Some people collect stamps. Others collect coins.
But we at CityMetric collect designs for city parks around the world which, despite bearing little or no resemblance on it, are attempting to rip off New York’s High Line park. We’ve found at least four pretenders in London alone.
During our research, however, we have come across other, similar parks which actually came much earlier. The High Line may be the most famous park built on disused rail infrastructure, but it was by no means the first. Here are the precursors we’ve found so far.
Click for a larger image. Credit: Magnus Manske via Flickr.
The park: The Promenade plantée (French for a “tree-lined walkway”) is a heavily manicured park which stretches for 2.9 miles along the route of the now-obsolete Vincennes railway line in Paris.
Was the High Line an improvement? Paris’s version actually seems better: it’s longer, and it begins with an elegant spiral staircase which take you up to the elevated line. The gardens themselves are also nicer, and are interspersed with statues of planets:
Image: Agateller at Wikimedia Commons.
The abandoned platforms of Crouch End station. Click for a larger image. Credit: Fezpp at Wikimedia Commons.
The park: A 4.5 woodland walk between Alexandra Palace and Finsbury Park in North London.
Was the High Line an improvement? It’s mainly just different: Parkland walk is not on an elevated line, and it’s overgrown, rather than landscaped. But it’s quite nice, and appreciated enough by the locals that unofficial proposals to bring the railway line back look like a non-starter.
Click for a larger image. Credit: Tower Hamlets Council.
The park: This actually connects two sections of a normal park via a bridge over the A11. It’s also known as the “banana bridge”, due to its bright yellow underside.
Was the High Line an improvement? The Mile End bridge was purpose-built to join up the two sections of the park, so doesn’t have the advantage of using up old rail infrastructure. However, as Tower Hamlets Council puts it on its website, the bridge is still a “wide and jolly structure”.
As ever, drop us a line if you know of any other High Line ancestors or pretenders.
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