Today in History: The High Line's 15-Year Journey from Railway to Iconic Urban Park

Today in History: The High Line's 15-Year Journey from Railway to Iconic Urban Park

By Idy Perl

A popular destination in Manhattan, The High Line, is celebrating its 15th anniversary since it opened in 2009.

The High Line is a beautiful walkway above the busy Manhattan streets where hundreds of people go daily to see some fresh greenery and take in the city sights. But 25 years ago the area looked very different. 

Back in 1999, the High Line was an overgrown, derelict railroad that was slated for demolition when two residents at a board meeting came up with the idea to turn it into a beautiful public space instead. In 2001 a professional photographer took some photos of the wild landscape so New Yorkers can visualize the space and what it can turn into.

In 2003 the Ideas Competition was born, inviting people to submit their ideas of what the space can be used for. In 2004 a design company won the competition and in 2006 construction began on the first two sections of the High Line, between Gansevoort and 20th Streets.

In 2009 after years of planning and construction the first section of the High Line opened to the public. Over the next few years additional sections were added to complete the High Line and turn it into the walkway it is today.

What was once an abandoned railway has blossomed into a thriving oasis above the bustling streets of Manhattan, thanks to the determination and creativity of local residents and visionaries.

photos: High Line, Kalmbach Publishing Company, Joel Sternfeld, Timothy Schenck, Iwan Baan, Rick Darke

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