High Line: The Inside Story of New York Citys Park in the Sky by Joshua DavidHow two New Yorkers led the transformation of a derelict elevated railway into a grand—and beloved—open space
The High Line, a new park atop an ele-vated rail structure on Manhattans West Side, is among the most innovative urban reclamation projects in memory. The story of how it came to be is a remarkable one: two young citizens with no prior experience in planning and development collaborated with their neighbors, elected officials, artists, local business owners, and leaders of burgeoning movements in horticulture and landscape architecture to create a park celebrated worldwide as a model for creatively designed, socially vibrant, ecologically sound public space.
Joshua David and Robert Hammond met in 1999 at a community board meeting to consider the fate of the High Line. Built in the 1930s, it carried freight trains to the West Side when the area was defined by factories and warehouses. But when trains were replaced by truck transport, the High Line became obsolete. By centurys end it was a rusty, forbidding ruin. Plants grew between the tracks, giving it a wild and striking beauty.
David and Hammond loved the ruin and saw in it an opportunity to create a new way to experience their city. Over ten years, they did so. In this candid and inspiring book— lavishly illustrated—they tell how they relied on skill, luck, and good timing: a crucial court ruling, an inspiring design contest, the enthusiasm of Mayor Bloomberg, the concern for urban planning issues following 9/11. Now the High Line—a half-mile expanse of plants, paths, staircases, and framed vistas—runs through a transformed West Side and reminds us that extraordinary things are possible when creative people work together for the common good.
The Story Behind the High Line
Earlier last year, the third and final section of the High Line, an elevated park in New York City, opened to the public. Now visitors can ascend the stairs to the park and take an unhurried, uninterrupted stroll on immaculate and landscaped paths. This 1. Many partners in our network have expressed interest in learning more about how the High Line was developed. The following are some key highlights that we hope will inspire other communities to reimagine their own underutilized public spaces to design unique, health-promoting, and vibrant community assets. Beginning that year, the elevated track lay fallow, attracting only weeds and the occasional intrepid trespasser. Imagining a new future.
The High Line is a 1. The abandoned spur has been redesigned as a "living system" drawing from multiple disciplines which include landscape architecture, urban design , and ecology. Since opening in , the High Line has become an icon of contemporary landscape architecture. Most of the viaduct's southern section was demolished in ,  and the section north of 34th Street was demolished and reconfigured in Because of declining usage, the railway viaduct was effectively abandoned in
THE HIGH LINE PARK HISTORY: ELEVATED RAILWAY TIMELINE
Though thoroughly modern at every step, The High Line Park owes its success —and its very existence—to the past. In fact, the elevated train tracks that make up the current day park were originally constructed not only to deliver food to Manhattan, but also to save lives. Prior to the construction of the elevated tracks, trains ran at street level, giving this stretch of Tenth Avenue the dubious nickname of Death Avenue.
Its first section opened in With the completion of its final section in , the High Line extended about 1. The original street-level railroad that covered this area was constructed in the midth century. The elevated line, which opened in , rose to 30 feet 9 metres above street level. According to High Line historians, the last train to operate on the tracks, in , carried three cars loaded with frozen turkeys.
Photograph by Joel Sternfield. The High Line is a public park built on a 1. Previously, the High Line was a freight rail line, in operation from to It carried meat to the meatpacking district, agricultural goods to the factories and warehouses of the industrial West Side, and mail to the Post Office. The High Line is sure to be a popular destination for tourists and New Yorkers alike for years to come.