divided into pavement and planting units and built along its 1.5 miles into a variety of gradients, from 100% paving to 100% soft, thickly planted biotopes, using an agri-tecture approach (a combination of agriculture and architecture).
The walkway is made of individual pre-cast concrete planks with open seams to promote emergent growth like wild grass. The tapering ends of the long pavement pieces blend into the planting beds, making for a varied and “pathless” environment through which visitors can wander around free.
Reclaiming underutilized public space, recycling old infrastructure, and preserving resources are just a few of the social concerns that the design attempts to tackle. Everything from the natural to the refined, the personal to the public, may be found at the park.
Highlights and attractions of the High Line
The High Line is, first and foremost, a park, complete with verdant spaces, playgrounds, tai chi sessions, exercisers, spectators, and all the rest. There are additional walking tours available for anyone interested in learning more about the High Line’s history, architecture, gardening, and public art.
Live performances of music and dance are also available, either to observe or to join in. The High Line is claimed to be haunted by the spirits of individuals who died there before the railway rails were elevated, especially around Halloween. But these ghosts are kind, and they have planned a day full of activities for the whole family, including face painting and scary live performances.
The High Line has quickly grown into one of the most popular parks in New York City. One of the many functions of the High Line is as a garden. During the warmer months, you may relax in the company of stunning gardens brimming with exotic plants and flowers.
The High Line, like the rest of Manhattan’s parks, serves as a green space for locals and tourists alike. It’s a celebration of history and a model for how to keep the past alive and relevant in the present.
You might be asking, as a tourist strolling the High Line, what else there is to do in the area. Fortunately, there are many sights and activities to enjoy along the High Line. The Hudson Yards development, which includes the Vessel, the Edge, and a number of retail outlets, is a major tourist draw in the park’s nearby area.
The Vessel at Hudson Yards, which towers over the city, is a popular destination for tourists. The sculpture itself, the cityscape, and the Hudson River are all works of art that may be appreciated from the top of this honeycomb-style building.
Edge is just as impressive as the Vessel itself. This part of Hudson Yards makes it feel like you’re standing on the very edge of Manhattan, looking out over the cityscape. You’ll feel like you’re standing on the edge of the world, thanks to all the windows around you. There are also many places to eat and shop in Hudson Yards.
How to get to the High Line?
The High Line’s convenient location near many subway lines and stops makes it a popular destination. Take the A/C/E or L to 14th Street and Eighth Avenue to begin at the park’s base; take the A/C/E or 1/2/3 to Penn Station or the 7 to 34th Street-Hudson Yards to begin at the park’s summit.
There are additional stops made by the C/E and 1/2/3 trains in between. Tenth Avenue is well-served by bike racks and Citi Bike docking stations every few blocks. (However, you shouldn’t ride your bike inside the park property, as it, along with dogs, is strictly prohibited.)