One of the most popular attractions in New York for tourists and locals alike, is the High Line, a public walkway that meanders high above the streets on the western side of the city.
This elevated railway track was built in the early thirty’s to take the dangerous freight trains away from the streets. The track was left in ruin after the last train stopped in 1980. It had been slated for demolition but in 1999, a group known as the ‘Friends of the High Line’ was formed and have fought tirelessly to retain it as public open space.
In June 2009, their dream became a reality with the opening of the first section between Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking district and W20th St. June 2011 saw the opening of the second stage from 20th Street to 30th Street and just recently approval has been give for the final stage from 30th Street to 34th Street to go ahead.
We started our walk at the northern end of the High Line at 30th Street where you can see the remaining part of the track that is soon to be converted.
The walkway passes between apartment and office buildings with great views to be seen between the buildings.
Sitting areas have been thoughtfully included. This is part of a raised walkway, known as the Falcone flyover. A ‘window’ on the right overlooks 26th Street.
Restoration of the line has helped properties in the area with many being redeveloped and new ones built such as the HL 23 building seen in the photo below. In this area known as the Chelsea Thicket, trees and flowers have been planted quite densely.
On the other side of the HL23 building, a street lawn has been added. Another clever idea!
A lot of thought has gone into the landscape design with paving following the line of the tracks and teak benches designed in keeping with area. Drought resistant shrubs, wildflowers and grasses have been planted in between the tracks and paving. Flowers attract the birds and provide an ever changing look to the park.
As the tracks curve towards the Hudson River, the view opens out.
Tree groves have been planted along the walk offering shade for those hot New York days.
Here, a new perspective on Frank Gehry’s IAC building at 8 Spruce Street can be seen. To the right and behind this is Jean Nouvel’s apartment tower in Eleventh Avenue.
At 10th Avenue and 17th Street, an innovative touch has been added in the form of an urban theatre….a window where you can sit and watch the world go by.
Further along at 10th Avenue and W15th Street, the W Hotel in Hoboken can be seen on the other side of the Hudson River.
The National Biscuit Building was an important complex in this area. Buildings were spread over two blocks with pedestrian walkways joining them. At W15th street, these can also be seen from the High Line. The main building is now the Chelsea Market, a retail complex of food orientated shops and restaurants.
New Yorker’s are proud of the High Line and rightly so. Don’t miss it!
The map below shows where you can access the High Line.
For more information see The High Line web site