City Moves to Acquire Northern Portion of the High Line

Image: Joel Sternfeld ©2000, courtesy of Friends of the High Line.

Acquisition of the High Line’s third section would allow the City to complete contiguous 1.45-mile elevated public park. On May 12, 2010, the City Planning Commission heard testimony on the Department of Citywide Administrative Services and the Department of Parks & Recreation’s proposal to acquire the northern portion of the High Line elevated rail line from CSX Corporation. This section branches out from Tenth Avenue and 30th Street — a portion referred to as the “spur” — and runs east along the perimeter of the Hudson Yards on West 30th Street before turning north up Twelfth Avenue and terminating below grade at West 34th Street. The acquisition would facilitate the transfer of ownership to the City and permit the development of the High Line’s third and final section.

The High Line is a 1.45-mile elevated steel and concrete rail line built in the 1930s to deliver meat and other goods throughout Manhattan’s lower west side. Trains stopped running along the High Line in 1980, and nearly twenty years later community activists formed Friends of the High Line in order to preserve the High Line and advocate for the construction of a publicly accessible park on the structure.

In 2005, CSX donated the portion of the High Line south of 30th Street to the City. The High Line’s first section, which runs from Gansevoort Street to West 20th Street between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues, opened to the public in June 2009. The High Line’s second section extends north from West 20th Street to West 30th Street and is scheduled to open in 2011.

The third section is located above property owned by the Javits Center Development Corporation and the Metropolitan Transit Authority, including the Hudson Yards’ Western Rail Yard. Related Companies is in the process of purchasing the Western Rail Yard, and all underlying property owners would be included in the future development of the High Line’s third section.

At the Commission’s hearing, representatives from Manhattan Community Board 4, Friends of the High Line, and Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer’s office spoke in support. Friends of the High Line’s Peter Mullan said the proposal would be “the linchpin” to allow the development of the High Line’s final section. Anthony Borelli, land use director for Borough President Stringer, said, “it’s safe to say the High Line has been saved.” He, however, also noted that there was much planning and design work ahead.

The Commission has until June 28, 2010 to vote on the proposal.

CPC: High Line (C 100180 PCM – site sel. & acq.) (May 12, 2010).



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