Burden visited the old railway tracks that were slated for imminent demolition and immediately fell in love with the wild floating oasis, which had become overgrown with vegetation during the decades of abandonment. As soon as she was appointed City Planning Commissioner, making it a public park for everyone to enjoy became her priority.
But while Burden saw what could be the defining feature of the neighborhood, maybe even the greatest public space in the world, most people saw only an old eyesore of urban infrastructure that was hindering the economic development of the area. Thus began an arduous process of gaining public approval, juggling the interests of developers and other government agencies, reworking complex zoning restrictions, and funding a project no one would be able to see from ground-level.
While the third and final phase has yet to open the High Line has already triggered over $2B worth of new development in the surrounding neighborhoods, and become the top international attraction Burden had a feeling it would be. It’s a vision many other cities are now hoping to recreate, but for us there will be only one High Line.
For more information, please visit Amanda Burden, NYC Department of City Planning.