New York City’s High Line

Railroads started building tracks and spreading across the  eastern states in the mid 1830s and by the 1850s there was a massive train yard in Manhattan just east of the Hudson River between 30th and 43rd Streets. The island was criss-crossed with railroad tracks at the ground level and even with a rider on a horse warning pedestrian about approaching trains, accidents happened.

Finally, the industrial spur lines feeding the industries south of the rail yards were raised high above street level.  The High Line continued to provide train service into the 1950s, until many industries left Manhattan and trucking started to replace rail service for those that remained.  The elevated track system sat idle and slowly began to decay

The Hudson Rail Yard was the area under consideration if New York had won the Olympics for Summer 2012, but once that was lost, new concepts for redevelopment began to be considered. The High  Line was  planned for demolition.

Strong advocates pushed for turning the High Line into a linear park and the first of three segments was opened in 2009. The second segment which runs north to 34th Street opened in June 2011. A third section remains to be renovated.

It is a narrow curving park, following the tracks that serviced former industrial buildings. A team of landscapers keep the naturalized plants and flowers in peak health.

Evidence of the tracks remains to remind walkers of the history of the trail.  Seating areas in several areas provide gathering places as well as locations for movies and musical performances.

Formerly a predominantly industrial neighborhood, this area of the West Side also provided lower income housing. Now, however, there has been considerable investment in the area with people like designer Diane Von Furstenburg establishing offices.  New construction of office and residential towers has prompted the City to plan to extend one of the cross-town subway lines and discussion has started about construction of a new north-south subway along the west side once the economy improves.

New York, not only the City That Never Sleeps, but one that continually reinvents itself.

This entry was posted in Architecture, Green, Historic Interest, New York, Spotlight, Travel, Urban and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to New York City’s High Line

  1. simonandfinn says:

    Very nice post and historical context. :o)

  2. I have the opportunity to walk along the High Line and a few other sections of New York with a personal guide. I will talk about Laurence in another post and how having a personal guide can be so beneficial.

  3. Gunta says:

    Very interesting highlights. It’s always nice to have an expert along. 😉

  4. I need to tell you about the guide!

Comments are closed.