Not many people remember it now, but in the early part of the last century New York was an industrial city. In Western Manhattan, the Meatpacking District bustled with 200 companies that prepared meat for shipment to other markets.
Originally, meatpacking products were conveyed on a ground-level rail line. As the city grew more crowded, pedestrian-rail accidents increased, and so, in 1934, an elevated track, called the High Line, was built 30 feet above the roadway to send products to rail terminals and shipping piers.
But times changed. Trucks replaced rail shipping, and meatpacking companies began moving out of Manhattan, typically to Brooklyn, where roads were less crowded and rents were lower. After a final shipment of frozen turkeys in 1980, the High Line was abandoned.
Over time, the rail platform reverted to a state of nature. Seeds carried by wind and birds embedded themselves among the tracks and grew into natural stands of weeds. The whole thing grew to look rather shabby.
Meanwhile, the Meatpacking District had turned into a neighborhood of trendy bars and restaurants. By the turn of the Millenium, owners of neighboring buildings were lobbying to tear down the now dowdy High Line.
Some visionaries advanced a different plan. They reasoned that the abandoned tracks were the only available open space in a very crowded urban neighborhood. They proposed turning the High Line into a public park.
Here is the result.