NYC Design Safari

The High Line

Posted on November 10, 2021 | posted by: alira081

Today The High Line in New York City is a 1.45 mile long elevated park, located in Chelsea. The idea was to transform an underutilized space into an innovative, creative, community asset. A space that could bring people together, promote well-being, support the arts and small businesses, while blooming the connection between urban and historical environments. 

Originally freight trains ran at the street level transporting goods throughout lower Manhattan, however, this transportation movement killed hundreds of people, so in the 1920’s the decision was made to elevate the tracks. In 1933 meat, dairy, and produce ran even through buildings between 33rd street and 14th street. With the development of trucks in the 1960s, the high line’s train usage declined and faced demolition in the 1980s. 

This was all turned around in 1999 with the development of the group: Friends of the High Line, which was created by residents of the area. They got inspired by The Promenade Plantée in Paris and proposed to turn this almost abandoned area into a park. Interestingly, when trains stopped running over 210 different plants started naturally growing around the railways. After gaining authorization, holding a competition for the design, obtaining funding, the construction of the High Line we know today began in 2006. Around the same time, the surrounding neighborhoods started developing too. The West Chelsea neighborhood sought new developments, economic opportunities, the creation of art galleries, and the support of affordable housing. 

Today The High Line has been visited by thousands of tourists, it is a beautiful public space for New Yorkers to promenade, engage in public programs such as with artwork and performances, and enjoy everything the neighborhood of Chelsea has to offer.