Saturday, August 27, 2016

The High Line

The High Line is a nearly one-and-a-half-mile park built on an old section of a disused elevated railroad spur on the Lower West Side of Manhattan.  Visitors to the City tend to think of New York as an unremitting Hellscape of urban concrete, glass, and steel, but the City has plenty of public green spaces, many in cleverly hidden nooks a bit off the beaten path.  The High Line is an arch example of this.

Background from the High Line's Official Twitter account.
Sally, the girls, and I are in New York City on vacation this weekend, and we visited the High Line yesterday.  She insists that the park had a part of her "old stomping grounds" back when she lived in the City as a teenager some thirty years ago, but a quick check of the facts reveals that the High Line didn't stop running actual trains until 1980, and it then sat as a disused eyesore for some years afterwards.  It was only redeveloped starting in 2002-2003.  The first section was reopened to the public starting in 2009.

The High Line runs along with west side of Manhattan from 34th Street just south of the Hudson Yards area to St. John's Park terminal on Spring Street.  The park itself is narrow and surprisingly green.  It was crowded yesterday, but it was also beautiful and completely amazing.  The entire run of the park is a cultivated garden in and amongst what was once a massive industrial space, complete with occasional railroad tracks and switching equipment left as a reminder of the park's history.

Emma liked the plants.
This is one of the creepiest pieces of art I've ever seen.
It got a lot of attention, to say the very least.
The Brass Money Beer Garden is a few blocks south of 14th Street.
Sadly, we didn't have time to go.
Lots of places in New York are like that.  We also visited South Street Seaport, and there too the City is trying to reclaim one of its famous industrial spaces in a way that adds to the neighborhood while honoring the important history and traditions that made the place what it is today.

Most of the park looked basically like this, a long green tunnel
through the West Side of Manhattan.
This building fascinated the girls.  We decided that it's an
apartment building because of the curtains.
We saw this sign in the Meatpacking District, a few blocks
south of the High Line.  #OnlyInNYC
If you're in the City a lot, then the High Line is a great place to visit to get some air, take a short run, or just get away from the madness for awhile.  That's why the City has so many open green spaces.  The park itself is just a block from the walkway that runs the length of the Hudson River Park, so you could easily incorporate the green space into a run that takes you further along the West Side.  I'd like to try that myself, but I'm not sure when I'll next have that kind of time in that specific neighborhood.  For better or worse, that's a decent way from my office, and I don't usually take hour-plus runs at lunch.

We hit the High Line on our way to Battery Park and the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.  That made yesterday a full day, and we paid for it--especially parking.  A better idea is to park further uptown or downtown and take the A&C subway lines to the High Line and beyond.  That A& C drop you on 8th Avenue, and from there the High Line is a mere two long blocks away.  You'll find plenty of places throughout that area to get a cup of coffee or a bite to eat before your journey, and from there you can see a part of New York that not a lot of casual tourists encounter.


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