New York - NYC High Line

High Line (Manhattan)

The High Line, or West Side Line, was once a freight railroad through Manhattan, back in the days when people accepted elevated railroads in the city - perhaps a concession to the difficulty of tunneling through the decades of tangled utilities and underground structures, or maybe because air quality was terrible, people were poor, and no one had a voice to change any of that. The railroad was built in tandem with the parallel West Side Highway for cars, both elevated and both noisy and noxious. The freight railroad stopped running in 1980, outlasting the decrepit highway by seven years, but unlike the elevated highway and former elevated subway lines (that's only an oxymoron if you don't live in the City), the structure remained in place. This one seems rather easier to explain: very few people live(d) in the Meatpacking District and the adjacent warehousing areas. Well, times have changed, and it's now cool to convert old warehouses into new luxury and pseudo-luxury buildings. Hipsters love gritty neighborhoods, and it doesn't get more gritty than an abandoned railroad running overhead. Once again, the High Line was spared the wrecking ball, but the only way to keep the area attractive was to do something with it. Enter the linear park concept, transforming the old railroad from the southern stub at Gansevoort St. (it was demolished south of there in 1960 as rail service flagged) all the way north to 34th St. over the course of many years. When I visited in 2012, it was open as far north as 30th St., with the rest to the north under construction. You can share my experience on two pages:

Along the High Line

Off the High Line

The park may be artificially conceived, but Nature has made it her own.

See more of Manhattan

Back to New York Non-Roads
Back to Non-Roads main page