Please let me take a moment to introduce you to my favorite place in NYC, the highline park. The following is my poorly researched post about the highline, which I love, but don't have the time to look up properly. I think the story of how it came to be is quite interesting though.
This is the highline before they did any renovations to it. It is an elevated railroad line that runs between 34th st. and Gansevoort on the West Side of NYC. It used to be used to ship items into all of the factories that are in the area. They called the streets under it "death row" because the highline made them dark, and apparently there used to be a whole lot of crime there. Who knew.
A few years ago, I guess the city was planning on tearing it down, but New Yorkers decided to try to stop the city from destroying it and put it to some good use instead. I'd like to take a moment to thank every single one of them.
About a year, year and a half ago, they opened up part 1 of the highline to visitors as the first elevated park (anywhere, I think). It's open from Gansevoort to about 20th/21st streets, and it is quite literally one of my favorite parts of the city. Apparently, there have been over 2,000,000 visitors to the park in the last year. The following are some images, that I took from the highline's website, flickr pool, and my sister's facebook:
A girl sunning in a lawn chair
The park at night under the Gansevoort Hotel, which
straddles the highline
Plant life near an old building
A view down one of the streets adjacent to the park
I love how they integrated in the tracks
Business men enjoying themselves
Some lovely flowers and the IAC building
View from above 15th street towards New Jersey at night
Right now, they are working on opening more of the highline, I think they intend to open up to 32nd street next spring, 2011. Above is a photo of what it looked like up there a while ago, now it's mostly construction. That photo was taken very close to where I live now, so as you can imagine, I'm pretty excited for what's going to come next.
Apparently the new section of the highline is supposed to have some really cool features in it. One of the coolest of which is the "Woodland flyover." Apparently the flyover will leave the track and go 15 feet above it through a canopy of magnolia trees. They are also looking at having a thicket/forest for a block, with plants that are native to the Chelsea area. A grassy knoll that lifts up into a small hillside was also proposed. Needless to say, I'm pretty excited for spring 2011, and I really hope that I will still be in New York to enjoy this amazing park.
Below are some computer renderings I found online of proposed areas for section 2 of the park.
I really hope that this will inspire other cities to create beautiful things from apparently useless landmarks or deserted areas. I have heard online that Toronto, Chicago and LA are considering creating their very own elevated parks. All I can say to them, is I'm very grateful to be living in a city that has the creativity, foresight, and ability to create something like this & good luck, hopefully I will be visiting other "highlines" soon.