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).