Take a Walk on the High Line

September 22, 2009 § Leave a comment

Every time someone asks me what to do while they are in New York, I now have a new “must-get-to” item on my list.   I tell them to go to the High Line.

Opened in June of this year, the High Line is a boldly innovate new public park occupying the abandoned elevated railway running along Manhattan’s West Side.  At 30-feet in the air, the High Line provides a unique perspective of a city normally viewed from the ground, or 1,224  feet above the ground while on the 102nd floor observatory of the Empire State Building.

A little history …  Between 1851 and 1929, there were so many accidents between freight trains entering the city’s densest industrial area and West Side street-level traffic, that 10th Avenue gained the reputation of “Death Avenue.”  Approved in 1929, the elevated railway was built in the 1930s as  part of a substantial public-private infrastructure project.  In the 1950s, interstate trucking began to replace rail as the means of transporting goods into Manhattan.  Subsequently, the southernmost section of the High Line was demolished in the 1960s, and, as of 1980, no trains have run on the High Line.  In 1999, the Friends of the High Line was created with the intent to preserve the space and convert it to a public park.

The creative use of the space is already garnering the attention of other major cities, like Toronto, with similar transportation gateways.

Section 1 of the High Line, which opened to the public on June 9th, starts at Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District and ends at 20th Street.  When all of the sections are complete, the High Line park will extend a total of 1-1/2 miles, from the Meatpacking District through Chelsea and into Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen.

As you make your way through the park, you will find a mix of old and new, refined and wild, in the unfolding series of gardens and seating areas.

Photo: Iwan Baan, 2009, Courtesy of Friends of the High Line, from The New York Times

Photo: Iwan Baan, 2009, Courtesy of Friends of the High Line, from The New York Times

Photo: Iwan Baan, 2009, Courtesy of Friends of the High Line, from The New York Times

Photo: Iwan Baan, 2009, Courtesy of Friends of the High Line, from The New York Times

The High Line is open daily from 7:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M.  See the Park Information page for directions and access points, and the Maps page for a view of the area and notable park features.

Hop on the subway or in a taxi, and head to the High Line.  You won’t be disappointed!

Oh yes, and it’s free.

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