New Yorker’s will do anything for more green space… and I mean anything. So it’s no surprise that a group of community activists dedicated over 10 years to reclaiming a decades-old abandoned elevated rail line that ran high above the city from 34th Street to Gansevoort Street. Their hard work paid off, with Friends of the High Line finally realizing the dream of turning the once decrepit space into a family-friendly eco-park overlooking the Hudson. The first section of the new High Line park will finally be opening in June.
Officially in active operation since 1999, Friends of the High Line set out to breathe new life into the short-lived existence of the railway tracks constructed over a five-year period from 1929 to 1934. In doing so, they have garnered the support of “nearly all the elected officials representing the High Line neighborhoods, numerous civic organizations, and thousands of preservationists, open-space advocates, design professionals, and civic-minded individuals and businesses from New York and across the United States.”
Since the groundbreaking in 2006, the project has been in the able hands of Field Operations (landscape: London Biennale; Guggenheim Guadalajara) and Diller Scofidio + Renfro (architects: Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; National Museum of African American History). In their hands, the 1.6 mile aerial stretch has been converted from a forgotten land of weeds and waste metal, to a public space featuring modular pathways, ‘slow stairs,’ ‘floating’ floors, Peel-up Benches and an unbelievable abundance of flora selected by Dutch planting designer Piet Oudolf. It’s enough to make even the most jaded New Yorker crack a smile.
Come mid-June, grab a few scrumptious cupcakes at Eleni’s in the Chelsea Market and head for some fun in the sky.