While “park” might be overstating what amounts to a well-kept overhead path, the High Line is borne of conditions truly unique to New York. Built in 1934 as an elevated freight line servicing lower Manhattan, the tracks housing the High Line were abandoned in 1980 and blighted the surrounding areas throughout the next two decades. They were rescued from destruction in 1999 and, ten years later, converted to an elevated park.
Accessible at its southernmost point at Gansevoort Street, the High Line’s narrow walkways host a number of native plants and fauna that give a welcome reprieve to the general lack of greenery on the West Side. Though it only extends for one mile in its current form, the park may yet receive a further extension over the West Side Rail Yards, perhaps finally taking some of the heat out of Hell’s Kitchen.