United States

High Line




Now one of the top visitor attractions in New York City, the 1.5-mile-long public park began its life in 1929 when the elevated High Line rail line was built as part of the West Side Improvement Project, giving freight trains access to the upper-floor loading docks of warehouses, factories and storage facilities in Manhattan.  In the 1950s, the growth of the interstate highway system and resultant trucking industry led to a decrease in rail traffic, and the trains stopped in 1980.  In 1999 residents of the neighborhood formed Friends of the High Line to lobby for its preservation.  An open competition was held, a landscape architecture firm chosen, and the land was donated to the city.


The design of the park was inspired by the plants that grew along the rail line during the 25 years after the trains stopped running.  Half of the 350 species of grasses, trees, vines and shrubs are native to the area, and where possible, materials are sourced from within a 100-mile radius.  In various spots along the park the railroad tracks have been placed in their original locations, meshed with the plants, and the design of the foliage offers different blooms, colors and textures every week of the year.


The High Line extends through three Manhattan neighborhoods:  The Meatpacking District, West Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen.  The creation of the park has led to the development of what was once an industrial area into art galleries, design studios, restaurants, museums, stores and condos.  Every year, over 450 public programs and activities are run in the High Line, from art exhibitions to sustainable food vendors, children’s activities, and historical tours.


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