Making a Bee Line for NYC’s High Line

Design, Landscape, Travel

Mix one long weekend with the beginning of Spring and you’ll find me in New York City celebrating my friend Vince’s birthday with a bunch of best pals.

No sooner had I arrived than I met up with my eco-friendly landscape architect bud Dan Nuttall and made a bee line to the High Line green space.

The High Line was an elevated rail corridor constructed in the 1930s which ran through the city’s largest industrial district on Manhattan’s West Side. It runs from Gansevoort Street in The Meatpacking District to 34th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues.

By the 1980s trains no longer operated on it and the High Line fell into disrepair, becoming a target for demolition. What was deemed urban blight by some became a cause for preservationists who wanted to maintain the structure as an elevated public park.

After nearly a decade of navigating through the urban revitalization process, a portion of the High Line opened in June 2009, and has now had over 2 million visitors. I can see why.

It’s breath-taking!

Designed by James Corner of Field Operations, a landscape architecture firm, the restoration retained the original structure and rail line materials, a residue of the city’s abandoned industrial fabric. With the additional expertise of Piet Oudolf, a Dutch garden designer who is renowned for his planting designs, the design programme also integrated the native plant species that had self-seeded on The High Line’s elevated tracks since the trains had stopped running 25 years earlier. What was once considered obsolete has been reinvented into a pedestrian-friendly green ribbon threading its way through the city.

As a pro-urbanite whose passion (and business) includes the adaptive reuse of former factories into live/work loft spaces, The High Line is a ‘must-see’. It’s a celebration of the reinvention, restoration and preservation of a former industrial site into a new use that serves the modern-day city more appropriately.

It just doesn’t get better than that!

Learn more about the High Line!

~ Steven

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