Published on Tuesday, 17 May 2011 03:59
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. That's a bit melodramatic, but the story of elevated parks in New York and St. Louis is truly a tale of two cities. New York's High Line
, its saving, transformation and end result, has been lauded in every major news and design publication. National Geographic titled it the "Miracle Above Manhattan
". And it should be celebrated. Opened in 1934, the elevated tracks eliminated 105 grade crossings in NYC. A portion was demolished as early as 1960 and the line was abandoned in 1980. A grassroots effort to preserve the structure began in 1999, ultimately receiving support from Mayor Bloomberg. The first section opened as a park in 2009.
Urban elevated railways aren't rare. While many have been demolished, many can still be found, especially in older cities with central rail lines that served a once vibrant manufacturing base. In St. Louis, the elevated track is simply referred to as the Trestle. As City Garden's albatross will always be the comparison to Chicago's Millennium Park, the Trestle seems destined to be saddled with never-ending references to the High Line. Such a comparison is not only incorrect, it's terribly detrimental to St. Louis's effort to preserve and reuse the Trestle.