Sunday, September 4, 2011

The High Line, a view from above

The High Line, an elevated park on the western side of Manhattan, is one of the most extraordinary walks in the city.  The former railroad track was originally built in the 1930s to allow safe passage for freight trains, as there had been so many fatal collisions between street trains and cars.  It operated for decades, but eventually fell out of use, and the last cargo was three cars of frozen turkeys in 1980.

There was a movement to tear down the structure, which was countered by an effort to restore it and put it to public use.  The latter won, and the track was donated to the city by CSX Transportation, Inc.

The southern most entry way is on Gansevoort Street, in the Meatpacking District.  The park stretches for a mile and a half, and ends on 30th.  It is beautifully designed, with modern architecture, prairie-like plantings, and unique features such as stadium seating gazing onto a busy street and a sculpture housing multiple birdhouses.

Take a walk with me...

The view from the first block

The park's pathway

Elements of the railroad are built into the design

A bit surreal to see Manhattan through prairie grasses

Living room or park? You decide.

Sidewalk fountain, happy feet on a hot day
Walking alongside the 'stained glass' of an industrial building
Fashion shoot on a patio just below the walkway
The walk is admittedly less relaxing when crowds grow and the path narrows

Other areas are more tranquil
There are vendors with gourmet treats along the way
A roller rink with those who still have energy at the end
And a beer garden for those who don't

Postscript... a second walk, this time in the evening, brings a very different experience: