After establishing their new part-time nest in the city, the country mice emerged to explore the neighborhood. A block and a half to the north is the start of the High Line Park (subject of the graphical journal below) and the same distance to the west puts you on the Hudson River Park which runs for miles with separate bike and pedestrian paths along the river. Long walks in these parks have quickly become part of my daily city-mouse routine.
The High Line is a refurbished stretch of the old elevated freight train track that serviced the industrial west side of Manhattan beginning in the 1930s. The elevated rail line was constructed because there were so many accidents involving the ubiquitous west-side street level freight train traffic that 10th Ave. became known as “Death Avenue”.
The High Line ran along side and even through the middle of industrial buildings to facilitate the loading and unloading of goods – it was quite successful in its day but eventually freight trains lost out to tractor trailers and the last three cars of frozen turkeys rolled from the meat-packing district in 1980.
Since then, the elevated rail spur fell in disrepair and was about to be demolished until a dedicated group of neighborhood volunteers known as The Friends of the High Line lobbied for public and private support to re-make the structure into a public park space. After three years, their hard work paid off and in 2002 the Bloomberg administration adopted the project as a cultural and economic revitalization for NYC. Construction began in 2005 and the first section of the park opened to the public in 2008.
Picture a hidden walkway lifted 30 feet above the streets on massive steel columns studded with rivets. On it you travel down Manhattan’s West Side, overlooking the Hudson River, with views to the midtown skyline… It is the future, and it is built on our past…. Friends of the High Line
Take a virtual stroll on the High Line below with Opinion8ed2’s photo journal (move cursor onto photo to pause, advance or reverse):
Not exactly the High Line, but pretty close (Steve Winwood’s classic, Back in the High Life, with some amazingly coincidental footage):