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In just a few years, the High Line Park has become one of New York’s star tourist attractions and a force in revitalizing Manhattan’s west side. Construction of its third and final segment is expected to start this fall and city officials expect it to spark another surge in development when it reopens in 2014.
The demand to see the High Line Park’s closed-off wilderness was so high that weekend tour tickets sold out in a couple hours. Those who beat the rush enjoyed what may be some of the last solitary afternoon walks along the High Line before construction begins on its third and final phase.
The High Line’s final leg extends the park an extra half-mile from 30th Street to 34th Street and through the 26-acre Hudson Yards project, which is expected to include more than 12 million square feet of new development. The High Line Park, which had an estimated 3.7 million visitors in 2011 (almost double the traffic in 2010, according to Friends of the High Line), is credited with revitalizing Manhattan’s Far West.
But on Saturday, you could look across the entire expanse of the third section and not see more than a few other people. The grounds were so rough with wild overgrowth, debris, and even barbed wire, that visitors had to sign waivers. There were no signs telling visitors to stay off the wild grass or atop the unused rails.
The first phase of the new High Line section is expected to open in 2014. Until then, here are some photos of what the High Line Park looks like with more plants than people.