The High Line: a park on stilts

Another adventure!  My friend, Rutgers University professor Marija Dalbello, introduced me to the coolest new park in New York City: the High Line.  It’s been a long time under development, but the park is now open from 20th St. to Gansevoort St. (with more to come heading north).  It’s located on elevated train tracks built in the 1930s to transport freight up and down the West Side.  Before the elevated tracks were built, Tenth Avenue was known as “Death Avenue” due to the large number of collisions between freight trains and street-level traffic.  The last train ran on the elevated tracks in 1980.

Instead of demolishing the unused tracks, the Friends of the High Line persuaded the city to turn it into this fabulous long, skinny park.  Walking it is amazing!  Here I am standing on the High Line 30 feet above street level.  It gives you a whole new perspective on the city…and you can catch a breeze, even on a hot day.

The design incorporates the original train tracks and the plants and grasses which grew naturally after the trains stopped running.  Once the plants are established, the High Line should require little daily maintenance of the gardens.

There are decks, benches, art installations, a water feature (not quite completed yet), an amphitheater with a view of the the street below, and all kinds of other fun spaces.  Marija and I encountered several photo shoots taking place on the High Line, probably because the settings are so compelling.  You look across the roofs of Manhattan. 

Down at the bottom of the High Line, we walked under a skyscraper which straddles the High Line.  Turns out it’s a very hip new hotel called The Standard.  We took a nice air-conditioned break in the lobby where the people-watching was fabulous.  Even the bellboys were hipper than me (okay, not that hard but still…).  Marija noticed that the ceiling above us was mirrored so here we are reflected on high.

Kudos to the Friends of the High Line for creating such an amazing urban experience!  I can’t wait to stroll it again (when the weather cools off a bit).

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6 responses to “The High Line: a park on stilts

  1. marija of the high line

    Nice writeup, I feel I learned a lot more than when just walking the highline.

    • Marija, it was such fun to explore the High Line with you! Thanks also for taking all the great pix. I’m glad to hear that you’re keeping cool in Croatia, unlike those of us here who are sweltering. Ugh! It’s too hot to even go to the pool.

  2. wow, who needs the travel channel when we have you???? You are having way too much fun finding all these neat places.

    Thanks,
    Ellen

  3. Ellen, you’re right, I’m having a ton of fun exploring my own area. The current heat wave has put a temporary halt to my travels, although next week I’m planning an expedition to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Not that I haven’t been there many times before, but there’s always something new to discover…and it’s air-conditioned!

  4. Since I live near the High Line, I’ve been there sesveral times. You picked a great day, it didn’t seem very crowded in your pictures.

    Once I was there as part of a tour led by an architect who talked about the different perspectives on space as experienced in various places along the High Line. You touched on this a bit, Nancy. My favorite is the spot is the place where you can sit on bleacher-like benches and view the street below. Traffic and pedestrians become theater!

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