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Great news for New Yorkers and design fans alike: After years of wrangling, delays, and uncertainties, the High Line, an astonishing urban park built upon the remnants of an abandoned stretch of elevated railway, is open.

high line design new york

It was a long shot from the outset: In 1999, two locals--Joshua David, a writer, and Robert Hammond, a painter--quailed at the prospect of the massive old railway structure being torn down by hungry developers. They lobbied the city to instead turn its surface into a park along the western fringe of the Chelsea neighborhood, some two stories above the street. Ultimately, they succeeded: The park itself is remarkably designed, a work led by landscape architecture firm James Corner Field Operations, with architecture by Diller Scofidio + Renfro. But it's still a work in progress: So far, only a 2.8 acre stretch of the park has been completed, corresponding with the blocks between Gansevoort and 20th street. A second phase, between 20th street and 30th street, will begin construction in a few weeks, with completion slated for 2010. Together, those two sections will cost $152 million. A third, final section has yet to be developed. And the Whitney Museum is slated to open a new downtown branch below the first portion as well. 

So what was the most difficult part of pulling off such a bold reinvention?  According to Matthew Johnson, the architect at DS+R who managed the project, it was figuring out exactly the balance of concrete and landscape. "Basically, the balance between people and plants," he says. "At some portions the landscape takes over. At others, like the downtown entrance, it recedes to make way for public space." 

June 19, 2009

Things to Know Before You Visit the High Line — Updated Access Information

The High Line is now open! We hope you'll visit us in the coming days and weeks. Before you come to the High Line, there are a few things you should know:

Location: The High Line is located on the West Side of Manhattan. The first section runs from Gansevoort Street, in the Meatpacking District, to West 20th Street, in Chelsea, between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues.

Getting There by Subway or Bus: A/C/E/L to 14th Street and 8th Avenue; M14 bus to 14th Street and 9th Avenue.

Access: Access to the High Line is now possible via any of the access points listed below. In the event the High Line becomes too crowded, you may be asked to enter via the Gansevoort Street stairs (or 16th Street elevator if you need elevator service) only, to ensure public safety and the safety of the park itself.

  • Gansevoort Street
  • 14th Street (Elevator access will be available beginning in July.)
  • 16th Street (elevator access)
  • 18th Street
  • 20th Street

Dogs, bicycles, and rollerblades are not permitted. For a complete listing of park rules, please visit
Park Information page.