The photographs in this section are primarily from the early period of the Highline, before developers began destroying the old industrial and low-rent residential buildings in favor of new, futurist high-rent condos, apartments, and multi-use buildings in and around Hudson Yards. In the beginning (doesn't this sound like a fairy-tale?) the Highline was a perfect place for a gentle stroll, where a person could stop and enjoy a unique perspective of the city or the Hudson River. As word of this wonderful experience spread, more and more visitors flooded the narrow, elevated rail-bed, so that today, the visitor must keep moving because stretches are too crowded. The rail-bed is now a human river, but visiting it remains an unusual experience; the ever-changing array of art and graffiti challenges the senses.
One casualty of the gentrification of the area surrounding the Highline is the disappearance of long-standing businesses, such as the restaurant La Lunchonette (their spelling). Opened in 1988, this restaurant was a hangout for old-time residents of the West Village, the Meat Packing District, and Chelsea. Long past its prime, it's shabbiness made it more interesting, turning it into a touch of France in the city, until it closed.
A smart move that helped establish the Highline as an important destination and to speed up the transformation of the Meat Packing District was moving the Whitney Museum to the southern end of the Highline. People, places, and things change around the Highline. In these images, you will see what it had been in the beginning and what it is now.
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