Final phase of construction of West Side Highline begins
The final leg of the Highline project is under way and city officials say once completed, it will be a literal road to the all-new, all-different West Side.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and others broke ground at the third and final section of the elevated park at 30th Street and 10th Avenue Thursday.
The construction, slated to be completed in 2014, will increase the park's length to 1.45 miles.
"The rail yard's section will extend and expand on the Highline's distinct design," the mayor said.
A group of preservationists called the Friends of the High Line came up with the idea of transforming the abandoned railroad along the West Side into a park in 1999.
After years of working with the city, and gaining support and donations from celebrities like Ed Norton and Diane von Furstenberg, the first part of the high line opened in 2009 with its first section in Chelsea.
The mayor said since the park's debut t, 10 million visitors from all over the world have walked its path. The third portion will move west toward 12th Avenue and curve around the Hudson rail yards on 34th Street.
Bloomberg said the Highline would complement the development of the West Side and show tourists and New Yorkers alike a 21st Century Manhattan.
"The third portion of the Highline will integrate seamlessly into that neighborhood and thriving districts of West Chelsea and the meat packing district," Bloomberg said.
Members of Friends of the Highline said they were grateful that their dream would become a complete reality.
"Our ultimate goal has always been to open the Highline all the way to 34th Street. There were times we thought it wouldn't happen . . . but here we are to celebrate the beginning of construction," the coalition's co-founder Robert Hammond said.