The High Line

The High Line is one of New York’s most unique parks. It’s an elevated park that runs along a former freight rail line. I missed its opening by a matter of weeks on my last visit to New York, and it was the park I was most excited to see on this visit to New York.

The original rail line was first built at street level, back in the 1850s, but as traffic increased, so did the number of accidents between street traffic and trains. It was made elevated in the 1930s to improve safety, and ran right through factories and warehouses to allow for easy delivery of the freight.

Rail traffic dropped after the 1950s, and stopped altogether in 1980. Part of the line was demolished.

In 1999, Friends of the High Line was formed. The non-profit organization worked to prevent the demolition of the rest of the line and to turn it into a park. The first section opened in 2009.

The High Line runs between 10th and 11th avenues from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District, past Chelsea, up to West 30th Street, with stair and elevator access at various intervals.

There are plenty of places to sit.

And lots of interesting vegetation, including many species that grew naturally along the rail line before its transformation into a park.

I spent two days exploring the High Line — one afternoon my friend and I met at the bottom end and worked our way north, and the second afternoon I started at the top end and walked to where we left off the previous time. And then we went back a third time to see it lit up at night. I know I will be back to visit next time I’m in New York.

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