High Line is a park constructed on the old railway system that ran above New York’s meatpacking district. Originally, all the freight trains carrying meat and dairy ran along Manhattan’s West Side but because of the high incidence of deaths in certain areas, it became known as death alley. The city’s solution to this was to move the railway lines above the streets.
By the 1980s these railway lines were no longer relevant and they were slated for demolition until a group of activists lobbied to save the lines and possibly convert them into park space. It took decades, but the push was eventually successful.
I’ve been to High Line Park many times before but it always seemed rather unfinished and barren; I suspect that this is because my sojourns to the city were never in the summer when the park flourishes. Plus, my local friends refer to it as “the other meat market” in reference to the Park’s location in the meatpacking district and an abundance to topless sunbathers that frequent the park… so it didn’t seem too appealing.
Imagine my surprise when friends insisted that we head over to this “new and exciting” park that everyone is talking about in various blogs. I think that all my previous visits were when the first section of the park was open between Gansevoort Street to West 20th Street because I remember it being rather small and empty.
The second segment opened in June 2011 (between West 20th and West 30th Streets) and there have been numerous additions including art, grass, tons of seating, a market area, and a healthy dose of people. The last bit is an understatement because during this particular visit it was PACKED and wandering from end to end took roughly an hour.
Construction on a third segment (the High Line at the Rail Yards) began in 2012 and phase one is slated for opening in 2014.