Posted by: markhowell101 | October 31, 2011

The High Line

When you look at this photo, what is the first thing that comes to mind??? Where do you think it was taken???

Well your wrong, it was taken right in the middle on Manhattan just last week and not in Central Park. It was taken on New York’s newest tourist attraction, the High Line which runs from the Meatpacking District (Gansevoot), through the Art Gallery District and finishes in Midtown (11th Av and 25th Street). The project has turned an abandoned railway line into a designated park space filled with grasses, trees and some open picnic spaces. The series of pictures below shows the park and its surroundings, it makes for quite a unique location.

I read about the High Line 2 weeks before my trip to New York and was really interested by this clever and unique use of public space. Firstly, along the High Line is a smattering of market stalls selling sustainable produce and locally grown and sources items, many of which claim to have been sourced on Manhattan itself. In the place so obsessed with mass production and economies of scale it was refreshing to see tiny independent retailers selling genuine local items.

However, the High Line has done more than just add a small open space and sustainability to New York it was clear to me that it is being used to try and regenerate an area of some urban decay. At its farthest point south the High Line runs through what seems a reasonably affluent area with the Meatpacking District having a range of high end shops and expensive apartments (for reference this is where Friends was set). However as you walk north along the park the apartments around the line decline in quality until you reach the area furthest north, near the bus depot and Madison Square Garden, not famously a high end part of New York. In this area the High Line is being used as a selling point for a range of new properties which are quickly being put up. Alongside the park were several clearly brand new blocks of apartments, as yet with nobody living in them and several more being built. All of them were adorned with huge signs advertising the properties fantastic view of the High Line, not their view of the skyline of Manhattan. Clearly this is a new USP for these properties as it is unlikely that they would of been advertising a view of an abandoned railway line.  These new properties seemed much larger and modern than those around them and would clearly fetch a much higher asking price and therefore a higher earning tenant, increasing income levels and reducing deprivation levels in this area.

The High Line was an excellent new attraction to visit and whilst it remains to be seen if it has any impact on the area it certainly seemed popular with tourists and New Yorkers alike. Well worth a visit.

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