Thursday, July 23, 2009

The High Line

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.
10 Ave. Square amphitheater, looking north
10th Avenue Square, looking upwards to the south
High Line Park, looking east
View from a lower platform
High Line Park, looking at a nearby skybridge
A nearby sky bridge
High Line Park wildflower beds
Wildflower beds
High Line Park, arch view
An arch in one of the unfinished spaces
People arriving at one of the south entrances
People arriving at one of the south entrances
Side street from High Line Park
W. 15th St. View, from the High Line (Chelsea Market on left, Phillips de Pury on right)
High Line Park lovers
Relaxing on the benches
High Line Park gardener
A gardener tending to plants near the south end of the park
High Line Park dandelions
High Line Park dandelions
A honeybee on a dandelion
High Line Park amphitheater
10th Avenue Square amphitheater, looking north (10th Avenue is visible through the glass)
High Line Park flowers awaiting potting
Flowers awaiting planting
High Line Park, near the 20th St. end
High Line, near the 20th St. end
High Line Park, at the 20th St. Exit
High Line Park, at the 20th St. Exit
The video!


  1. I worked for many years at 15th street and 10th avenue. This is when after dark the transvestites took over the neighborhood. It is nice to see this park finally taking shape.

    Thanks for this post, John.

  2. I had heard this development. Thanks for the pictures.

  3. Awesome photos......

    Thanks for sharing with us......
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