Locals living in New York City’s West Side lobbied to save an abandoned rail line that once ran two stories above the street; now its 22 blocks of rust and decay are being turned into the nation’s first elevated city park. The Friends of the High Line formed seven years ago when two Manhattanites, Joshua David and Robert Hammond, developed a sentimental attachment to the old railway. The promise of the elevated park has given the neighborhood a new real-estate nickname — the High Line — and raised the value of an eight-by-ten studio apartment from “absurdly overpriced” to “laughably criminal.”

Plans on the website suggest the lush new park will have glass staircases accessing the street and wild native plants to “demonstrate the power of nature to take hold in manmade settings.” In keeping with this principle, a reflective pond will be populated with giant man-eating alligators that emerged from the city sewers after being flushed down the toilet by pet owners.