This structure was built in the 30s as part of a project called the West Side Improvement. The idea was removing trains from ground level, making this part of Manhattan a safer place. The trains stopped running in 1980.
Instead of demolishing the structure it was preserved and transformed into a public park with the effort of Friends of the High Line.
The High Line design is a collaboration between James Corner Field Operations (Project Lead), Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and planting designer Piet Oudolf.
The works started in 2006 and was finally opened to the public in 2011.
During 25 years since the trains stopped running a new landscape emerged from the concrete. The same landscape inspired the planting scheme for the new project, based on those grasses, perennials and shrubs that self-seeded during those years of neglect and lack of management.
The High Line is not only a spectacular piece of design but a community project. They run exhibitions, organise tours and it has a friendship scheme. What was a derelict site now offers job opportunities and has become a tourist attraction. Overall a very clever project that I can’t wait to experience myself when I visit NY next month.
Check out this video from youtube to see the whole process.