Crain’s New York
September 20, 2012
By Tania Karas
The city broke ground Thursday on the third and final section of the wildly popular High Line, an elevated, West Side public park converted from an abandoned freight rail.
The $90 million addition will be completed in phases, with the first scheduled to be completed in 2014. A mix of public and private funds will finance the project.
A mix of city officials and socialites, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, attended Thursday’s groundbreaking ceremony.
“Today we celebrate a major step toward completing our vision of turning the entire High Line into a one-of-a-kind public park,” Mr. Bloomberg said. “The park has become a local treasure and an international icon, as well as an important generator of economic growth for our city.”
The third section will extend the park north, between West 30th and West 34th streets, and from 10th to 12th avenues, wrapping around the site of the planned Hudson Rail Yards. That development is also slated to start construction this fall.
CSX Transportation Inc., the Florida-based railroad company that owns and once operated the tracks at the High Line, donated the last section to the city in July.
Today, the mile-long park draws 4 million visitors annually. Area residents rallied to save the former rail line from demolition in the 1990s, advocating for its use as a public park space. The first section of the park opened to the public in 2009, with a second section added two years later.
Since then, the park—which sits 23 feet in the air and is accessible by elevators and stairs—has been home to several outdoor art installments, films screenings, events and exhibitions, complementing the artsy Chelsea neighborhood it runs through.
The High Line’s new section will add an additional half-mile of space and feature a children’s play area.
Though the city owns the High Line, it is maintained and operated by Friends of the High Line, the nonprofit organization that originally saved it from demolition.
The City Council dedicated $10 million toward the project, while Friends of the High Line raised $20 million from private donors. Related Cos. and Oxford Properties Group, the developers behind the 26-acre Hudson Yards, also committed $27.8 million toward the High Line’s new section.