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The High Line

October 13, 2009
The High Line when it was a neglected out-of-use rail track.

The High Line when it was a neglected out-of-use rail track.

I finally managed to visit the High Line, quite by chance, the other weekend and it was beautiful. The park is at once very urban/modern and yet natural since it combines concrete slabs in a meandering path that mimics rail road tracks and wild grass plantings inspired by the native grasses that took root on the tracks when they weren’t in use. Fixed and movable benches (in concrete and wood) and lighting (in the plantings at night) are also aspects of the design. The landscape was designed by landscape architects James Corner Field Operations with architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Halfway along the High Line there is a little café stand where you can purchase snacks and drinks – perfect for a break looking across the river at the NJ skyline.

The High Line was originally constructed in the 1930s to lift dangerous freight trains off Manhattan’s streets. Section One of the High Line opened to the public on June 9, 2009, and runs from Gansevoort Street to 20th Street. It is open every day from 7am to 10pm and there are various entrances every 2-3 blocks along the length. When all sections are complete, the High Line will be a mile-and-a-half-long elevated park (ending at 34th Street), running through the West Side neighborhoods of the Meatpacking District, West Chelsea and Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen. I would suggest trying to not go on the weekend since it was very crowded on the Sunday afternoon I visited. There was even a small fashion shoot going on (looked very downtown boutique-y). I imagine it’s beautiful at night and since it’s getting darker earlier these days maybe worth a visit before dinner downtown!

Visit the Highline’s very extensive and beautiful site here.

The High Line after opening as a public park.

The High Line after opening as a public park.

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