Official description from High Line:
The High Line was built in the 1930s, as part of a massive public-private infrastructure project called the West Side Improvement. It lifted freight traffic 30 feet in the air, removing dangerous trains from the streets of Manhattan's largest industrial district. No trains have run on the High Line since 1980. Friends of the High Line, a community-based non-profit group, formed in 1999 when the historic structure was under threat of demolition. Friends of the High Line works in partnership with the City of New York to preserve and maintain the structure as an elevated public park.
The project gained the City's support in 2002. The High Line south of 30th Street was donated to the City by CSX Transportation Inc. in 2005. The design team of landscape architects James Corner Field Operations, with architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro, created the High Line's public landscape with guidance from a diverse community of High Line supporters. Construction on the park began in 2006. The first section, from Gansevoort Street to West 20th Street, opened June 9, 2009. The second section, from West 20th Street to West 30th Street, is projected to open in spring, 2011.
For those of us born in regions where acres of undeveloped grassland were the status quo, the High Line, even in its toddler years, feels more like *the* park of New York than Central Park. Another plus: no runners or bikers to make you feel like a slob.
The High Line is a 1.45-mile (2.33 km) New York City park built on a section of the former elevated freight railroad spur called the West Side Line, which runs along the lower west side of Manhattan; it has been redesigned and planted as an aerial greenway. The High Line Park currently runs from Gansevoort Street, one block below West 12th Street, in the Meatpacking District, up to 20th Street, and will eventually run through the neighborhood of Chelsea to the West Side Yard, near the Javits Convention Center. The recycling of the railway into an urban park has spurred real estate development in the neighborhoods which lie along the line.