A New York State of Mind: Life on The High Line

New York City is the classic concrete jungle — characterized by its towering skyscrapers with brick facades and neon signs for color. But even in this awe-inspiring, expansive manmade structure, it’s possible to find a refreshing stretch of nature. No, I’m not talking about Central Park. There’s an equally memorable green space in a more unlikely location— an abandoned freight line!

The High Line is a park — complete with restaurants, event venues, and jogging tracks — that was once the busiest line in the city. Today it’s a beautifully landscaped public space that meanders through the city — but it’s been through a lot to get there.

History

 

Long before the parks and art galleries, the High Line had a more practical purpose

In the mid 1800s, The High Line was nothing more than a set of tracks for freight trains to efficiently transport meat, dairy, and produce throughout the city. However these lines were also a threat to pedestrians, and by 1910 over 540 people had been killed in train accidents. By 1924, it was decided to convert the tracks into an elevated rail line and The High Line was born, and saw frequent use until the 1980s.

 

Years of neglect lead to a wonderful surprise — and overgrown garden of wild flora

In the decade or so after, it slowly fell into disrepair, becoming something of an eyesore in the city. Sections of the line were even demolished and it looked like the end was near for this piece of New York history. But away from prying eyes, ‘The Line’ had become home to a thriving garden of wild flora, which inspired the foundation of ‘Friends of The High Line’. This non-profit conservatory organisation was dedicated to saving The Line from destruction by turning it into a park and conducting a world wide brainstorm of what it could be used for. In 2009, the first section of The Line was open to the public, and as of today the park stretches 1.45 miles. It is home to over 500 species of plants and trees, and is maintained, operated, and curated by Friends of The High Line and the New York City Parks and Recreation Department.

 

Significance

The High Line is more than a park, it’s a microcosm of New York City’s social ecosystem. As you walk the mile on an average day, you can see people of every age, ethnicity, and social stature jogging down a track, grabbing a bite to eat, taking part in community programs, or enjoying the installations — all without leaving the strip. It’s a focal point of the community, somewhere where everyone and anyone can have fun — whether their interests lie in hip-hop, culinary science, or art appreciation.

 

 

As The High Line goes to show, in New York City beauty can be found in the most unusual places. This is an ideal that Jockey shares with the Big Apple — so much so that their latest collection is the inspired by the city itself. Just like The High Line, the NYC collection is a celebration of history, culture, and, above all, style — a tribute to the vibrant spirit of New York.

 

Shivangi’s interests include video games, psychology, and everything in between. Certified night owl, official nerd, and purveyor of fun facts. Follow her on instagram (@stixer11) if you want to meet her dog.

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