Those from the New York City/New Jersey area might think I’ve been living under a rock with my next statement. I only recently have finally visited The High Line and slightly less recently learned what it was. Friends or coworkers would mention it conversation, saying how they spent some time there over the weekend. I would just nod my head, smile, and pretend to know what they were talking about. You’d think after a mention or two I’d resort to the internet to figure out what it was. Nope, finally after, like, the tenth time someone talked about it, I asked what it was. Turns out, it’s a park.
The High Line was originally built in the 1930’s as a raised train rail for freight trains creating safer streets for the Manhattan Industrial district. Before this, there were so many accidents between freight trains and street traffic that 10th was dubbed “Death Avenue.” It was built as part of the West Side Improvement project which was 13 miles long, eliminated 105 street-level railroad crossings, and cost the equivalent to more than $2 billion in today’s standards. It was “designed to go through the center of blocks, rather than over the avenue, to avoid creating the negative conditions associated with elevated subways. It connects directly to factories and warehouses, allowing trains to roll right inside buildings. Milk, meat, produce, and raw and manufactured goods come and go without causing street-level traffic.” Eventually over time as interstate truck traffic increased, the traffic on The High Decreased. The last train pulled its final cargo in 1980 and was closed after that point. Long story short, after many different threats of being demolished over the years, The High Line was “born again”, with salvation from many sources, with a new use as an elevated park.
Reopened officially in 2009, the project is not yet complete yet, but currently runs about a mile or so long. Filled flowers and grasses, and interesting, unexpected views from many vantage points, the High Line provides a sunny sanctuary from the busy New York Streets. Different from any normal park I’ve been to, I was happy to finally experience it. On a hot 90 degree Friday in July, my friends and I decided to see what it was all about. While crowded and wishing we had spent more time to enjoy the scenery, I was happy to finally make it there.
It is a masterpiece of modern revitalization and is a perfect excuse to show off my experience of for the Weekly Photo Challenge – Masterpiece.