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High Line Park

High Line Park is one of the newest and most unusual parks in New York City. It is a wonderful example of how you can recycle industrial urban detritus into a useful community resource. It is the narrowest park in New York City.

High Line Park is constructed on the reclaimed elevated road of an abandoned freight railroad on the West Side of Manhattan. It is nearly three kilometers long and averages just twenty meters wide. High Line is located ten meters above street level between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues stretching from Gansevoort Street in the south of Midtown, all the way up to 30th Street.

High Line Park walkway through West Side of New York City © Mike Leco / USATourist.com
Visitors walk down the vegetation lined path beside large industrial buildings.

History of the High Line

The High Line Railroad was constructed as an above-street-level railway in 1929 to carry freight between the many businesses and warehouses on the lower West Side of Manhattan. In 1960, the southernmost section of the railway was demolished. By 1980, the entire rail line fell into disuse, and many local residents and property owners petitioned the city government for the demolition of the unsightly structure. In 2002, a group of concerned neighborhood activists, which became known as the "Friends of the High Line", argued to convert this elevated railway into an urban park.

In 2006, construction began on this new elevated urban park. The first section was opened to the public in 2009, and the northern section was opened in 2011.

Interesting variety

The designers and architects have done a magnificent job of creating an interesting and varied environment that stretches like a riparian oasis through the urban neighborhoods of the West Side of Manhattan. The narrow passage is planted with a multitude of vegetation that includes trees, shrubs, grasses, flowers and plants of many varieties. Parts of it have the appearance of a well manicured park with lawns and neatly trimmed shrubs. Other parts resemble woodland glades with shaded benches. Parts of it preserve the old rails and wooden ties like an antique shadow of its past. The park has secluded nooks, multilevel decks, art installations and areas to congregate.

On a sunny afternoon, you are likely to see joggers and walkers, women pushing baby strollers, businessmen on cell phones, office workers with brown-bag lunches and plenty of local residents and tourists. As you walk this elevated path of vegetation amid the high-rise buildings, you catch glimpses of the traffic and city life below. Eventually, kiosks, elevated cafes and restaurants will likely open along its path.

Sculpture by Sarah Sze in Highline Park © Mike Leco / USATourist.com
The sculpture "STILL LIFE WITH LANDSCAPE (MODEL FOR A HABITAT)" by Sarah Sze greets visitors along the walking path.

Access to High Line Park

Access to High Line Park is via stairways located every two blocks between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues from Gansevoort Street to 30th Street on the West Side of Manhattan. There are elevators at 14th, 16th, 23rd and 30th Streets. The entire length of the park is wheelchair accessible.

High Line Park is open from 7AM until 10PM daily. Dogs are not permitted on the park, neither are bicycles, rollerblades or skateboards. It is a smoke free environment.

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Written by: Mike Leco
Top Photo Credit: © Mike Leco / USATourist.com
Photo Description: The gentle curve of the walking path showcases that High Line park was once a railway.
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