Take a walk on the high side
The High Line has become one of New York's most popular attractions.

I'm taking a walk on the wild side, in the centre of Manhattan, by wandering along what has become one of New York City's most popular attractions, the High Line.

The former rail line is about 2km long, running from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th and 11th avenues, on Manhattan's west side.

It provides a relaxing and pleasant way to examine the myriad artworks on display as well as the thriving gardens. Walls of buildings next to the line have also been used to display artworks.

As an added bonus, the elevated walkway provides views of the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building and the Statue of Liberty.

Built in the 1930s, the High Line was part of a big public-private infrastructure project called the West Side Improvement that provided a freight line to what was then Manhattan's biggest industrial district.

The rail line was built 10m above the New York streets to separate car and pedestrian traffic from the trains.

It stopped being used in 1980 and by the late 1990s was under threat of demolition.

In 1999, a community-based non-profit group called the Friends of the High Line was formed to save the line.

The group now works in partnership with the City of New York to preserve and maintain the structure as an elevated public park.

We finish our walk part way along the line at another heritage site which has been given a new lease of life in more recent years, the Chelsea Markets, a rabbit warren of eateries and shops in a restored factory.

Entry to the High Line is free. Opening hours vary by season. thehighline.org.

The West Australian

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