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Jacqueline and Erick

The High Line is our place to reflect on our childhood in Chelsea. Our parents moved us to the neighborhood in 1968. In the late 1970s and early 1980s when the West Side Highway and High Line was abandoned; this was our urban jungle and playground.

Our brother, John, used to climb up from the old building of Roxy’s/1018 Club and the old Mendon Mechanic Service station (currently the Lantern House) to the rooftops and slide down on the “bat pole” which was located in the space now occupied by the Whitney. John and Erick had a rooftop clubhouse adjacent to 18th Street.

We even buried a beloved hamster on the 17th Street location of the tracks, which had a set of stairs that led to the High Line.

Erick, our siblings, and I love to bring friends and family to the High Line to reminisce and to enjoy the beautiful transformation that helped preserve this amazing Chelsea and West Village landmark. Erick has collaborated with the High Line’s Programs Department in the past few years to share photographic memories of our Chelsea neighborhood, as well as develop events that bring the High Line and Fulton Houses together.

As a former Fulton Houses resident and returnee, I am so happy to work at the High Line as a Visitor Service Associate and share my stories. Incidentally, I saw the job posted on the door of my family’s building. It’s amazing for us to see the way visitors engage with what was once a neglected and underused area and now developed as a world-class destination and must-see site in New York City.

—Jackie Velez