8. The High Line Ran Through the Building

Westbeth Artist sHousing with High LinePhoto by Roger Braimon

The NYC Grade Crossing Elimination Act of 1928 authorized two projects that together were called the West Side Improvement. Part of this improvement project was an elevated freight railway from the New York Central Railroad’s yards near Penn Station, to the new St. John’s Park Freight Terminal at West and Clarkson Streets. This required the rails to go right through one of the buildings at Bell Labs. The railway passed through thirty buildings in total. The line was created to benefit the butter and egg market that was centered in lower Manhattan, and to make transportation easier between the Hudson River and metropolitan areas. The railway was discontinued in the 1970s.

Today, the remnants of this railway are part of the High Line public park north of Westbeth. Tracks south of Westbeth were torn down, but you can still see the open corridor through which the freight trains once passed.