While today's High Line is a professionally landscaped elevated park, surrounded by luxury condos and hotels, and best documented by a drone... it used to be an overgrown, abandoned destination for urban explorers photographing off-limits areas of the city. Back then, only those willing to cross an old truck yard, navigate themselves through or under a fence, and pull themselves up on to the elevated tracks got to experience the long-abandoned space. Once up there, however, it was blissfully empty (aside from the ghosts of cowboys); nothing like the overcrowded open-air hallway it has become today.

One of those urban explorers was Gothamist's own Jake Dobkin, who is now so old his photos from the era are practically vintage. Click through for a look at what he captured up there between 2002 and 2011, when he was shooting on early digital Canon cameras.

This week the High Line unveiled "The Spur," the final section of the park, which extends over the intersection of 10th Avenue at West 30th Street. It's a happy ending for the old cargo railroad trestle, which was slated for demolition during the Giuliani administration before a committed group of activists organized behind a bold vision to turn it into an elevated urban oasis.

And here are a couple of slide images comparing the new park to the way things were...