The heavy thunderstorms had been going on all night and the rain was still pouring when I woke up the following morning, it wasn’t the best day to be in New York but I was and I was determined to do something. Eventually around lunchtime the rain finally stopped, this was my chance, so camera in hand I headed off to the High Line.
The High Line is a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s west side. It runs from West 34th Street between 10th and 12th Avenues to Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District. I entered the park at the CXS Transportation Gate on West 34th Street the only point where the High Line descends to street level.
I was walking the Interim Walkway a section that features a simple bonded aggregate path through the existing self seeded plantings. This part of the High Line blends in with the iconic urban landscape that emerged after the trains stopped running. There are expansive views of the Hudson River to the west and the city to the east.
A little further down just west of 11th Avenue are the Pershing Square Beams an area designed for children where the High Line’s concrete deck has been stripped away to reveal the original framework of steel beams and girders. The sunken areas have been coated with a silicone surface so that children can run between, climb and play within the gaps.
The 26th Street viewing spur recalls the advertising billboards that were once attached at street level to the High Line. The viewing spurs rectangular frame showcases crosstown views at West 26th Street.
As the High Line passes between two monumental former storage warehouses at West 25th Street, a grated metal pathway – the Falcone Flyover – begins to lift from the structures surface. Stretching for three blocks, the flyover allows you to walk through a grove of bigleaf magnolia, sassafras and serviceberry trees at canopy level.
As I leave the Falcone Flyover I come into the High Line’s only lawn at 23rd Street. The lawn stretches for an entire block and is anchored on the southern end with seating made of reclaimed teak.
The Chelsea Thicket is a two block long pathway that winds gently through a miniature forest of lush dogwoods, bottlebrush buckeye, hollies, roses, and other dense shrubs and trees. Here you’ll see the original railroad tracks that have been embedded into the walkway.
At 10th Avenue l find a unique space called the 10th Avenue Square and Overlook. When the old railroad was being transformed into a public space a lot of the steel beams were removed from the structure, in doing this a unique amphitheatre like space was created giving views up 10th Avenue to the north and views of the Hudson River and the Statue of Liberty to the south.
At West 16th Street, a spur splits from the primary High Line structure and crosses 10th Avenue, connecting the former Merchants Refridgerated Warehouse. The spurs plantings evoke the wild landscape that grew on the High Line before it was a park.
Just past the Northern Spur Preserve is the Chelsea Market Passage, a semi enclosed area between West 15th and West 16th Streets. In this area you’ll find stalls selling arts and crafts, food and an outdoor cafe.
Leaving the Chelsea Market Passage I follow the High Line until I reach the Diller – von Furstenberg Sundeck and Water Feature. This area between West 14th and West 15th Streets is flanked by lounge chairs and a water feature where in the warmer weather you can dip your toes to cool off.
The 14th Street Passage is a semi enclosed area used for art and video presentations like High Line Channel 14 and High Line Art.
The final part of my High Line walk brings you to the Tiffany & Co Foundation Overlook. This dramatic balcony marks the point at which the High Line was severed in the 1990’s and demolished south of Gansevoort Street. The overlook offers a view eastwards to the Meatpacking District and westward to the newly opened Whitney Museum of American Art.
New York never ceases to amaze me and no matter how many times I visit I can always find something new to do, the High Line is a wonderful piece of reinvention in a city that tends to knock down and rebuild new. If you get the chance I’d highly recommend a visit to the High Line, it’s one of the most unique places I’ve been to.