In one of his last acts as mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani signed an order permitting the High Line, that beloved elevated railroad ruin which snaked down the west side of Manhattan, to be torn down. Everyone who had managed to climb up onto the High Line loved it: the wildflowers growing through disused tracks, the birds that followed the path north in spring, and south again in fall—that rural feeling magically flowing through the city like an unbidden river. Who didn’t love the High Line? Those who owned the land beneath it and longed to erect high-rise buildings on the site, if only the High Line wasn’t blocking their way. And so when Giuliani signed that order, the Friends of the High Line, the small community organization led by Robert Hammond and Joshua David, sprang into legal action, seeking an injunction.
For over a year, Joel Sternfeld had already been photographing this hidden jewel in every season, so New Yorkers could visually climb up and see it too. In October 2001, while the rubble of the World Trade Center was still smoldering, Gerhard Steidl accepted Sternfeld’s urgent request to make a book and flew to New York: together they designed Walking the High Line and just seven weeks later it was delivered, a vision for the wildly successful park that today hosts over two million visitors a year. Now in a new edition with nine additional photos, a larger format and an updated timeline, this is the book that made walking the High Line possible.