Jeff Koons may want to hang a train over the High Line, but the park’s creators, Friends of the High Line, have decided to put a train back on the High Line in order to keep up with the park’s extreme popularity. Because of the park’s growing crowds every summer, which are anticipated to double when the final section is complete, the architects and engineers have decided it is time to put a people-mover style tram on the High Line to help pedestrians get from one side of the High Line to the other. While the original rails will still be daintily planted with wildflowers and grasses, a high-speed levitating train line will be built alongside the park to transport tired and crowd-weary tourists the 1.3-miles, end to end.
The success of the High Line has brought a boom in business on the West Side, bringing with it a barrage of people. The A/C/E train line is a full three avenue blocks away from the High Line on 8th Avenue, and the streets below the High Line are becoming clogged with pedestrians. Additionally, many tourists and locals have complained that the park itself is becoming congested, with slow tourists disrupting the fast-pace of New Yorkers.
“Many people just meander down the whole length of the park,” says Lisa Green, a New Yorker who likes to walk the High Line to get to work. “It’s like, come on! I know that the park is pretty, but do you really need to walk in large hordes and stop and take photos every five feet? I think the new train will be a fantastic addition – you’ll be able to still see the park, but avoid the slow-poke tourists at the same time.”
Similarly, tourists to New York City have complained that the High Line is too long and too arduous to walk without some assistance. Fran Nelson, a visitor to New York City’s High Line from Florida had this to say: “This High Line park is beautiful, but why did they have to make it so long? I wish there was some easier way to get from one end of it to another. I also wish there were more benches and more places to get food up here – a McDonalds would be nice.”
In a somewhat shocking turn of events, the Community Board unanimously voted in favor of the train, which also won the endorsement of Mayor Bloomberg: “This modern train will make the world’s most popular park just that much more popular, while bringing New York City one step closer to a sustainable, green future.”