When I was in college, a graffiti-writing friend took me to one of his favorite secret spots, a neglected section of elevated train track in Manhattan's meat packing district. We had to politely interrupt some transvestite prostitutes in an alley to climb the one scalable wall up to this derelict wonderland.
Last month I found myself in that same spot, but it's now the High Line, an elevated New York City park, a mile-and-a-half long, that winds through Chelsea and Hell's Kitchen. Chicago is now looking at a similar project, but one more ambitious by several degrees of magnitude.
Our comrades at Inhabitat report on how the uber-architectural firm Gensler has envisioned turning the Bloomingdale railroad, a three-mile stretch of abandoned track, into a colossal greenhouse. Along with 4240 Architecture, the two firms have proposed to enclose the area in glass, creating some ten acres of farm land, from which will come organic produce for local residents. Though we're a bit fuzzy on the deets, the proposal also includes using space below the tracks for producing hydrogen, which could then be used to power Chicago public schools (thus the project name: HYDROGENerator). "Our city's challenges are too significant and the Bloomingdale Line's potential too great for it to be just another park," said Brian Vitale, design director at Gensler.
More Elevated Parks:
High-Line Stories: How to Transform a Derelict Railway into a Seriously Cool Park (Video)
Sour Grapes Griping About the High Line Already Starting
Take the High Line! Check Out Manhattan's Newest Park (Slideshow)