All last year and early this year there was a lot of anticipation in the neighborhood about the High Line, a new elevated park in the Meatpacking District of Manhattan's West Village. Personally, I didn't realize what a big deal this was for everyone but since it opened we've probably been to it twenty times and I've come around. I was especially surprised to hear my mother ask me about it. She lives in Arizona and had read about it in the newspaper so I guess it's a big deal across the country too. It offers great views of the neighborhood and of the Hudson River -- and apparently of the people staying in The Standard Hotel in all their nudity and lewd behavior, according to a report by Mike Taibbi on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.
First though, this from Wikipedia:
The High Line is a 1.45-mile (2.33 km) section of the former elevated freight railroad of the West Side Line, along the lower west side of Manhattan, which has been redesigned and planted as a greenway. The High Line runs from the former 34th Street freightyard, near the Javits Convention Center, through the neighborhood of Chelsea to Gansevoort Street in the Meat Packing District of the West Village. The High Line was built in the early 1930s by the New York Central Railroad to eliminate the fatal accidents that occurred along the street-level right-of-way and to offer direct warehouse-to-freight car service that reduced pilferage for the Bell Laboratories Building (now the Westbeth Artists Community) and the Nabisco plant (now Chelsea Market), which were served from protected sidings within the structures. It was in active use until 1980.
In the 1990s, it became known to a few urban explorers and local residents for the tough, drought-tolerant wild grasses, forbs and trees that had sprung up in the gravel along the abandoned railway.
By 1999 broadened community support of public redevelopment for the High Line for pedestrian use grew, and funding was allocated in 2004. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was an important supporter. The southernmost section reopened as a city park on June 8, 2009. The middle section is still being refurbished, while the northernmost section's future remains uncertain, access disputed between the City of New York and the MTA.
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