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Author: 
Kate Lindquist
Friends of the High Line staff take a tour of the Reading Viaduct with members of the non-profit group dedicated to creating a public park in the space, Viaduct Greene. Photo by Rick Darke.Friends of the High Line staff take a tour of the Reading Viaduct with members of the non-profit group dedicated to creating a public park in the space, Viaduct Greene. Photo by Rick Darke.
 

New York City is not the only urban center in the United States with an elevated railway like the High Line.

Enlargereading viaduct2

In Philadelphia, an old freight and passenger rail line called the Reading Viaduct winds above the streets and between buildings just north of the city’s center. Just like the High Line, the trains stopped running decades ago, and since then nature has taken over the tracks. The self-seeded landscape has inspired some local residents to join together to advocate for the historic structure to be transformed into public open space.

We took a field trip to Philadelphia on October 20 to walk the line, observe the wild landscape, and share ideas with Paul vanMeter and Liz Maillie of Viaduct Greene, the non-profit dedicated to creating a new public park on the structure. Follow us after the jump for photos and more.

Author: 
Erika Harvey
Emily and KidsBefore it was transformed into a public park, the High Line carried freight trains to and from the warehouses and factories along Manhattan’s West Side. Today, the High Line serves as a tool to teach kids about the city’s industrial history.
 

Halloween Hi-Jinks on the High Line is one of several educational initiatives to strengthen our partnerships with the neighborhood public schools, and teach kids about the High Line through fun, interactive, hands-on activities.

WATCH VIDEO: New York City News Service covered the event. Check out their news video.

We would like to thank the following organizations for supporting our partnerships with local public schools: the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, with additional support from the Altman Foundation; The Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston; The Concordia Foundation; The Milton & Sally Avery Arts Foundation; and, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Follow us after the jump for a photo tour of the project.

Author: 
Kate Lindquist


Designers, architects, engineers, and planning nerds like us will appreciate A.O. Scott’s review of Gary Hustwit’s new film, Urbanized in today’s New York Times.

“Like a really good class taught by a team of enthusiastic professors, Urbanized supplies grist for many late-night arguments or solitary ruminations. It is worth venturing out of your room, climbing on your bike or boarding a low-emissions bus and fighting your way through a crowd to see.”

Author: 
Salmaan Khan
EnlargeA West Side Cowboy.

Friends of the High Line supporter Flo Muller was kind enough to point out a fascinating description of the days before the High Line, filled with cowboys and trains on the streets of Manhattan, in Mario Puzo’s book The Fortunate Pilgrim;

Author: 
admin
ed devlinEd Devlin, on his wedding day in 1950, and working at the Metropolitan Museum in 2009
 

We were recently lucky enough to speak with a former New York Central Railroad employee named Ed Devlin. Sixty years ago, Ed worked at the rail yards that fed onto the High Line when it was part of a working railroad. He was kind enough to share his memories from long before the park in the sky was ever known as the High Line.

ED: It was 1949, and I had just come out of the Marine Corps. I worked at New York Central from 1949 to 1953. My hours were 6:00 PM to 2:00 AM – devastating hours for a newlywed. Approximately once a week, I'd be sent over to the rail yards at 10th to 12th  Avenue in the west 70's. My job was just to look at the freight train as it went by.

I would stand there near a spotlight and do two things. I had to write down the name of each freight car – New York Central, Bangor & Maine, Pennsylvania Railroad, Santa Fe, etc. – and the number on the car, which had something like nine or ten digits. And even though the train was moving at maybe eight or nine miles an hour, it went by fast. It was tricky. I had to remember the names and numbers and write quickly.

At first I wondered why I was doing this. And then I found out that each railroad would charge the other railroads a passage fee for using their tracks. Additionally, it was important to make sure the cars were in the right order for every building scheduled for the drop. The cars' numbers related to their proper order.

Author: 
admin
tommy
 

Friends of the High Line staff have known neighborhood resident Tommy Flamer for a long time. Before Section 1 opened, Tommy was a fixture at all of our Rail Yards hearings, community meetings, and public programs. We would often spot him walking underneath the High Line, looking up.  Always curious and ready to chat, his excitement and friendly demeanor led to quick friendships with many of us on staff. Since the park opened, Tommy sightings on the High Line have been commonplace.

When I finally got to sit down with Tommy on a brisk December evening to ask him some questions, I found an untapped treasure chest of historical information on the High Line and the surrounding neighborhood. Tommy has lived in Chelsea since 1968, and has lived in his current home on 18th Street since 1979. As a young man he worked as a stock boy at the now defunct Valley Drugs, a pharmacy on 14th Street and 7th Avenue, and then as an elevator operator in London Terrace and at the Leo House.

Author: 
admin
1948The West Side, from about West 15th Street to West 10th Street. Courtesy Nick Jones.
 

High Line supporter Nick Jones recently sent this great aerial shot our way. He tells us it was taken in 1948, and that the aircraft  (from left to right a Stinson SR-10, Grumman Widgeon, and Grumman Goose) are all NYPD planes.

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