Two Chelsea (lower Manhattan) residents, Joshua David and Robert Hammond, met at a community meeting (a first for both of them) to decide on the future of the elevated tracks. Neither had a planning or urban design background, but they were not short on energy or determination. They are credited with 20-year effort to bring the elevated park to fruition (and have just co-authored High Line: The Inside Story of New York City's Park in the Sky) due out this month.
"Mayor [Rudy] Giuliani really wanted to demolish the High Line," Hammond says. "One of his last acts in office - two days before he left - was signing the demolition order."
"(David and Hammond) wooed the Bloomberg administration with an economic feasibility study that showed the High Line would easily double its original $150 million cost in tax revenue from increased property values in the area. (That revenue figure has since been raised to nearly half a billion dollars.)" Bloomberg reversed the Giuliani demotion order.
The link includes a 13-photo gallery showing historic (freight line opened 1934 and was in operation till 1980) as well as contemporary photos).
Podcast: Take A Walking Tour Of The High Line