Savvy New Yorkers are bringing about the transformation of "the High Line, " a 1.4 mile elevated rail line bed on the West Side that once carried "dairy products, produce, meats and other foods directly inside refrigerated warehouses and factories, including the National Biscuit Company, now Chelsea Market, where Oreo cookies and Uneeda Biscuits were baked." From the mid 1800's freight trains rolled through the city streets from the docks, and with 105 street crossings along the way, accidents were common. Finally the locals decided to hire young men over eighteen--12 of them--to ride horseback in front of oncoming trains, waving redflags to alert pedestrians and drivers alike to potential danger. These West Side Cowboys had their day until about 1929 when the decision was made to build an elevated rail line.
Said rail line, a true lifeline supplying foodstuffs for the city, lost favor as trucks slowly became the transport vehicles of choice. The final train in 1980 pulled three carloads of frozen turkeys. ( The fact that this info has been preserved delights Foodie's soul.)
Since then Mom Nature had insistently reclaimed the railbed, finding toeholds in the tainted, lead-filled soil. The High Line became a green ribbon of diverse plant species that delighted those who lived along it. Private property developers, however, were all for tearing it down.
Right at the brink of its demolition in 1999 an assorted group of activists who saw potential in the Line as a public open space came together to form Friends of the High Line. On April 10 of this year construction began on the revitalization of a unique, food historic, space.