The Highline Park – public, and elevated, and located on the west side of Manhattan – nearly doubled in length this past June, leaving homeowners and business owners unsure of what to expect.
The Highline Park is a vestige of the NY meatpacking industry; its function was to provide for the transportation of cattle between coastal ports and the slaughterhouses further downtown. Today, however, it has a much different use. It has become a very popular attraction for tourists and New Yorkers alike, who flock to the urban structure to experience its beauty and unlikely location. Its inconvenience forces many people to travel much further west than they otherwise would consider doing, thus increasing pedestrian traffic.
“We were expecting more people, of course, but we weren’t expecting this many tourists to come into the restaurant on a daily basis,” said Kendrick Greer, manager at The Half King Pub on 23rd Street. “I can’t say the wait staff is too thrilled, but I know the owners are happy with the new revenue.”
Yet while local business is thriving, The Highline has also facilitated an increase in property value along the Meatpacking/Chelsea corridor. This estimated 10%-14% increase in property value translated into higher tax revenue for the city of New York, but for some residences, the park comes as an annoyance.
“I’ve lived here for almost fifteen years and I pay enough for my home,” said Mike Hoffer, local resident. “I’m just waiting for someone to come knocking on my door to reassess its value!”
Well over a year into its opening, The Highline Park experiment has become precisely what its designers and the city intended it to be: a modern, urban, open space uniquely integrated into the industrial neighborhoods near the west coast of the island. Objectively speaking, the city has successfully turned the abandoned and decrepit train tracks into a busting park for the thousands to enjoy.
Esu Manulah, 25, who lives directly above the park, said, “I miss waking up in the morning and not having anyone around. Now I have to look at French and German families taking pictures all day, but I guess it was bound to happen….”