Two weeks ago my parents came to visit and I took them to one of my favorite parks in NYC, The High Line! For those of you who do not know The High Line is a 1-mile long linear park in New York City built on former elevated track of the New York Central Railroad. It runs along 10th Avenue on the Lower West Side of Manhattan from 10th Street in the Meatpacking District to 30th Street in Chelsea. The first section of the High Line was opened in June 2009, the second portion opened two years later, and the third and final section is set to open next year. This unusual oasis in New York City is one of my favorite spots, especially with a picnic lunch from Eataly!
I love what a rich history the park has – the origins date back almost one hundred years stemming from an innovative railroad system in the largest city in the country at the time. Here is a brief overview of the railroad’s history before it was recycled into a park:
- In 1847, the City of New York authorized street-level railroad tracks down Manhattan’s West Side, but so many accidents occurred between freight trains and other traffic that 10th Avenue became known as “Death Avenue”.
- In 1929 the city and the state of New York agreed on the West Side Improvement Project, which included the High Line.
- In 1934 the High Line began running from 34th Street to Spring Street. It connected directly to factories and warehouses, allowing trains to roll right inside buildings delivering products such as milk, meat, produce, and manufactured goods.
- In the 1950s the growth of interstate trucking led to a drop in rail traffic.
- In 1980 the last train traveled on the High Line with three carloads of frozen turkeys.