Friday, December 28, 2012

The High Line Solitude in NYC

The High Line NYC
The next time you're out and about in New York City and need a break from the crowds, try the High Line. It's actually the most interesting urban park I've experienced in years. New York City's newest green space offers a sort of escape from the maddening crowds of Manhattan. At least that was my experience on a cold December morning when I was happy to leave the mass of humanity far behind me along 6th Avenue at Macys. My fellow travel companions also found the High Line a welcome change.

The High Line is actually an elevated railway that was built in the 1930s for freight trains. However when the trains stopped running in 1980, the line fell into a state of disrepair. After sitting vacant for years, it was set for demolition. Enter Friends of the High Line, a non-profit organization, who worked with the City of New York, transforming a dilapidated railroad into an elevated public park. Construction began in 2006 and the first section, running from Gansevoort Street to West 20th Street, opened in June 2009. The second section that opened in June 2011 runs from West 20th to West 30th Street.

The blogger enjoying
the High Line
Despite my winter visit, I could tell that this park is impeccably maintained with natural gardens that actually incorporate the old rail tracks into the landscape. The walkway runs about a mile from where we got on at West 30th Street through the Meatpacking District, West Chelsea, and Hell's Kitchen. There are views of the Empire State Building, the Hudson River, and numerous art galleries and studios. The High Line Art Commission also includes art scattered along the walk. While strolling along, we noticed small figures that were part of the current Lilliput exhibit. This exhibit runs through April 2013 and features minuscule sculptures of actual urban-dwellers developed by six artists from around the world.

The High Line view on a December day
The High Line does have genuine "green space" (i.e., a lawn) at the 23rd Street entrance as well as a small amphitheater and built-in wooden deck chairs for capturing the sun. We encountered very few strollers, but then it was quite cold. I did notice that it was heavily traveled by small, roaming packs of European tourists who were curiously not smoking. I figured that out later—no smoking, dogs, or skateboards allowed on the High Line.

More High Line art
We found the High Line an excellent diversion and well worth the time to seek out. I hope to visit again sometime in the summer to experience the gardens in their full glory.
For more information check out the attached link.

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