NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — An opening ceremony was held Saturday to celebrate the completion of the final stretch of the High Line in Manhattan.

The third phase of the park is set to officially open to the public on Sunday, perfect timing for New Yorkers looking to soak up the last of summer’s warmth.

The half-mile section completes one of the nation’s most distinctive urban transformations: an abandoned stretch of elevated rails that’s been turned into a linear oasis of flowers, grasses and trees.

Phase three of High Line park stretches from 30th Street around the Hudson Rail Yard to 34th Street, 1010 WINS’ Roger Stern reported. The entire High Line runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th and 12th avenues.

“It’s beautiful. They did such a nice job with all the shrubs and grasses and flowers,” said one parkgoer.

Sen. Charles Schumer was an early supporter of developing the elevated rail line.

“It’s amazing how you can take something that people thought was old and done and make it new and vital,” the lawmaker said. “It’s now a vital artery, coursing with nature and people.”

City Councilman Corey Johnson told WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman he remembers what the place was like after one adventurous night long before he was a council member.

“We climbed up onto the abandoned High Line at the time, it was covered with glass and litter,” he recalled.

Over the last five years, the High Line has helped Manhattan’s West Side — particularly in Chelsea — thrive with luxury condos, galleries, restaurants and boutiques, which have all but pushed out the industrial grime around the abandoned freight route.

The park now draws nearly 5 million visitors a year, offering an expansive view of midtown Manhattan and the Hudson River from what was once a freight route serving warehouses, meatpacking and manufacturing plants.

With the new Hudson Yards complex slowly rising alongside, signs of change are all around.

Check Out These Other Stories From CBSNewYork.com:

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)