The High Line is an abandoned 1.45 mile (2.33 km) section of the former elevated freight railroad of the West Side Line, along the lower west side of New York City borough of Manhattan between 34th Street near the Javits Convention Center and Gansevoort Street in the West Village. The High Line was built in the early 1930s by the New York Central and has been unused since 1980. It is in a state of disrepair, although the elevated structure is basically sound. Wild grass and plants grow along most of the route.
The community-based group Friends of the High Line was established by neighborhood residents Robert Hammond and Joshua David, leading to plans to turn the High Line into an elevated park or greenway, similar to the Promenade Plantée in Paris. In 2004, the New York City government committed $50 million to establish the proposed park.
On June 13, 2005, the U.S. Federal Surface Transportation Board issued a certificate of interim trail use, allowing the city to remove most of the line from the national railway system. On April 10, 2006, Mayor Michael Bloomberg presided over a groundbreaking ceremony, marking the beginning of construction on the High Line project, turning it into an elevated park. The project is being undertaken by landscape firm Field Operations and architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Hotel developer Andre Balazs, owner of the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles, is building a 337-room hotel straddling the High Line at Little West 12th Street. As of spring 2007, most of the old rail tracks have been removed, making way for the park. If work goes as planned, the southern section of the High Line, from Gansevoort Street to 20th Street, will open to the public in early 2009.
This southern section will include five access stairways and three elevators. The park will eventually extend from Gansevoort Street north to 30th Street where the elevated tracks turn west around the Hudson Yards development project to the Javits Convention Center on 34nd Street. The northernmost section, from 30th to 34th Streets, is still owned by the CSX railroad company.
The High Line is discussed in Alan Weisman's The World Without Us (St. Martin's Press, 2007) as an example of the unstoppably resilient power of nature.