In Southern California, there is ample open space where parks and other recreational areas are located. The urban space is reasonably horizontal and spread out with open areas for parking lots, big box retailers, parks, and other recreational areas such as soccer and baseball fields. There is a distinctive lack of tall buildings and dense development where I live, compared to other areas in the United States. When I visited New York for the first time, I was in awe of the height of buildings and the vertical density of development, which I was not accustomed to. This article takes a brief look at some open spaces located in New York— The High Line Park, Central Park, and Gotham Greens (a rooftop greenhouse)—that highlight the creative ways in which open space and nature are incorporated into an urban environment.
The High Line
The High Line is a public park located on a 1.45-mile-long elevated rail structure from Gansevoort Street to West 34th Street on Manhattan's West Side. Before its current use as a public park, the High Line was a freight rail line that was in operation from 1934 to 1980. This freight line used to transport meat, agricultural goods, and mail to the West Side. It was slated for demolition until activists and local groups united to save it.
The High Line Park as it exists now is elevated thirty feet above the street and contains curated woodlands, thickets, prairies, and meadows through twenty-two blocks of Manhattan’s West Side. The first section of the High Line opened on June 9, 2009 and runs from Gansevoort Street to West 20th Street. The second section, which runs between West 20th and West 30th Streets, opened June 8, 2011. The third and final section of the High Line goes between West 30th and West 34th Streets. Please refer to this website for additional information about the High Line.
Central Park is a large 843-acre park in Manhattan, which covers land from 59th Street to 110 Street between Fifth Avenue and Eighth Avenue. The origins of this park date back to 1853 when the New York State Legislature set aside over 750 acres of land in central Manhattan, creating the first major landscaped public park in America. This park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux.
Based in Brooklyn, Gotham Greens grows lettuces and other greens in its rooftop greenhouses. Greenpoint was developed in 2010 and is the first commercial-scale rooftop greenhouse in the United States.
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