Parks in large cities are usually thought of as refuges, as islands of green amid seas of concrete and steel. When you approach the High Line in the Chelsea neighborhood on the lower west side of Manhattan, what you see first is the kind of thing urban parks were created to get away from—a harsh, heavy, black steel structure supporting an elevated rail line that once brought freight cars right into factories and warehouses and that looks, at least from a distance, more like an abandoned relic than an urban oasis.
High Line was, in fact, an urban relic, and a crumbling one at that. In 90s, Chelsea was gentrifying into a neighborhood of galleries, restaurants, and loft living. High Line has been turned into one of the most innovative and inviting public spaces in New York City and perhaps the entire country. Walking on the High Line is unlike any other experience in New York. You float about 25 feet above the ground, at once connected to street life and far away from it.
Open Photo Gallery (by National Geographic)