Interesting facts about the High Line

the high line

The High Line is a 2.33 km (1.45 miles) -long elevated linear park, greenway and rail trail created on a former New York Central Railroad spur on the west side of Manhattan in New York City.

The High Line is one of New York City’s most popular and distinctive parks.

Since opening the High Line has become an icon of contemporary landscape architecture.

The original street-level railroad that covered this area was constructed in the mid-19th century. It resulted in so many accidents and fatalities that stretches of 10th and 11th Avenue became known as “Death Avenue.”

The ensuing decades brought continuing mayhem, and in 1929 the West Side Improvement Project was implemented; it called for the construction of elevated railway lines and the elimination of street-level lines, the last of which were removed from 11th Avenue in 1941.

the high line old photo

The elevated line, which opened in 1934, rose to 9 meters (30 feet) above street level. Over the decades, however, interstate trucking began to compete with, and eventually replace, the service of the line’s cargo trains.

According to High Line historians, the last train to operate on the tracks, in 1980, carried three cars loaded with frozen turkeys.

Founded in 1999 by community residents, Friends of the High Line fought for the High Line’s preservation and transformation at a time when the historic structure was under the threat of demolition.

Repurposing the railway into an urban park began in 2006, with the first phase opening in 2009 and the second phase opening in 2011. The third and final phase opened to the public on September 21, 2014.


The High Line was inspired by the 4.8-kilometers (3-mile) -long Promenade plantée (tree-lined walkway), a similar project in Paris which was completed in 1993.

The design of the High Line park was carried out by the firms James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro.

The 120-species plant palette, curated by Dutch landscape architect Piet Oudolf, includes sturdy meadow plants (such as clump-forming grasses, liatris, and coneflowers) and scattered stands of sumac and smokebush and is not limited to native plants. The landscape designed is made to evoke the wild and spontaneous growth that had occurred on the tracks after the rail line fell into disuse.


In addition to a noteworthy variety of plants, the High Line contains several architectural features, including the so-called Viewing Spur, an observation area with bleacherlike seating and an outlook surrounded by a large frame.

The Standard, High Line, formerly The Standard, is an 18-story luxury boutique hotel. It stands 17 meters (57 feet) above street level, above the High Line, a former elevated railroad track reconstructed into a linear park.

The route also passes under the Chelsea Market, a food hall, at 15th Street. The Tenth Avenue Square, an amphitheater on the viaduct, is at 17th Street where the High Line crosses over Tenth Avenue from southeast to northwest. Between 25th and 26th Streets a ramp takes visitors above the viaduct, with a scenic overlook facing east at 26th Street.

The High Line, New York

At the Gansevoort Street end (which runs north-south), the stub over Gansevoort Street is named the Tiffany & Co. Foundation Overlook and was dedicated in July 2012; the foundation was a major supporter of the park.

The High Line also has cultural attractions as part of a long-term plan for the park to host temporary installations and performances.

The park is open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in winter, until 10 p.m. in spring and fall, and until 11 p.m. in summer (except for the Interim Walkway west of 11th Avenue, which is open until dusk).

The line is maintained by Friends of the High Line, which was founded by area residents Joshua David and Robert Hammond in 1999.

The High Line has spurred real estate development in adjacent neighborhoods, increasing real-estate values and prices along the route in an example of the halo effect. The halo effect is a type of immediate judgement discrepancy, or cognitive bias, where a person making an initial assessment of another person, place, or thing will assume ambiguous information based upon concrete information.

A number of films and television programs have utilized the High Line since the park opened.