One of the things I did while I was in New York was walking the High Line, an abandoned railroad that was preserved and transformed into an overground park, opening its first section in 2009. It covers the area from West 34th Street to Gansevoort Street in between 10th and 12th Avenues.
I crossed the park South to North, which took me about two hours, but I stopped for breaks and pictures. I went there around late afternoon in June, which I think is a good time because earlier in the day would have been too hot. Most of the park is quite narrow, so I covered all of it in my walk.
There were things I expected to see and things I didn’t, so in a way I had mixed feelings about this walk. First of all, I knew the landscaping was going to be great, and I wasn’t disappointed by it. The plants merge beautifully with the pathway and the cityscape; and even though the park is narrow it’s far from boring. There are different sections offering different things, such as benches, wooden lounge chairs, or refreshment stations.
It also feels different because you are moving within the city, and you come across some stunning architecture along the way. The thing about New York is that you encounter all sorts of different styles, be it in the way people dress or in the way buildings are designed. And in terms of diversity of architecture, the High Line does quite well. I found it very enjoyable to look at all those eclectic buildings and how they connect to the green spaces of the park. On the other hand, I thought the High Line would be higher than it actually is. It doesn’t overlook anything, it’s not a pathway across rooftops, but somewhere where you can get a perspective that gives more depth than just street level.
There’s another thing I didn’t expect, but this one was more on the enjoyable part: the High Line has some really cool art exhibited all along. For example, the picture below is an installation by Rashid Johnson called Blocks, and it will be on view there until March 2016, and the one above features a physical graffiti by Damian Ortega. The High Line also offers a range of creative activities for children and adults, like for example a giant white Lego building station (which is on until September 2015). I think that this and its proximity to the Whitney Museum (which I didn’t have time to visit, unfortunately) make it a great cultural urban space.
There is one thing that bothered me about the High Line and New York in general though and that is the amount of construction there is in this place. A few sections of the parks, I had to walk under scaffolds and it really took away from my enjoyment of it. The northernmost section of the High Line is located in a more industrial zone and the views are strikingly different there. Needless to say this section was not my favorite.
Despite the extreme amount of construction and the large number of tourists that were there (it’s quite a narrow path, remember); I enjoyed my walk on the High Line and I would recommend it. They have a great website that you can check out right here for a map, a guide to the different entrances, opening hours, and more about the art and activities going on. I would suggest going there during daytime but either in the morning before 11 or in the late afternoon, because the shady spots are rare and it can get quite hot. It’s a really nice spot and it gives a different perspective on New York, so don’t miss it.