High Line Park



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The High Line Park is a 1.45-mile (2.33 km) New York City park built on a section of the former elevated freight 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. The High Line Park currently runs from Gansevoort Street, one block below West 12th Street, in the Meatpacking District, up to 20th Street, and will eventually run through the neighborhood of Chelsea to the West Side Yard, near the Javits Convention Center.
The recycling of the railway into an urban park has spurred development along the High Line Park.

In 1847, the City of New York authorized street-level railroad tracks down Manhattan’s West Side. For safety, the railroads hired men – the "West Side Cowboys" – to ride horses and wave flags in front of the trains. Yet so many accidents occurred between freight trains and other traffic that 10th Avenue became known as "Death Avenue".
After years of public debate about the hazard, in 1929 the city and the state of New York and the New York Central Railroad agreed on the West Side Improvement Project, which included the High Line Park. The 13-mile (21 km) project eliminated 105 street-level railroad crossings and added 32 acres (130,000 m2) to Riverside Park. It cost over $150 million, about $2 billion in 2009 dollars.
The High Line Park opened to trains in 1934. It originally ran from 34th Street to St. John's Park Terminal, at Spring Street. It was designed to go through the center of blocks, rather than over the avenue, to avoid the drawbacks of elevated subways. It connected directly to factories and warehouses, allowing trains to roll right inside buildings. Milk, meat, produce, and raw and manufactured goods could be transported and unloaded without disturbing traffic on the streets. This also reduced pilferage for the Bell Laboratories Building, now the Westbeth Artists Community, and the Nabisco plant, now Chelsea Market, which were served from protected sidings within the structures.
The growth of interstate trucking in the 1950s led to a drop in rail traffic throughout the nation. In the 1960s, the southernmost section of the line was demolished. This section started at Gansevoort Street and ran down Washington Street as far as Clarkson Street, representing almost half of the line. The last train ran in 1980 with three carloads of frozen turkeys.
In the mid-1980s, a group of property owners with land under the line lobbied for the demolition of the entire structure. Peter Obletz, a Chelsea resident, activist, and railroad enthusiast, challenged the demolition efforts in court and tried to re-establish rail service on the Line. In the 1990s, as the line lay unused, it became known to a few urban explorers and local residents for the tough, drought-tolerant wild grasses, shrubs, and trees that had sprung up in the gravel along the abandoned railway.
In 1999, the non-profit Friends of the High Line Park was formed by Joshua David and Robert Hammond, residents of the neighborhood the High Line Parke ran through. They advocated for the Line's preservation and reuse as public open space. Broadened community support of public redevelopment for the High Line Parkfor pedestrian use grew, and city funding was allocated in 2004. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speakers Gifford Miller and Christine C. Quinn were important supporters. The southernmost section, from Gansevoort Street to 20th Street, opened as a city park on June 8, 2009. The middle section is still being refurbished, while the northernmost section's future remains uncertain, depending on a development project currently underway at the Hudson Yards.

High Line Park Museum site:
The Dia Art Foundation considered but rejected a proposal to build a museum at the Gansevoort Street terminus. The Whitney Museum plans to build on the site, with a design by Renzo Piano, rather than its initial plan of expanding its existing building by Marcel Breuer uptown.
High Line Park in popular culture:
The High Line Park is discussed in Alan Weisman's The World Without Us as an example of the reappearance of the wild in an abandoned area.
Some chase scenes in the 2007 movie I am Legend were filmed under the High Line Park and in the Meatpacking District.
In Walking the High Line photographer Joel Sternfeld documented the dilapidated conditions and the natural flora of the High Line Park between 2000 and 2001. The book also contains essays by Adam Gopnik and John R. Stilgoe.