The long-anticipated High Line opened in New York City on June 8. Matador Change editor Julie Schwietert takes you up to New York City’s newest park to check out the view.

When I moved to New York City 10 years ago, the Meatpacking District was a sketchy, marginal neighborhood frequented by prostitutes and drug users.

Today, it’s a neighborhood populated by trendy, expensive boutiques, name-dropper restaurants, and some of the city’s edgiest, most exciting architecture.

It’s also the location of New York City’s newest park: the High Line.

So named because the park is built atop an abandoned rail line that was originally constructed in the 1930s, the High Line was an urban eyesore from 1980 until this summer, when a 10 year old dream of the Friends of the High Line was finally realized.

Back in 1999, the city had slated the elevated rail for demolition. But some folks didn’t want to see this part of New York City history destroyed, and they effectively rallied to turn the space into an ambitious and unique urban park. Construction began in 2006 and the first part of what will be a mile and a half long park opened last month.


High Line seating

1. The wood used on the benches and decking was harvested from a managed forest certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. It was selected for its longevity and durability.


High Line bench

2. If you're lucky enough to snag one of these seats at sunset, you're all but guaranteed a spectacular light show on the Hudson River.


High Line theatre

3. This IS an urban park, after all. These benches offer a view of a New York City street, but insulate park visitors from car noise.


High Line view

4. Most of the plants and grasses on the High Line are native species, "inspired by the self-seeded landscape that grew on the out-of-use elevated rail tracks during the 25 years after the trains stopped running."


Ice cream truck

5. The popularity of the High Line has attracted all sorts of new businesses to the neighborhood, including Van Leeuwen, which scoops up artisanal ice cream. They're "green," too: their cups, spoons, and straws are all made from corn husks.



6. View of the Meatpacking District from the High Line, now attracting the less criminal element.