A southwest view of the viaduct as it makes its turn east. Interesting to note here that the construction of the viaduct is different than all of the other section of the viaduct. North of West 33rd Street, the viaduct takes on new characteristics. The fence on top of the viaduct is higher in size then the Pennsylvania Railroad style fence that we saw earlier along West 30th Street. The concrete stanchions look newer, and the cement facade does not appear to be the original facade that graced the viaduct when it was first built. Notice the design of the facade - it's very practical, with no considerations for aesthetics. You can tell that the old construction engineers and architects didn't design this part of the High Line!
I wonder when this section of the line was rebuilt, and why? Did
planners have bigger plans for the High Line at the time? I think
the next picture will provide us with a theory as to why this was done.
The High Line as it makes it's descent to the surface. The line runs in an easterly direction at this point. The glass building in the background is the Javits Convention Center. During construction of the Javits Convention center, the ROW cut was closed. A new tunnel was built under the Javits Center in order to link up the cut with the High Line and West Side Yard. The cut and new tunnel was reopened by Amtrak in 1991, and the railroad uses this line to today.
This may explain why the High Line is reconstructed in this area.
The following is my theory on this: The High Line curves in order
to position itself east of West 34th Street. The line gradually descends
to the surface, where it would then meet up with a tunnel. Towards
11th Avenue, there appears to be a tunnel portal that the High Line
may have used to connect to the cut at 35th Street. With the advent
of the construction of the Javits Center and the new railroad tunnel that
ran under the convention center, the ROW may have been rerouted from the
33rd Street and 11th Avenue tunnel to the new tunnel under the Javits center.
This new tunnel may have required reconstruction of the High Line's viaduct
in this area. This is only a guess on my part, and if an OldNYC.com
reader contributes other information on this particular topic, I will be
happy to post it.
OldNYC.com contributor Peter Kaufman backs-up my theory: "You are exactly right in your speculation. When the LIRR West Side Yard was built, that portion of the line had to be re-constructed. As part of that same job I believe, Amtrak/LIRR did the work that allowed access to the north-bound cut from Penn Station. That then allowed Amtrak to consolidate all its New York service in Penn Station. (previously, Albany bound service left from Grand Central)."
OldNYC.com contributor Lou Shavell adds this bit of information pertaining to
the reconstructed viaduct: "My father owned a grocery store at the corner of 21st Street and 9th Avenue
for 51 years - from 1932 to 1983. I got to see the High Line when it was in
operation, and hope that it can be saved. I looked at your comments about the
Northern ramp to the LIRR yards, and about it looking somewhat different. If
my memory serves me, this ramp was re-built after construction of the Javits Center.
I believe that the original ramp was cut to build the Convention Center, and that was the death knell for the line.
Most of the businesses along the line either folded or resorted to truck deliveries. I don't think
another train ever ran over the structure again."
The viaduct as it meets the surface. The ROW will continue to slope gently down to meet up with the tunnel portal.
A view of the viaduct, looking west. The newly fallen snow atop of the viaduct goes untouched.
The ROW as it makes it's way to the surface. Plants grow on top of the ROW, and are free to grow as tall as they want. Trains won't be running along these tacks anytime soon - and from the looks of things, never again.
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