The High Line, in case you’ve never been, is a public park in New York City built on an abandoned elevated railroad track that runs along the west side of Manhattan from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District down to West 34 Street. The rail line was used from 1934 to 1980 and the current rendition of the High Line is about one and half miles in length. The park has caused quite a stir in the realms of urban planning and landscaping communities and is also wildly popular with the regular folks too.
The New York High Line is actually not the first of it’s kind as Paris boasts what they call the Promenade Plantee. The French got onboard with concept back in 1993 and there are similar projects underway in St. Louis, Philadelphia, Chicago, Jersey City and Rotterdam. Walking the American version is interesting on, um, many levels. The first thing that I noticed is you’re seeing New York from a different altitude which changes your perspective.
Instead of being down in the canyon of skyscrapers trying to peer up you are now on the third floor with striking views of the Hudson River and a bird’s eye look at the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. If you’d like to watch that hustle for awhile, the design team provides “bleachers” to sit and watch the world flash by. The urban design features of the High Line include benches and sitting areas that seamless blend into the linear feel of the experience.
The High Line is a public park, so walking it is free and open to the public from 7 AM to 11 PM. The second section to open passes by architectural treasures created by guys like Frank Gehry and Shigeru Bahn. Sections of the original rail line are part of the design as is a selection of flowering plants that will keep the gardeners filled with delight. I have strolled the High Line with those who don’t see what all the fuss is about but every time I go I see something different and wish I’d brought the bigger camera.
High Line Fun Facts
You are not allowed to pick the flowers, walk your dog, skateboard or throw things off the High Line. Some of the benches are made of ipe' which some consider to be an endangered tropical hardwood. New benches are made from reclaimed teak.
High Line Links