New York City’s High Line is celebrating its 10th anniversary, with the tourist attraction marking the occasion by opening its final piece.
The project transformed an abandoned, elevated freight line into a public walk that now attracts an estimated eight million annual visitors.
When it opened on 9 June 2009, then-mayor Michael Bloomberg promised the 1.5-mile (2.4km) park in Manhattan would be an “extraordinary gift to our city’s future”.
A decade on, the High Line is widely accepted to have transformed a neighbourhood known for industrial buildings, car parks and car repair shops.
Now the area includes the Whitney Museum of American Art and Hudson Yards, a $25bn (£19.6bn) development of skyscrapers, shops and a performing arts centre.
But there is a debate as to whether it has exacerbated the area’s gentrification and become a victim of its own success.
In the beginning, the park was noted for its ability to lift visitors above the streets below and give them a unique view, unimpeded by high-rise buildings.
But now it is nestled among a number of tall, luxury apartment buildings that have sprung up along its sides.
In one, an 11-room penthouse is listed at $58.5m (£45.9m).
Robert Hammond co-founded the High Line with Joshua David and is the executive director of the non-profit organisation that manages the park in partnership with the city.
He said it deserves neither all the credit nor all the blame for the buildings now blocking some of its views – and that the net effect of it has been overwhelmingly positive.
“The High Line becomes a lightning rod for love and hate,” Mr Hammond said.
“This neighbourhood was going to change. It was a manufacturing neighbourhood. It was going to be rezoned.”
The High Line marked the 10th anniversary by opening its final piece last week.
The Spur straddles the intersection of 10th Avenue and West 30th Street and connects the High Line with Hudson Yards.
It includes a dedicated space for art, called the Plinth, with its inaugural commission a 5m (16ft) bust of a black female figure by artist Simone Leigh.
Brick House is “a very powerful female presence in a very masculine, vertical landscape,” according to Cecilia Alemani, the High Line’s chief art curator.
The High Line was built in the 1930s to raise freight trains above street level, but by the 1980s the volume of traffic had dwindled and operations stopped.
Efforts to preserve the line have been ongoing since then, but the movement has not always been universally supported.
Former mayor Rudy Giuliani wanted the tracks torn down because he thought they were an eyesore.
Source: SKY NEWS