316 - Discover the High Line - High Line History

Ethan Hawke (Standard American accent)

The High Line: this historic elevated railway is now known as “New York’s park in the sky.” It’s a mile-and-a-half of meandering pathways, lush plantings and dramatic design, cutting through the heart of the Meatpacking District  and West Chelsea, but the High Line was once a bustling railroad, part of the industrial fabric of Manhattan’s West Side.
In the 1800s railroad tracks ran down the West Sidewaterfront, bringing goods to the factories and warehouses. The streets were crowded and the trains were dangerous. They caused so many accidents that Tenth Avenue was nicknamed “Death Avenue.” The railroad hired men on horseback to ride in front of every train. Each waved a red flag to warn pedestrians out of the way. These men were called “the West Side cowboys.” 
The High Line was built in the 1930s, part of a massive infrastructure project called “the West Side Improvement.” With its giant steel beams lifting freight trains 30 feet in the air, the High Line brought the New York Central Railroad right through the upper floors of factory and warehouse buildings. Trains in the High Line carried meat to the Meatpacking District, baking supplies to the National Biscuit Company, or Nabisco, now Chelsea Market, and many other goods to the West Side, but within just a few decades more and freight began to travel by trucks on the new interstatehighway system, rail traffic declined on the High Line, and part of it was torn downin the 1960s. The last train ran down the High Line before Thanksgiving in 1980, carrying three boxcars full of frozen turkeys. After the trains stopped running, the High Line sat unused, a rusty monument to the West SIde’s industrial past. On top of the tracks, nature began to take over...