Peek the Views from the High Line

Along the mile and a half of this elevated walkway, you'll find beautiful views and a different perspective of NYC. Well inside of a decade, the High Line has transformed from insider jewel to highly trafficked tourist spot, but it's still worth a visit during your trip to New York City.

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High Line History Primer

Once upon a time, beleaguered New Yorkers referred to Manhattan's 10th Avenue as Death Avenue. In response to the danger posed to pedestrians by massive freight trains riding along the West Side's street-level tracks, the city created the West Side Improvement Project. (source)

The result? An el train that ran along a length of Manhattan. The freight rail chugged along the west side, sinuously shepherding goods from the Meatpacking District to Hell's Kitchen.

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Less than 50 years after the West Side Elevated Line began running trains, the railway fell into disuse. Ambitious plans to preserve and repurpose the structure into a recreational promenade started coming together in the early 80s, with proponents inspired by a similar project in Paris— the Coulée verte René-Dumont.

With numerous setbacks (hello, red tape!), commencement of the project took years, to the point that life went on, and many forgot about the noble intentions set by Lower Manhattan residents and activists like Peter Obletz. In the mid-80s, he formed the West Side Rail Line Development Foundation, championing efforts to preserve the elevated track. By the end of the 90s, the derelict remains of the railway were in serious danger of demolition. (source)

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Then finally, progress! The first portion of the High Line opened to the public in 2009. This new park provided a refreshing respite from the bustling activity below and quickly became a favorite for West Side residents and visitors.

Since then, the remaining portions of the High Line have been restored and in June 2019, the final stretch was completed. Visitors can stroll along this elevated urban haven for a little over 20 blocks, enjoying gardens and hella art and architecture from Gansevoort up to 34th Street.

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I recommend entering the park at the Gansevoort, 14th Street, or 16th Street entrance and making your way uptown. (More about visiting the High Line here.)

And what do you explore once you've reached Midtown? The options are endless. I recommend a visit to Hudson Yards.

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This post will be syndicated to my travel blog, Aspire to Wander.


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