We have exciting news to share with you.
The City of New York has acquired the title to the third and final section of the High Line from CSX Transportation, Inc. The transfer of ownership paves the way to begin construction so that the last stretch can open to the public one day soon.
Follow us after the jump to read about what this means for the High Line.
On Tuesday, Mayor Bloomberg announced the City’s acquisition of the High Line at the rail yards from CSX Transportation, Inc. The news marks an important point in the history of the High Line. This elevated railway viaduct, originally built in 1934 to carry freight trains, is now entirely owned by the City of New York and poised to be fully transformed into a one-of-a-kind public space.
The High Line’s final stretch wraps around the West Side Rail Yards, an active site used by the Long Island Rail Road, bounded by West 30th and West 34th Streets to the south and north, and 10th and 12th Avenues to the east and west. CSX has donated this section to the City of New York, just as it did for the elevated rail structure south of West 30th Street.
This donation marks the latest step in a long history of CSX’s visionary support for the transformation of the High Line into a public park. In 1999, the company commissioned the Regional Plan Association to study re-purposing the High Line, including the possibility of enrolling the viaduct in the Federal “Rails to Trails” program, which would later become the legal framework for transforming the High Line into public open space. In 2005, CSX and the City of New York entered into a Trail Use Agreement for the High Line, and CSX donated the High Line south of West 30th Street to the City. Taken together, these actions effectively preserved the High Line and led the way for it to open as a public park in 2009.
Our next steps are fundraising to pay for the estimated $90 million cost of constructing the rail yards section of the park, and collaborating with the City of New York and the High Line Design Team of James Corner Field Operations, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and Piet Oudolf to complete the designs.
The latest design renderings will be shared with the community at a design presentation on Monday, July 30 at 6:30 PM, on the High Line at West 14th Street. The design process got underway in December when we invited our neighbors and supporters to a community input meeting to give feedback and share ideas for the High Line’s final section. The design team listened to the public’s comments, and created a series of initial concepts that were presented at a follow-up community input meeting in March. Since then, the team has been working to refine the designs in response to community feedback, and we look forward to presenting the updated renderings with you on Monday.
The High Line stands today thanks to a broad community of supporters. We would like to take a moment to acknowledge some of people who worked hard to reach this important milestone.
We are deeply grateful to Mayor Bloomberg and the many members of his administration who have worked on this project, as well as Speaker Christine Quinn and the New York City Council for steadfast dedication, partnership, and vision. Thanks to the visionary leadership of the Mayor and the Speaker, the High Line was saved from demolition and turned into one of our city’s most beloved public spaces.
Our elected officials at the Federal, State, and City levels have provided critical support and invaluable guidance: Senator Charles Schumer, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, New York State Senator Tom Duane, New York State Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. We would also like to thank Manhattan Community Boards 2 and 4, the Metropolitan Transit Authority, Related Companies, and CSX Transportation, Inc. for sharing the vision of making the High Line a treasured amenity for the neighborhood and all New Yorkers.
Finally, we would like to thank you. As supporters of Friends of the High Line, you have helped make this historic occasion possible. You’ve supported our advocacy efforts since the very beginning. You wrote letters. You attended public meetings. You supported our studies, reports, and regulatory initiatives. What seemed impossible when we started our work just over a decade ago is now within reach. Thanks to you, we are closer than ever before to achieving our ultimate goal: opening the entire High Line to the public.