About the High Line

Fostering a strong community and neighborhood

Friends of the High Line

The non-profit caretakers of the High Line

Who We Are

Friends of the High Line is the 501(c)3 non-profit, private partner to the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. We fund virtually all the High Line’s operations by raising contributions, and we work with the City to make sure the High Line is maintained as a great public place for all.

Our Mission

Through excellence in operations, stewardship, innovative programming, and world-class design, we seek to engage the vibrant and diverse community on and around the High Line, and to raise the essential private funding to help complete the High Line’s construction and create an endowment for its future operations.

About history1

History

A revitalized piece of New York City’s past

1934
As part of the West Side Improvement Project, the High Line opens to trains. It runs from 34th Street to St John’s Park Terminal, at Spring Street. It is designed to go through the center of blocks, rather than over the avenue, carrying goods to and from Manhattan’s largest industrial district.
1980s
Following decades-long growth in the interstate trucking industry, the last train runs on the High Line in 1980, pulling three carloads of frozen turkeys. A group of property owners lobbies for demolition while Peter Obletz, a Chelsea resident, activist, and railroad enthusiast, challenges demolition efforts in court.
1999
Friends of the High Line is founded by Joshua David and Robert Hammond, residents of the High Line neighborhood, to advocate for the High Line’s preservation and reuse as public open space.
2002-2003
The planning framework for the High Line’s preservation and reuse begins. A study done by Friends of the High Line finds that the High Line project is economically rational, and leads to an open ideas competition, Designing the High Line.
March-September 2004
Friends of the High Line and the Ciy of New York conduct a process to select a design team for the High Line. The selected team is James Corner Field Operations, a landscape architecture firm, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and Piet Oudolf, planting designer.
2005-2006
The City accepts ownership of the High Line which is donated by CSX Transportation, Inc. in November 2005; Groundbreaking is celebrated in April 2006.
June 9, 2009
Section 1 (Gansevoort Street to West 20th Street) opens to the public.
June 8, 2011
Section 2 (West 20th Street to West 30th Street) opens to the public.
April-September 2012
The New York City Planning Commission approves a zoning text amendment for High Line at the Rail Yards. Groundbreaking is celebrated on the High Line at the Rail Yards September 20, 2012.
September 21, 2014
The third and northernmost section on the park, the High Line at the Rail Yards, opens to the public. Friends of the High Line celebrates 15 years of successful advocacy to preserve the entire structure.

Design

World-class design and curating

About design

The High Line design is a collaboration between James Corner Field Operations (Project Lead), Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and Piet Oudolf.

The Structure

Converting each section of the High Line from an out-of-use railroad trestle to a public landscape entailed more than two years of construction per section in a multi-step process.

Planting Design

The High Line’s planting design is inspired by the self-seeded landscape that grew on the out-of-use elevated rail tracks during the 25 years after trains stopped running. The species of perennials, grasses, shrubs and trees were chosen for their hardiness, sustainability, and textural and color variation, with a focus on native species. Many of the species that originally grew on the High Line’s rail bed are incorporated into the park’s landscape.

Toyota
Our Partners

Support for High Line Horticulture is provided by Toyota and Greenacre Foundation.

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Photography

Storytelling through images

The movement to save the High Line was catalyzed by iconic photographs of the self-seeded landscape that grew up when the trains stopped running that were captured by Joel Sternfeld in 2000, nine years before the park would open to the public. Joel’s photos showed the innate beauty of the High Line and inspired the local community to dream about what was possible.

Since that time, photography has played a central role in telling the story of the High Line, from showcasing the park’s dynamic and engaging public programs to celebrating the ever-changing colors and textures of the park’s plants, and sharing the special everyday moments that visitors capture with friends and family.

The High Line Flickr Pool brings together photographers from all over the world to share their unique perspective on the park. Dive in and discover another side to the High Line.