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Photo by Jim Shaughnessy

Turkeys on the High Line

By Erika Harvey | November 23, 2016

This photo from the 1950s shows a locomotive chugging along the High Line at West 30th Street.Photo by Jim Shaughnessy

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we’re reminded of a fun fact from the High Line’s industrial past. As legend has it, in 1980, after years of declining use, the final train chugged down the elevated railway carrying three carloads of frozen turkeys.

This last shipment of turkeys marked the end of an era in which the High Line played an integral role in bringing raw materials and food in and out of New York City. Since its construction in 1934, the High Line had transported meat, raw goods, and manufactured products to and from the area’s factories, including the Nabisco bakery within the building that is now home to Chelsea Market.

Today, as you stroll through the park, you will see remnants of the High Line’s past function as an active railway preserved in the park’s design. Spurs where the trains once pulled into neighboring buildings to load and unload their freight are now horticultural preserves. The High Line’s original rail tracks are embedded within the planting beds. You can even spot old meat hooks hanging along the factory buildings near the southern end of the High Line.

Stop by the park to look for signs of the area’s industrial history along the High Line and the neighboring buildings. The High Line will be open through the Thanksgiving holiday weekend for normal hours, 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM. Please note that winter hours go into effect on Thursday, December 1, with the park being open from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM.

Learn more about the High Line’s food history.