The High Line Is Opening
After ten years of advocacy, planning, and construction, the High Line is opening. Section 1 of the linear park opened on June 9, 2009, offering visitors the chance to preview the park, which is still under construction.
An ambitious rehabilitation project, the High Line is a walkway built on top of what was an abandoned elevated railway line, 10 m above street level. Back in the Great Depression, The City of New York and the State of New York decided to move the New York-Albany railway line from street level to an elevated structure to free up the traffic. After decades of service, mainly bringing cattle and other goods to warehouses in the Meatpacking District, the railway felt in disuse in the early 1980's.
The railroad trestle was saved from demolition thanks to the effort of a group called the Friends of the High Line. What caught the imagination of locals, and ultimately city officials, was the wild garden that had seeded itself atop the structure.
Work began in 2006. After removing the rails, ballast and the concrete layer. the steel structure was cleaned and repaired. Many rail sections were reinstalled in their original position. They are now integrated in the new landscape. The original Art Deco railings have been restaured and lighting added allowing people to use the walkway at night.
The first phase of High Line runs 9 blocks from Gansevoort Street to 20th Street. The second phase will cut through a canyon of buildings to 30th Street and will open in fall 2010. A third and final phase of the High Line, still in the planning stages, involves a half-mile section ringing the railyards north of 30th Street and 12th Avenue.