One of my favorite parks to visit in the city is the High Line Park in the chic Meatpacking neighborhood, made internationally famous by Sex and the City, art galleries, couture shops, exclusive clubs and swanky restaurants. (I used the word swanky, hilarious! )
The Meatpacking district is named because in New York during the 1800’s the state’s produce was processed here, the now renovated factories received meat, and produce in this area and it was then distributed to butcher shops and markets. This is also the neighborhood where Nabisco and the Oreo cookie (sorry Hydrox are better) got its start but that’s for another post.
The High Line was a railroad route at the time that was used to bring the meat and dairy in from the farms in the Midwest into the quickly growing NYC, before the advent of cheap trucking and airline travel. So every day this train would make deliveries, through upstate New York ending at the river’s edge.
This was the case until the last trip in 1980 when the train outlived its usefulness. By 1990 all but a small section of the tracks, a little over a mile was dismantled.
The High Line was saved from complete demolition in 2000 by two men who had no experience in parks, non-profits, or fundraising, but they saw the potential of great open space in the abandoned railway. And because of them, and the help, of course, we have this park, one of the most visited parks in the city. The High Line isn’t the first railway to be turned into a park, but it is the first to stay elevated and incorporate the existing tracks and switches into the design of the park.
The way the park is laid out is to use the current architecture into making the aesthetics work, the park was built on the notion that it could always be returned back into a railway. The park itself is elevated thirty feet above the ground.
So the plants and benches were put into the existing supports. The plants are only sitting in 18 inches of dirt and chosen for their ability to tolerate strong wind and sun.
The plant variety seems to go from thick forest to open plains as you walk, the park narrows down walkways then opens to spacious plazas.
Due to the fact that you are 30 feet off the ground, street traffic becomes entertainment and perfect perches to see from East to West. I love taking pictures here! Before I forget there are also art installations here too! When you are tired of all that there are restaurants looking out across the water to New Jersey. After the sunsets the park gets even better with, stargazing, lit walkways and benches, also it doubles as a waiting room for the super long waiting lists of at the restaurants below.
The video below is from the local television station in New York, WNYE, and the television program titled, Blueprint: New York City talks about the history of the High Line from a railroad to visionary park. It’s really interesting about a time gone by and how to keep history in a fast-changing city.
If you get to visit New York City, this unique park is something you shouldn’t miss. Do you have a truly special park in your city that you think I should know about? If so let me know in the comments below.
Until our next rendezvous…