Posted on April 02, 2010
Millions of visitors have now gone high in New York. On the High Line, that is: New York’s High Line Park, which opened last June, welcomed its two millionth visitor yesterday. A 12-year-old boy from North Carolina holds the honor. He and his sister, 9, participated in tree-planting ceremony to celebrate the event. The park has proven far more popular than originally anticipated, with many originally scoffing at its existence. The High Line runs on Manhattan’s west side from Gansevoort Street in the meatpacking district to 20th Street, for about a half mile. It currently includes walkways, plantings, seating, and lighting. (Caveat animal lovers: No dogs allowed.) By next spring, the park will see an expansion up to 30th Street. The new part of the park will feature an elevated walkway running through an area of trees; the park will be about a mile and a half long. Access from street level will be every two or three blocks. Starting today, the park will be open from 7 am to 10 pm into the fall. The High Line was originally built in the 1930s as a way of getting freight trains off Manhattan’s streets. (Fact: So many accidents occurred with freight trains and street-level traffic that 10th Avenue was known as Death Avenue.) Trains stopped running there in the early 1980s; the last one carried frozen turkeys. In 1999, a group called Friends of the High Line was formed to prevent the structure from being demolished. An open competition was held to solicit ideas for the area’s renovation, with 720 teams from 36 countries entering. The ultimate winner, James Corner Field Operations, a landscape architecture firm, was among those chosen for the area’s redesign. Visit thehighline.org for more information, or call 212 500-6035.