The floating park: High Line


Transformed from a historic freight rail line over Manhattan’s streets, the High Line is a public urban space on the West Side of Manhattan in New York City.


The original train line was designed on 1934 to carry goods to and from different industrial districts of NYC. During the 80’s a group of property owners pushed for the demolition of the structure. Therefore, for long time the area was left to deteriorate. Only in 1999 Joshua David and Robert Hammond, residents, decided to transform the rail line space into a public park. As a result, they founded the no profit organisation  Friends of the High Line. In fact, with the collaboration of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, in 2002 they started the renovation. In 2009 the first section of the park was opened to the public. Moreover, the second part opened in 2011 and the Rail Yards in 2014.

The old rail area changed in self-seeded landscape with native plants and with pedestrian space. There also are linear tracks where visitors can walk, run or rest on benches and sundeck lounges. From here they can also enjoy an amazing view of Manhattan. Just west of 11th Avenue there is a unique structure for families, the Pershing Square Beams. For example, children can run and play over a series of industrial structures covered in a silicone. At 23rd St. there is a seating area with wooden steps where locals and visitors have picnics or meet friends.


Friends of the High Line are taking care of the park, organising over 450 public events and activities to raise money. They involve the local community with different experiences, using the space as open gallery for contemporary art or as open-air theatre. Moreover, they organise guided walking tours and family tours to learn about plants and animals along the High Line.


Photo Credit: ©Iwan Baan