Last Thursday marked the beginning of renovations for the final section of the High Line — a $90 million project to be completed in 2014.
From the Great Depression to the early 1980s, the High Line operated as an elevated freight train track meant to avoid the hazards of running trains on street level. When the transportation of commodities began to use trucks instead of trains, the tracks were shut down and considered for demolition. Friends of the High Line, a group formed in 1999, challenged this fate and raised the funds to turn the railroad into the High Line Park.
For two weekends in October, the public will have the chance to enjoy the site in its original design before heavy construction commences.
Most of the funding for the renovations will come from private donors: $10 million from the state, $20 million from Friends of the High Line and $27.8 million from Related Properties and Oxford Property Group.
Joanna Rose, vice president of corporate communications for Related Companies, spoke highly of the High Line transformation.
“The High Line has been an unequivocal success,” Rose said. “We are proud to be a major supporter of the final segment of the High Line, which will primarily surround the new 12 million square foot Hudson Yards Project.”
Phase one reconstructed the area from Gansevoort Street to 20th Street. The stretch of land from 20th Street to 30th Street was remodeled as phase two, and phase three is located between West 30th and West 34th Streets. Phase three will build off phase two, but this segment extends around the West Side Rail Yards. Amenities will include beautiful gardens, panoramic views of the water, a playground and a train car cafe.
Steinhardt junior Katie Hood said the park brings the community to life.
“I personally believe the High Line is an amazing way to get a different perspective on the city because it’s elevated. There is nothing of its kind,” Hood said. “At the present, the park is too short and crowded, so why not complete construction?”
Many of the residents in Chelsea echo this opinion. Resident Margaret Dynan, who recently moved to New York, also supported the new developments.
“[The High Line] is precisely the reason I moved to New York and the West Village neighborhood specifically,” Dynan said. “I have a son and two nieces that stay with us during the summer, so the park is a perfect place to take them.”
Rose said the park will be a prominent attraction for New Yorkers and tourists alike.
“[It] is a tour de force for the city’s park system and is sure to be one of the most magical places to visit in the city and a lasting legacy for all New Yorkers to enjoy,” Rose said.
A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, Sept. 27 print edition. Sara Radin is a contributing writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.