Prior to 1934, Tenth Avenue was known as “Death Avenue,” because of the many accidents caused by then at-grade trains that ran on the street. New York Central Railroad built a new elevated train to service the area and improve safety, the West Side elevated, which we now know as The High Line. Trains passed through approximately 30 buildings, including meat packers and the Nabisco factory, which added to the neighborhood's distinctive architecture. Freight traffic began to decline in the 1960s as trucking became the preferred mode of commercial transportation, and the last train ran on the elevated in 1980.
Many landlords and neighbors wanted the abandoned structure demolished. In 1999, a group of activists rallied to save the structure and convert it into a unique public space. The first phase of the new park, designed by the renowned landscape architects Field Operations, the planting designer Piet Oudolf, and architects Diller, Scofidio + Renfro, opened to the public in 2009. Today you can stroll uninterrupted from Gansevoort Street to the Javits Convention Center and experience the city from a whole new vantage point.
Gansevoort Market Historic District: State and National Register of Historic Places Registration Form (2007).
Gansevoort Market Historic District: Designation Report. New York Landmarks Preservation Commission (2003).
The High Line website
Off the Grid. Village Preservation blog.