Posted on | May 5, 2012

The High Line was built in the 1930s, as part of a massive public-private infrastructure project called the West Side Improvement. It lifted freight traffic 30 feet in the air, removing dangerous trains from the streets of Manhattan’s largest industrial district.

No trains have run on the High Line since 1980. In 1999, the non-profit Friends of the High Line was formed by Joshua David and Robert Hammond, residents of the neighborhood the High Line ran through. They advocated for the Line’s preservation and reuse as public open space, an elevated park or aerial greenway, similar to the Promenade Plantée in Paris. Broadened community support of public redevelopment for the High Line for pedestrian use grew, and in 2004, the NYCgovernment committed $50 million to establish the proposed park.

It costs substantially less to redevelop an abandoned urban rail line into a linear park than to demolish it, James Corner, one of its designers, said, “The High Line is not easily replicable in other cities,” observing that building a “cool park” requires a “framework” of neighborhoods around it in order to succeed.




The High Line design is a collaboration between James Corner Field Operations (Project Lead), Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and planting designer Piet Oudolf.

The High Line is located on Manhattan’s West Side. It runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th & 11th Avenues. Section 1 of the High Line, which opened to the public on June 9, 2009, runs from Gansevoort Street to West 20th Street. Section 2, between West 20th and West 30th Streets, opened June 8, 2011. The High Line’s final stretch wraps around the West Side Rail Yards, an active site used by the Long Island Rail Road, bounded by West 30th and West 34th Streets to the south and north, and 10th and 12th Avenues to the east and west. CSX has donated this section to the City of New York, just as it did for the elevated rail structure south of West 30th Street.