When it opened in 1934, the High Line was a major infrastructure project. It was built for freight trains coming into New York, and got rid of hazardous at-grade intersections at a cost of $2 billion in today’s dollars. The tracks actually were built through warehouses and factories so that trains could be directly unloaded into their destination. In the 1950s, however, rail traffic began to decline. The southern half was demolished, and the last train ran in 1980. The question became what to do with the unused tracks? Developers wanted it demolished so they could build there. Others wanted it restored to use. The question remained unanswered until 2004, when Mayor Michael Bloomberg approved the High Line’s restoration into a public park.
The first phase opened in 2009 and is about ten blocks long. High Line Park has quickly become a popular destination for New Yorkers. The views of Manhattan are spectacular, so bring along your camera. The new buildings and streetscapes built around the park have integrated it into their design to wonderful effect. It also houses various art exhibitions.
Because of its small size, only a limited number of people can be in the park at the same time, so at peak hours be prepared for a queue. While you’re here, be sure to check out the surrounding neighborhood. The Meatpacking District has an eclectic collection of shops and restaurants, highlighted by the Chelsea Market.
Hours: Daily 07:00-22:00; 07:00-20:00 in winter