The idea for the High Line came about in 1999 when the old freight line was in danger of demolition. The non-profit Friends of the High Line group was set up to focus on preserving the structure and, 15 years on, it oversees the maintenance, operations and public programming for the park.
Not only has the redevelopment of the High Line created a unique public space, it has become a model for urban reuse. The development has inspired a host of similar schemes across the world, including Sydney, Australia's, Goods Line and the Friends of the Flyover project in Liverpool, UK.
The newly opened High Line at the Rail Yards section is the northernmost section of the High Line. It features familiar elements from other parts of the park such as the "peel-up" benches, viewing spots and pathways, as well as a number of new aspects.
At the northern end of the High Line is the Interim Walkway. Intended as a temporary feature, this section has yet to be remodeled and is a walkway flanked by the self-seeded wildflowers, native grasses and shrubs that had taken over the High Line prior to its redevelopment.
The Pershing Square Beams section sees the concrete deck of the High Line stripped away to reveal the original framework of steel beams and girders. Here, children can explore and climb around the raised and sunken areas, and a number of play elements that have been included.
The 11th Avenue Bridge provides a raised area from which visitors can view the park, the city and the Hudson River, the Rail Track Walks section leaves the old freight tracks exposed as a link to the structure's history and 30th Street Grove provides a secluded seating and group space. Finally, the Radial bench is a long bank of benches with plating either side of it and Wildflower Field features a mix of wildflowers that will bloom throughout the growing season.
The remaining phases of construction for the High Line at the Rail Yards will see the completion of the 10th Avenue Spur and the redevelopment of the Interim Walkway. It is expected to be completed in 10-15 years time.