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New York City High Line Park Information And History

Updated on December 27, 2017
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New York City’s High Line Park

New York City’s High Line Park was built on an abandoned elevated freight railroad line that runs along the far west side of lower Manhattan from West 30th Street to just below West 12th Street, offering incredible elevated views of the city’s urban landscape. The initial southern section of the park, from Gansevoort Street to West 20th Street, opened to the public on June 8, 2009.

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on June 7, 2011 that marked the opening a second section (northern section) of the park from West 20th Street to West 30th Street. The park is the realization of local resident’s vision of turning a dilapidated elevated railroad into an urban greenway. The opening of the second section of the High Line Park brings the park organizers and designers closer to fulfilling their vision. One section remains to be opened at the far northern end of the park, but will have to await redevelopment of the area in which the final segment of the park is proposed.

Aerial View of New York City’s High Line Park


New York City’s High Line Park - Local Resident's Vision Turns Into Popular Urban Park

New York City’s High Line Park is a city park that was built on a 1.45-mile section of a former elevated freight railroad, known as the West Side Line, that served the formerly bustling manufacturing and meat packing industries that were located in Manhattan’s lower west side. After the last freight train ran along the West Side Line in 1980, the elevated rail line, informally known by local residents as the “High Line”, lay abandoned for decades. It was left to rust and grow weeds until a non-profit group called Friends of the High Line, which now runs the park that took its name, turned things around.

In 1999, Friends of the High Line was formed by local residents Joshua David and Robert Hammond. They formed the group to lobby for the preservation of the High Line and its reuse as a public park or open space. Their initial efforts resulted in broadened community support for redevelopment of the High Line for pedestrian use, and funding was allocated by New York City in 2004 to move forward with the idea of turning the abandoned rail line into a public park or open space. The vision of Mr. David and Mr. Hammond was realized when New York City’s High Line Park was opened as a New York City park on June 8, 2009. New York City owns the property and invested $112.2 million of the $153 million cost to build the park, with the remaining amount coming from private donations to Friends of the High Line.

New York City’s High Line Park Revitalizes Neighborhoods

While the impact that New York City’s High Line Park has had on the lower west side Manhattan communities in which it is located is difficult to measure, it appears that overall the park has been a positive force for redevelopment and economic activity. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg stated that the park has generated $2 billion in private investment in the communities that host the park. The park has also brought hundreds of thousands of residents and tourists each year into areas of the lower west side Manhattan that until recently were shunned, which has been a boon to local businesses, and has even lead to the opening of new businesses to cater to visitors to the park.

New York City’s High Line Park is an elevated urban rail trail that overlooks the Meatpacking District and the neighborhood of Chelsea on Manhattan’s lower west side. The park offers spectacular views of both the Hudson River and portions of the Manhattan skyline. The creators of the park designed it to contain a great deal of vegetation along either side of a broad walkway, using wild plants that had colonized the abandoned railway, which gives the park the appearance of an urban garden.

At its northern end, the park currently terminates at West 30th Street, near Pennsylvania Station (Penn Station), just south of the West Side Yard (passenger train rail storage area). At its southern end, the park currently terminates at Gansevoort Street, near the western part of Greenwich Village. Further extension south is not likely because the southern section of the West Side Line was torn down in the 1960s. There are plans to extend the park further north along an abandoned section of elevated track that runs west along West 30th Street, and then turns north along 12th Avenue to West 34th Street, just south of the Jacob Javits Convention Center. Plans for the northern extension are in limbo, as Friends of the High Line wait to see what happens to the redevelopment plans that are in the works for West Side Yard, and whether a High Line Park extension can be accommodated in the redevelopment plans.

In a city that desperately needs open space for its millions of residents and visitors, New York City’s High Line Parkis a breath of fresh air. It not only serves as an urban park, but it also offers incredible elevated views of the west side of Manhattan. The park is a good example of how a community eyesore can be turned into a community asset.

New York City’s High Line Park at 20th Street


Northern Segment of The High Line Park Is Open

The third and final section of the the High Line Park, Known as the High Line at the Rail Yards, opened in September 2014. This final section runs along the west side of the Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project to a northern terminus at 11th Avenue and 34th Street. The northern section of the park is built along the route of the abandoned elevated railway and is integrated with the Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project to provide a seamless path through the development to the existing sections of the The High Line Park.

The High Line Park Map With Northern Section

This map shows the northern segment of The High Line Park , which bows west towards the Hudson River, then curves in at 34th Street to a terminus at 11th Avenue
This map shows the northern segment of The High Line Park , which bows west towards the Hudson River, then curves in at 34th Street to a terminus at 11th Avenue | Source

High Line: abandoned NYC rail becomes skinny park in the sky

© 2011 John Coviello


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    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      10 months ago

      Thank you for the tourist information. Hopefully it will stay in good repair.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Wow! New York City is the largest city here in the United States, and needs that park. It looks fantastic!

    • chrissieklinger profile image


      7 years ago from Pennsylvania

      I can't wait to check this out in March, thanks!

    • JanuaryFry profile image


      9 years ago from Illinois

      Very informative, voted up and useful.


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