High Line Park

New York City, New York, U.S.A.
  • High Line Park
    Close Me!

    In the mid-1800’s, so many accidents occurred between freight trains and street-level traffic on 10th Avenue in Manhattan that it became known as “Death Avenue.” After years of debate, New York state and city governments, along with the New York Railroad, agreed to develop a 13-mile-long elevated railroad. Opening to trains in 1934, the High Line brought tons of produce and manufactured goods to Manhattan.

    Photo: James Shaughnessy, 1953

    Photo 1 of 8

  • High Line Park
    Close Me!

    By the 1950’s, with the rise of interstate trucking, rail traffic along the High Line had fallen dramatically. In the 1960’s, the Southern section of the High Line was demolished.

    Photo: © 2000 Joel Sternfeld

    Photo 2 of 8

  • High Line Park
    Close Me!

    In 1999, Friends of the High Line was founded by Joshua David and Robert Hammond to advocate for the High Line’s preservation and reuse as a public park. In 2002, Friends of the High Line finally won a lawsuit challenging the city’s plans for demolishing the remaining tracks. A year later, a design competition was launched to solicit proposals for reusing the High Line. More than 720 teams from 36 countries entered. The team selected is led by Field Operations, a landscape architecture firm, and includes Diller Scofidio + Renfro, as well as noted horticultural designer, Piet Oudolf.

    Photo: © 2000 Joel Sternfeld

    Photo 3 of 8

  • High Line Park
    Close Me!

    The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) presented an exhibition highlighting preliminary designs from Field Operations and Diller, Scofidio + Renfro in 2005.

    Photo: Design by James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Courtesy of the City of New York.

    Photo 4 of 8

  • High Line Park
    Close Me!

    The High Line’s designers sought to retain as much of the original High Line’s gritty urban character as possible. The New York Review of Books recently said the park “celebrates rather than obviates the collision of natural and man-made environments.”

    Photo: © 2009 Iwan Baan

    Photo 5 of 8

  • High Line Park
    Close Me!

    The open section of the High Line begins near the meeting of Gansevoort and Washington streets. A staircase leads to a central promenade platform, offering views of the plantings. The High Line functions as a living green roof, with multiple layers to provide water flow and hold soil and plants.

    Photo: © 2009 Iwan Baan

    Photo 6 of 8

  • High Line Park
    Close Me!

    Friends of High Line Park Founder, Joshua David, envisioned an atmosphere “less like a park and more like scruffy wilderness.” A range of native plants, including sumac and hardy urban plants, is used along with scabiosa, a “pincushion flower.” Juneberry shrubs were also in fruit during the spring’s inauguration of the park.

    Photo: © 2009 Iwan Baan

    Photo 7 of 8

  • High Line Park
    Close Me!

    The High Line Park is now run by the New York City Parks Department. From outsider to a central community platform, the High Line demonstrates how derelict industrial sites can be reimagined. Other cities are also exploring reusing abandoned transportation infrastructure.

    Photo: © 2009 Iwan Baan

    Photo 8 of 8

Project Facts

  • The High Line Park runs more than 20 blocks from Gansevoort to 20th street. The second phase running from 20th street to 30th street will launch in 2010.
  • The High Line is essentially a green roof on top of an elevated railroad track. There are multiple layers within the “living roof,” including a porous drainage layer, gravel, filter fabric, subsoil, and topsoil.
  • Materials used in the High Line were selected based on life-cycle costs. Special concrete designed to last long was used to reduce the waste caused by later replacements.
  • Parts of the High Line use recirculated water. Plans are underway to harvest rainwater from the roofs of nearby buildings.
  • Native, drought-resistant plant species were tailored to the High Line’s micro-climates.
  • Friends of the High Line will employ youths aged 16-21 as part of its “Youth Corps” program. Additionally, the High Line Schools program now offers curriculum guides, which were co-developed with the New York City Laboratory School for Collaborative Studies, for grades two through seven. Class visits to the High Line are also part of the educational program.