Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The High Line

A few weeks ago, I decided to take the Subway downtown to a unique urban retreat called The High Line.
The High Line was built in the 1930's and ran through the heaviest industrial sections in Manhattan. Originally, freight trains ran on street level, but after many horrific accidents with pedestrian casualties, the trains were lifted 30 feet into the air and thus became The High Line.

The last train to run on the High Line was in 1980 on the day before Thanksgiving, with three boxcars transporting frozen turkeys from the Meatpacking district in NYC to other locations around the country.
After the last train ran, the High Line fell into disrepair. Nature began to take over and the High Line became a jungle of weeds and wildflowers, which many different kinds of birds and animals made their home.

In the late 1990's, with the High Line about to be demolished, Joshua David and Robert Hammond created The Friends of the High Line organization to advocate the High Line's preservation and use as a public space.

(I'm skipping a lot here, so if you're interested in a more detailed history, check out: http://www.thehighline.org/about/high-line-history).

Fast forward 10 years, the High Line section 1 opened for the public as a unique elevated park.
Three years later, this past June 8th, the High Line section 2 opened for the public.


My thoughts now:

All I can say is WOW! Why did it take me 3 years to finally visit this place? For those of you who know me, I love discovering the quiet oases in the middle of the big city. This place is just my cup of tea! It is smack in the middle of the trendy Chelsea and Meatpacking districts in NYC, runs above a busy NYC avenue, and overlooks the West Side Highway and the Hudson River. Yet it still maintains a very peaceful atmosphere despite its surroundings.

The entire park is one big art exhibit. Every single aspect has been carefully designed - from the landscaping, the lighting, the water fountains, the observation decks, the stairs, and even the benches.
They even have real art installations. You know, the ones that are art because you really don't understand them. Like this one:
I love how they intertwine the tracks with the flowers to keep the original "overgrown" look.
Overlooking 10th Avenue:
The High Line at night:

I would HIGHLY recommend anyone who comes to NY to check out The High Line. The best time to visit the park is close to nightfall so you can experience the magnificent sunset over the Hudson River.

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