The High Line – 2.3 kms (1.45 miles) of changing scenery 9-metres (30-feet) above the streets of the Meatpacking District in New York City. This is Placemaking at its best. Photo by Jeremy Mah with thanks.

This postcard comes from The High Line, a fabulously innovative park built on a disused goods rail line 9-metres (30-feet) above the streets of the Meatpacking District on Manhattan’s West Side in New York City.  It is also referred to as the World’s Longest Green Roof.

Photo of bird boxes on the High Line with thanks to Jeremy Mah. He wrote, “Amazing thing is the birds were actually using them & were happily doing their thing right next to the path where people were walking.”

The High Line was built in the 1930s, but stopped being used as a rail line in 1980. It lay empty, naturally seeded by weeds, plants & small trees until two local residents formed ‘Friends of the High Line’ when it became under threat of demolition.

It was the residents who had the brilliant & radical idea to transform it into a public park.

In 2002, the residents group was supported by the City of New York & in 2005, the equivalent of Railcorp, the CSX Transportation Inc donated the portion of the High Line south of 30th Street to the city.

In 2006, construction of the park started & the first section, Gansevoort Street to West 20th Street, was open to the public in 2009.  The second section, West 20th Street to West 30th Street, was opened in 2011.  Above West 30th Street is still owned by the CSX Transportation Inc.

From the website

“The public space blends plant life (reminiscent of the quiet contemplative nature of the self-seeded landscape & wild plantings that once grew on the unused High Line) with long, narrow “planks,” forming a smooth, linear, virtually seamless walking surface. The public environment on the High Line contain special features, including a water feature, viewing platforms, a sundeck, & gathering areas to be used for performances, art exhibitions & educational programs.”

Access is via stairs & elevators, so it is wheelchair accessible.  Most of the High Line’s plants are native species sourced locally.  It “uses the same technology as a green roof, & has the same environmental benefits: a reduction of storm-water runoff by up to 80%; a mediation of the “Heat Island” effect created by hard, reflective city surfaces; & plantings that create shade, oxygen, & habitat for insects & birds.”

Only sustainable practices are used to manage the park.  Snow is cleared manually without using salt, it is mostly hand-watered with some controlled drip irrigation areas, they compost on site, don’t use pesticides or chemical fertilizers & use green cleaning products for the hard surfaces.

I would love to go there.  Local resident Jeremy Mah whose photos are posted here said, “It was truly extraordinary! A highlight of our trip.” 

The following video shows just how delightful this park is.  The High Line is full of people because it gives them something that is not only useful, but beautiful & peaceful too.  I highly recommend watching this short video. There isn’t a park like the High Line anywhere else in the world.

White blossoms on the High Line.  Small trees, but so lovely to have nature high above the city streets.  Photo by Jeremy Mah with thanks.

Pink blossoms on the High Line. There are many different areas along the High Line with lots of different types of seating. People are asked to stick to the path & not walk where the plants are growing.  Photo by Jeremy Mah with thanks.