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High Line, New York (New York City)

October 9, 2012 by  

High Line, New York (New York City), The High Line is a 1-mile (1.6 km) New York City linear park built on a 1.45-mile (2.33 km) section of the former elevated New York Central Railroad spur called the West Side Line, which runs along the lower west side of Manhattan; it has been redesigned and planted as an aerial greenway.

The High Line Park currently runs from Gansevoort Street, three blocks below West 14th Street, in the Meatpacking District, up to 30th Street, through the neighborhood of Chelsea to the West Side Yard, near the Javits Convention Center.

The recycling of the railway into an urban park has spurred real estate development in the neighborhoods which lie along the line.

In 1847, the City of New York authorized street-level railroad tracks down Manhattan’s West Side. For safety, the railroads hired men – the “West Side Cowboys” – to ride horses and wave flags in front of the trains. Yet so many accidents occurred between freight trains and other traffic that 10th Avenue became known as “Death Avenue”.
After years of public debate about the hazard, in 1929 the city and the state of New York and the New York Central Railroad agreed on the West Side Improvement Project, which included the High Line. The 13-mile (21 km) project eliminated 105 street-level railroad crossings and added 32 acres (13 ha) to Riverside Park. It cost over $150 million, about $2 billion in 2009 dollars.

The High Line opened to trains in 1934. It originally ran from 34th Street to St. John’s Park Terminal, at Spring Street. It was designed to go through the center of blocks, rather than over the avenue, to avoid the drawbacks of elevated trains. It connected directly to factories and warehouses, allowing trains to roll right inside buildings. Milk, meat, produce, and raw and manufactured goods could be transported and unloaded without disturbing traffic on the streets.

The train also passed underneath the Western Electric complex at Washington Street. This section has survived until today and is not connected with the rest of the developed park.

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