Friends of the High Line is the non-profit organization that funds and takes care of the High Line to make it the beautiful public space that it is. The High Line is one of New York’s newer attractions; built on a historic elevated freight rail line, it spans 1.45 miles (2.33km) on the West Side of Manhattan from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th and 12th Avenues.
From 1934 to the 1980s, the High Line was open to trains, carrying goods to and from Manhattan’s largest industrial district. Then, it closed down, and different groups argued out what they should do about it. Friends of the High Line was founded in 1999 and they advocated to preserve the High Line and turn it into a public space.
There are a few different sections to the High Line. Section 1 opened in 2009 and runs from Gansevoort Street to West 20th Street. Section 2 opened in 2011 and runs from West 20th Street to West 30th Street. The last section opened in 2014 and runs through the High Line at the Rail Yards; it’s also the northernmost part of the park. As I knew I was going to be walking a lot that day, I decided to just visit a small portion of it, just outside of Chelsea Market.
I also came across an area called the High Line Shop, where every purchase supports the High Line. There were some very interesting and unique works of art and whatnot there.
Similar to the “normal” parks around Manhattan, the High Line seems to be a fairly good place to visit if you’re looking for some quiet or downtime. Of course, it’s also a popular tourist attraction, but I can’t imagine swarms of visitors there like Times Square or the Empire State Building.
There are some interesting views from the High Line – traffic jams, other buildings, glimpses onto the Hudson River, etc.
The folks who put this together and maintain the park definitely have done and continue to do a very good job. The park now gets almost 5 million visitors each year.
The next time you’re in New York, make sure you note the High Line as a place to visit!