I have many favorite places and spaces in New York, and try, whenever I can, to get to them. Now I have a new one: the High Line (Park), the exquisite, elevated renovated public space that occupies what had for nearly 30 years been an abandoned rail spur for the old factories that once dotted Manhattan's southwest flank. I'd been wanting to check it out for years, even before it was renovated, but I finally got over there and can't wait to return.
The High Line extends from 10th Street, along Washington Street in the old Meatpacking District (which has become one of Manhattan's trendiest überrich playgrounds), to 20th Street and 10th Avenue, at the farthest western edge of Chelsea. At times amidst the wildflower beds I forgot I was in Manhattan so tranquil was the setting, but then all it took was a slight turn towards one of the many vistas (the Hudson and New Jersey; southwards towards the Village; eastwards towards Manhattan; northwards towards Midtown), and the city's steel, granite, brick, concrete, and glass canyons, along with the ubiquitous, immense billboards, reminded me how little and yet how far I'd been instantly transported. While I was there, I saw gardeners tending to the plantings, construction workers tinkering with some of the still blocked off walkways, and lots of people leisurely strolling, lolling on the benches, peering off over onto the streets below, and, like me, taking in the ambience. The 10th Avenue Square, a banked glass-walled amphiteater designed by starchitects Diller Scofidio + Renfro, was a particular highlight, and once spot I'd love to see a live performance. Another was a huge unfinished arcade, bearing a blue cast, that could host all sorts of events.
I'm also posting a very simple video that gives a sense of the space itself and the soundscape (note the siren--New York).
Below are photos, and I also highly recommend Martin Filler's August 13, 2009 New York Review of Books article, "Up in the Park," which offers some history and pointed commentary on many aspects of the space itself and its environs.
10th Avenue Square, looking upwards to the south
View from a lower platform
A nearby sky bridge
An arch in one of the unfinished spaces
People arriving at one of the south entrances
W. 15th St. View, from the High Line (Chelsea Market on left, Phillips de Pury on right)
Relaxing on the benches
A gardener tending to plants near the south end of the park
A honeybee on a dandelion
10th Avenue Square amphitheater, looking north (10th Avenue is visible through the glass)
Flowers awaiting planting
High Line, near the 20th St. end
High Line Park, at the 20th St. Exit