New York City takes urban renewal to a new height.
Aim for the The High Line in Lower West Side Manhattan and be overawed. This 2.33km linear park built on the southern portion of the disused elevated rail line, known as the West Side Line, is nothing short of amazing.
The elevated railway was originally built in 1934 with the purpose of removing dangerous train traffic off busy New York City Streets, but interstate trucking in the 1950s led to a drop in rail traffic and sections of the line were demolished and, by 1980, fell into disuse.
The Friends of The High Line was formed in 1999 by a resident group drawing from the neighbourhoods that the line ran through. The group advocated for its preservation and reuse as a public space. By 2009 the first section was opened for public use. Further sections were regenerated with one remaining section to be opened in 2017.
Inspired by a similar project in Paris, The High Line has been planted as an aerial greenway. The garden’s designer, Piet Oudolf, cleverly included the self-seeded landscape that grew on the tracks during the 25 years when they were not utilised.
The design characteristics take into account the four seasons, with species of perennials, grasses, shrubs and trees, specifically chosen for sustainability, texture and color variation. The result is spectacular!
And then there are the views and fascinating vistas of the old and the new regeneration of Chelsea, the Meatpacking District and further out to the Hudson River and the Statue of Liberty. A stroll along here is a real joy. Rest in a deck chair, admire an art piece or enjoy a water feature.
The kids have been well catered for by transforming the original framework of steal beams and girders to create a series of safe sunken areas for play.
You can pause for a bite to eat, enjoy the great and varied art works, picnic on the lawn (yes, there is actually a lawn), or rest your legs on the seating steps. There is always an event or special happening to keep everyone entertained. They’ve gone to extraordinary lengths here.
Attracting 5 million visitors annually says it all. Go if you can, it’s jaw dropping.
Check it out for further great photos and information here.