Two “average Joes” organized others, and the city eventually listened, hiring James Corner Field Operations for the redesign.
It's a fascinating story -- how Robert Hammond and Joshua David attended a public meeting determined to keep the abandoned High Line railway from being torn down, but they never intended to lead the struggle. In 1999 they found themselves forming Friends of the High Line with opposition from every corner: city officials, developers, and neighborhood groups. The tide turned in 2001-2002, when photographer Joel Sternfeld captured the beauty and potential of the abandoned line in a series of compelling photographs. In 2009, 10 years after its initial conceptualization, the first phase of The High Line "park in the sky" opened in the lower West side of Manhattan. It has spurred some $2 billion in ancillary development, and has had a positive effect on the local crime rate, with not a single serious offense reported on the High Line since it opened.