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Explore the Gritty, Graffitied High Line of 2003

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Twelve years ago, before anyone sold $5 ice cream cones or Diane von Furstenberg wrap dresses and before pricey condos came to dominate West Chelsea, Highline Studios' Damon Hoydysh clambered up to the totally rundown, completely abandoned elevated rail line near his office and shot some video footage. First published exclusively by Jeremiah's Vanishing New York, the video shows the now-immaculately designed span an an eerie urban ruin: overgrown with weeds; covered in graffiti; and so, so far from gentrification. There are cracked platforms, vestiges of its heyday as a functional transport route, and dusty, disused turnstiles. Hoydysh, who started his media production company in an office nearby before the park as we know it was built, was entranced.

"I loved it over there because the streets were empty and still felt industrial—beautiful old factories with smoke-stacks, rail yards, empty warehouses—just awesome, raw NYC. No condos," Hoydysh told JVNY. "It was one of the the last vestiges of the old, gritty NYC that I had known as a kid. When I first got up on the High Line, I realized that it encapsulated all that I loved about the area, perfectly preserved, with gorgeous graffiti galleries everywhere. It was also striking how the vegetation had just naturally taken over and blended so perfectly with all the man-made, discarded elements. It was beautiful."· Lost Wild High Line [JVNY]
· The High Line New York City, 2003 [Highline Studios]
· All High Line coverage [Curbed]