Ten years after The High Line opened to the public I walked the length of it. My only prior experience of The High Line had been through the lens of Iwaan Baan in a series of photos taken first when it opened in 2009, again in 2011 at the completion of the second phase and when he returned in 2014 as the third phase was completed. In 2019 shortly after this series was taken the final piece, the Spur was completed
In Iwaan Baan's photos in 2009, one experienced an ascension to an elevated open platform offering vistas of the surrounding area. In phase two things got busier with development increasing but the sense of openness was retained. In 2014 the third phase was completed wrapping around the end of a series of tracks with views out to the Hudson River and back across the tracks to the developing Hudson Yards.
On its 10th anniversary the High Line offers a new experience. The openness of a platform has been replaced with the feeling of walking through a valley. The unobstructed views courtesy of the low lying car parks, yards and warehouses of the former industrial neighbourhoods either side have since been replaced by high rise buildings soaring up either side. Only the third phase retains its openness, for now.
The High Line became a catalyst for development picking up its share of critics and admirers along the way. One however cannot deny the sense of spectacle here that has always drawn people to New York. It’s what drives thousands to traverse it everyday and those wealthy enough to choose to live along its constantly animated path.