The green side of NYC: the high line park

Escape the frenetic, pedestrian-packed pavements of Manhattan’s West Side by visiting a park in the sky. The first section of this public park opened in June 2009 and once all sections are complete, the High Line will be a mile-and-a-half-long elevated park with beautiful plants, LED lighting and seating. It will run from the Meatpacking District through the West Side neighbourhoods of West Chelsea and Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen up to 34th Street, offering splendid views of the Hudson River and the city skyline along the way.


The park is open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the winter, 10 p.m. in the spring and fall, and 11 p.m. in the summer, except for the Interim Walkway west of 11th Avenue, which is open until dusk. It can be reached through eleven entrances, six of which are accessible to people with disabilities.


The park’s attractions include naturalized plantings that are inspired by the landscape that grew on the disused tracks, and views of the city and the Hudson River. The trail is made of pebble-dash concrete walkways that swells and constricts, swings from side to side, and divides into concrete tines that meld the hardscape with the planting embedded in railroad gravel mulch. Stretches of track and ties recall the High Line’s former use. Portions of track are adaptively re-used for rolling lounges positioned for river views. Most of the planting, which includes 210 species, is of rugged meadow plants.


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In 1999, the nonprofit Friends of the High Line was formed by Joshua David and Robert Hammond, residents of the neighbourhood that the line ran through. They advocated for the line’s preservation and reuse as public open space, so that it would become an elevated park or greenway. Mayor Bloomberg noted that the High Line project has helped usher in something of a renaissance in the neighborhood: by 2009, more than 30 projects were planned or under construction nearby. The park to host temporary installations and performances of various kinds.