A visit to the High Line Park in Manhattan made skipping work last week look like a stroke of genius. Rather than demolish an abandoned overgrown elevated freight track that once served upper story loading docks, City Parks used the community’s enthusiasm and the track’s unique architectural features to transform this former eye-sore into a linear park. The last train ran the High Line in 1980, carrying a load of frozen turkeys.
Clever paving intersperses plantings with the former rail tracks, ample benches and even a sunning lawn. The High Line elevates City spirits as it winds through 20 west side city blocks. Like creatively used space elsewhere, the High Line has sparked a building boom and urban renaissance, with apartment rental notice taglines now reading “near the High Line”. We saw butterfly and bee-filled flower gardens (yes beehives are allowed in the City), birdhouses, sculptures, stark brick walls, airy new chrome and glass, the gaiety of tourists and blasé kindness of New Yorkers juxtaposed into a sunshine daydream memory. Yup, I could almost live in the City.
The High Line winds from Gansevoort St (W 14th St and 10th Ave) to 30th St, 11th Ave. The park is easily accessible from the West Side Highway; near Chelsea Pier and the Intrepid Museum. There are elevators for handicapped access along the way. I’d recommend a walk from south to north, because the icing on the cake was a visit to the gourmet food truck- food court at 30th Street under the High Line. There we savored a large spicy Falafel platter in a festive multi-lingual community Bier Garden atmosphere. For this seasoned urban explorer, truly one of the best meals I’ve had in NYC, and for thirteen bucks? Fuhgettaboutit!
High Line photo