When my sister-in-law visited New York City from Arizona recently, to attend a Christening, we asked her what she would like to do with my husband and I one afternoon while she was free. She asked to visit the High Line--the elevated railway viaduct, originally built in 1934 to carry freight trains, which is now entirely owned by the City of New York and which has been transformed into a one-of-a-kind space open to the public as an elevated park. I blogged about the High Line once before, soon after it opened, which you can see on this post.
The first thing I noticed as we approached a High Line entrance, on Gansevoort Street, in the Meatpacking District of Manhattan, was how mature the tress and foliage have become since my last visit. Access points to visit the High Line, by stairs and some with elevators, are located every two to three blocks.
In 1999, neighborhood residents Robert Hammond and Joshua David created the community group called "Friends of the High Line" to advocate for the idea of this aerial walkway. The first section of the High Line opened on June 9, 2009. It runs from Gansevoort Street to West 20th Street. The second section, which runs between West 20th and West 30th Streets, opened June 8, 2011. Now Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced that the City of New York has acquired the title to the third and final section of the High Line from CSX Transportation, Inc. The transfer of ownership brings the city one step closer toward starting construction later this year that will complete the High Line as envisioned.
The old railway ties can still be seen in sections next to the walkways. The integrated landscape, designed by landscape architects James Corner Field Operations, with architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and planting designer Piet Oudolf, combines meandering concrete pathways with naturalistic plantings.
Fixed and movable seating, lighting, and special features are also included in the park which is open from 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM daily.
The High Line was being enjoyed by many on our visit.
There was even wonderful cello music being played in one section by an enterprising musician.
There are also views of the Hudson River along the High Line.
My husband and his sister stopped on our walk along to pose for a photo.
I enjoyed the elevated views of the city and taking photos of the landmarks I saw along the way.
It was fun to try to frame the Empire State Building within a tower on a building.....
.....did I do a good job?
The entire High Line walkway is diverse in its design and has unexpected twists and turns that make you desire to continue walking to see more of it.
We enjoyed listening awhile to a Bluegrass duo singing in one section.
One can also enjoy some of the step like seating in a few areas of the High Line, which allows you to observe the hustle and bustle of New York City through the glass, as if you were seated in a theater.
Other areas had elevated seats that allow you to observe the crowds walking by.
There is also an element of humor along the High Line, and you can see from the mural on the side of a building and also....
......this collage of some of the other humorous sights we saw along the way. Many surrounding building windows that were at the same height as the High Line walkway had cut outs in them of people waving. Doesn't the "person" in the lower right window look real? One roof top (center bottom photo) had a "High Line Zoo" of cardboard animals placed on it for all to see, and the billboard ad for a parking lot in the upper left corner of this collage made us smile.
This sculpture seems to mimic the graffiti behind it.
The High Line's planting design is inspired by the self-seeded landscape that grew on the out-of-use elevated rail tracks during the 25 years after trains stopped running. The species of perennials, grasses, shrubs and trees were chosen for their hardiness, sustainability, and textural and color variation, with a focus on native species.
Walking the High Line is a unique experience and way to view the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. If you visit NYC put it on your list of free places to visit, and I don't think you'll be disappointed!