For almost 25 years, the old railroad lines along the west side of Chelsea that now form the High Line Park were an evocative, atmospheric sight in their state of neglect. These elevated tracks ran alongside, and sometimes even through, the buildings that had once housed small factories and warehouses. After the railroad was abandoned, the natural world returned and weeds began to sprout on the tracks creating an untended forest. This would prove to be the inspiration for the High Line Park, a long sinuous park twisting above the city streets that was designed by three of the country’s leading architecture and landscape design firms: James Corner Field Operations, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and Piet Oudolf. In place of that untended wilderness, the firms selected native grasses and other plants in scenes that combine contemporary design and inspiration from the landscapes of Manhattan before the city of New York existed. Today the High Line Park which runs from Jane Street (two blocks south of 14th) to 34th Street, mostly along Tenth Avenue, has become one of the city’s most popular attractions—a relic of the city’s industrial past reborn as a surprising urban oasis.
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