The Hanging Gardens of New York

It took 3 years to transform the Avenue of Death into the Alley of Life. Well, okay, 3 years and fifty million dollars. The money were spent well and the creators of the High Line Park deserve a round of applause.

In New York City we are tiny creatures surrounded by a jungle of glass and concrete. Manhattan streets and avenues leave little space for greenery. Chelsea was a particularly industrial and gloomy area before the rough old railroad was redesigned into a modern, delightful park.

The first railroad was built here in 1847. Soon after a surprising job position was opened - a railroad cowboy. In contrast with their Wild West colleagues, West Side Cowboys had to wrangle not cattle but local citizens. Their actual job was to ride around and wave signal flags alerting people of incoming trains. However, it didn't work. New Yorkers proved to be hard to herd. There were so many lethal accidents that the road got an eerie nickname “Avenue of Death." To prevent the city from extinction the rails were raised twenty five feet above the ground.

The very last train ran through the Highline in 1980. Derelict rusty rails were a peeve for everyone, except perhaps vagabonds and hooligans. Society demanded that the city demolishes the structure.

The citizens’ demand was going to be satisfied in 1999. I would not be writing this story if it weren’t for two smart New Yorkers, Joshua David and Robert Hammond, who realized that there were one and a half mile of expensive Manhattan property that improvident compatriots were going to just destroy.

Robert and Joshua crossed four straight lanes into an H-shaped logo, proclaimed themselves “Friends of High Line” and suggested that the city not destroys the rails, but create around it. They approached the government with diligent research and detailed planning. After some head-scratching and session-sitting, authorities concluded that the idea was nice.

The Friends of High Line were granted fifty million dollars to repurpose old and rusty railroad. Within three years, High Line Park was formed. It’s now one of the most prominent places in New York.

As the park developed, so did the whole surrounding area. Artists, hipsters, and other modern groups of citizens began to see Chelsea as a desirable place to live and work. Housing pricing rose accordingly.

Those who disagreed with all the changes were confined to the New York version of Bastille: windows bricked closed and gridded.

It is a world famous tradition to transform old industrial sites into contemporary art. When it comes to contemporary art, contemporary graffiti is usually present.

The High Line offers a great view of the two huge red edifices on the 23d street. They are named the London Terrace Towers and they represent one of the biggest apartment complexes on Earth sprawling out across the whole block.

The High Line flora encourages visitors to practice the art of photography.

The park offers the perfect view of a busy intersection on 10th Avenue. Here, you can sit on a comfortable bench and destress yourself contemplating fellow citizens stuck in relentless Manhattan traffic. Drinks and snacks can make the show even more enjoyable.

Locals are playing some strange type of poker :D

The Chelsea Market Passage provides precious shade, drinks, snacks, and a variety of High Line souvenirs.

This place is called Diller – von Furstenberg Sundeck. It is not necessary to remember the name, just keep in mind that the part of the park between West 14th and West 15th Streets provides some foot bath features.

Living up to its “Sun Deck” name, deck chairs for lounging are featured on this part of the High Line. They are installed directly onto the rails. Some equipped with wheels are mobile.

Aside from sunbathing and foot-wetting opportunities, the park offers stargazing, boxing, meditation, and a variety of tours and educational programs for both kids and adults. Check the schedule on the official website:

Admission Price: free Address: 11 entrances

Operating hours: Dec 1 to Mar 31: 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM Apr 1 to May 31: 7:00 AM – 10:00 PM June 1 to Sept 30: 7:00 AM – 11:00 PM Oct 1 to Nov 30: 7:00 AM – 10:00 PM

#Architecture #travel #Gentrification