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A former elevated railroad line is now a linear park soaring above the Manhattan streets.

arrow From the Spring 2011 issue of the American Trails Magazine.


A trail above the city streets: New York City’s High Line

photo of trail next to railroad

The elevated former railroad line runs on piers between city buildings


A slice of New York history is preserved as a growing linear park on the elevated railroad parallel to 10th Avenue in Manhattan. Part of the 1930s West Side Improvement Project, the High Line was a joint project of the city and state of New York with the New York Central Railroad.

The structures managed to survive until 2005 when the line was finally preserved under the federal railbanking program.

The new High Line has been acclaimed for enhancing the life of the city, while spurring new investment in the West Chelsea neighborhood. Over two million people visited the park during its first year of operation in 2009-10.

The nonprofit Friends of the High Line works with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department to oversee maintenance, operations, and public events for the park facilities and trail.

photo of trail next to railroad

Landscaping and seating make the project more of a linear park than traditional rail trail

The Friends group is also working to raise funding to complete the High Line’s construction and create an endowment for its future operations. The group’s efforts were also critical in getting Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the City Council to reverse the original decision to demolish the railroad structures.

Friends of the High Line also spearheaded the design process for the corridor, and raised $44 million for its transformation to a public park.

Construction on the linear park began in 2006. The first section, from Gansevoort Street to West 20th Street, opened June 9, 2009. The section from West 20th to West 30th was opened in 2011.

photo of people in lounge chairs

The trail creates a whole new experience above the city streets

Total cost for the second phase is $67 million, compared to $86 million for the first phase. The High Line is open daily from 7:00 a.m to 10:00 p.m. with summer hours continuing through the fall.

The April 2011 issue of National Geographic magazine has more photos and some of the history and
politics of New York’s High Line Trail.

The project has also been cited as making a big economic impact on the Chelsea neighborhood. The New York Times reported that even in 2010, "Real estate owners along the first High Line segment, a large chunk of which spans the meatpacking district, said they were already starting to feel the park’s positive effects on real estate values." Read more at "As a Park Runs Above, Deals Stir Below."

For more information:


photo of trail next to railroadphoto of trail next to railroadphoto of man with tall buldingsphoto of trail

More photos of the High Line linerar park by Don Andberg




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