Greenery Above Ground

30 feet above Manhattan's Meatpacking district is a revolutionary way of recycling. What used to be an abandoned elevated railway has now been turned into an oasis of public space. Known as the High Line, this park in the West Side is a breath of fresh air in a city hungry for more space. The meandering pathways are perfect for a leisurely stroll while benches that look like works of art give sore muscles a rest. Shrubs, trees and flowering plants add color to the landscape, some growing through the steel tracks. Above the ruckus of busy streets, visitors are at peace viewing a different perspective of this ever bustling city.

Back in the 1930s, the High Line had freight cars ferrying supplies to the various factories in what was then Manhattan's largest industrial district. Its use deminished over the years as interstate trucking became the favored form of transport. After the last train ran in 1980, the tracks were abandoned. There was a move by property owners under the railway tracks to have the structure demolished but efforts for its preservation was fought for by Friends of the High Line, a non-profit, community-based entity that now maintains and operates the park in partnership with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation.

The High Line is a mile and half long and its development is currently in stages. The first section, opened to the public last month, runs from Gansevoort Street to 20th Street. There are entry points every 2-3 blocks, two with elevator access. The second section, from 20th Street to 30th Street, is scheduled to be finished next year. Negotiations are still underway for the development beyond 30th Street which ends next to the Jacob Javits Convention Center at 34th Street.

Judging by the remarks of today's visitors, the High Line is already getting high marks for being innovative in reusing abandoned structures. It is one massive project that's right on track.


  1. I liked the photo with the kid. It's like reading this post through her eyes.

  2. r u living close to the High line?

    i wish the phil govt would do the same renovation or refurbishment in many of our abandoned sites and corner, ..that for sure a hell of a job, and a budget.

    im sure if that budget wont be pocket by our govt's plunderer, the result would have been more better than the HL.. what u think, bro? :)

    id like the way you apply ur depth of field,.. i am yet to perfect that. rgds,

  3. nice! if im in that area, i might be there every weekend when im not traveling.

    amazing because there are no vehicles just for people.

  4. I went there yesterday and it was wonderful. There was a long line to get up there but it was worth it. The street festival was fun too.

    Your photos look great as always.

  5. that is a great project that i hope gets copied in every other cities all over the world. kudos to the minds behind this.

  6. Hi Witsandnuts,
    Kids actually enjoyed that part of the park with ramps and steps leading to the viewing deck.

    Hi Josh,
    Like you, I could only wish that the Philippine government will spend more money on preservation and reuse of abandoned sites. But then, I have a feeling they'd rather spend money on more pressing issues of the country.
    No, I don't live close to the High Line - I live in Queens. Thanks for taking notice of the photo!

    Hi Dong,
    It is really great to just stroll above vehicles!

    Hi Noel,
    I knew there was a big event Sunday so we decided to visit it the day before to avoid the crowd.

    Hi Photo Cache,
    Oh yes, this is one innovative project that deserves to be copied everywhere.

  7. wow, that's a great project. some great mind worked on that one.

  8. i certainly agree, the piece of park offers a breath of fresh air.

  9. Will try to check this place when I visit NY. Thanks for the info.

  10. I discovered another great website. Thanks for sharing perfect moments. I will follow wherever you go.

  11. glad to see eco-friendly urban city. i like lush greens.
    here in manila, greenbelt mall in makati is a pioneer in conserving greens amidst a commercial complex.
    sm city north edsa has similar concept with your post here of putting what they call SKY GARDEN. I have posted about that 'green innovation' of sm city at my blog too few weeks ago.

  12. Anonymous1:19:00 PM

    Innovative and earth friendly too. I'll check this out when I go to NYC. Great photos! :-)

  13. ah..that's how it looks pala.

    I read about it in the news but there was no picture then. nice, ha. and it seems like some people are sunbathing. patok!

  14. now that was creative! it's a good thing they found a very productive use for the abandoned tracks.

  15. this is great! we have a couple of "sky gardens" here in Manila now, mostly in malls. the newest is in the SM North Edsa. Its nice to find these oasis in a bustling metropolis

  16. Hey Nomad, I was looking for this. It's on the West side I guess if it's close to Javit's Center? What street does it run along?

    Great shots, I'm gonna have to find it and see for myself. Cheers!

  17. Hi Atticus,
    It truly is. Thanks.

    Hi Lawstude,
    We all need our extra space after all.

    Hi Twin,
    Yes, visiting this would be one of those less-touristy stuff to see in NY.

    Hi Redlan,
    Thanks a lot. I'll also be checking on your site.

    Hi Docgelo,
    I remember visiting Greenbelt Mall a few years ago and was impressed by the integration of greenery there. I have yet to see the Sky Garden.

    Hi Dyosa,
    Thanks! You should come and visit the High Line.

    Hi Cerritos,
    Oo naman, with all those wooden lounge chairs they have, expect people to 'sunbathe' during summer.

    Hi R-yo,
    It just shows that not everything abandoned has to be discarded.

    Hi Lantaw,
    As Docgelo above has noted, it's good to hear that even Manila malls are into this.

    Hi Angelo,
    There are various access points but the best thing to do is take the subway A,C or E to 14th Street and walk towards Gansevoort St. and go up the stairs there. The whole park stretches currently up to 20th Street.


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