The One With the High Line

Occasionally I break out my fanny pack (just kidding) and white sneakers (kidding again) and pretend to be a tourist in my town. Come along with me as I walk the High Line, an old elevated train line now converted into a New York City park.

It opened in 1934 along the west side of Manhattan connecting a busy manufacturing district from Spring Street to 34th Street. The last train ran in 1980 and the elevated tracks sat unused for more than two decades. After a lot of red tape and design plans, the first section of the High Line opened as a park in 2009 with the rest of the park opening in stages until 2014.

I started at the southern end by taking the stairs up from 14th Street. The High Line is about three stories up.

Stairs leading up from the street level.

Stairs leading up from the street level.

As soon as I got to the park level, I was greeted by an abundance of trees and plants in bloom.

You can still see the old train tracks.

You can still see the old train tracks.

Highline

Highline

Many of the plants chosen were inspired by the “self-seeded” landscape that grew on the tracks during the 25 years after the trains stopped running.

The Highline feels like a cross between a park and a botanic garden.

The High Line feels like a cross between a park and a botanic garden.

The tracks were originally designed to travel through the center of blocks rather than over the avenue the way most elevated tracks run, so the buildings are very close and sometimes cantilevered over the tracks themselves. When the line was in operation, this neighborhood was industrial. There’s not much industry going on here now, but this has become a desirable (read: expensive) place to live and work. Such is the way of things! Many of these buildings are residences or office complexes.

Highline

A nice patch of green grass -- that you can't walk on.

A nice patch of green grass — that you can’t walk on.

There are plenty of areas to take a load off.

There are plenty of areas to take a break…

and lots of great views...

and lots of great skyline views…

and cityscapes...

and lots of cityscapes…

and lots of art installations.

and lots of art installations.

To walk the entire length of the High Line is about a half mile, but there are multiple entry/exit points along the way. There are also coffee stands and snack bars. Come early or late in the day as the midday sun can be punishing in the warm months. I bet it’s lovely at dusk just as the sun is setting across the Hudson River, which you can see from several points along the path.

Other Tourist in My Town posts.

Have a great weekend, everyone! 

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29 comments

  1. I loved your stroll around the city. I love these hidden gardens.
    Yesterday I came across an “edible” wall in London – in a documentary. The planted herbs, salad, strawberries and everyone can just pick. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to see it soon.
    Back to NY -It’s great that they left the rail track in this garden here.

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      1. Oh thank you for sharing that link! I love that it’s right along the canal. I bet someone could park his boat and hop out to snip a few berries. 🙂

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  2. Hi Jackie. I love the High Line. My father-in-law lives very close to it in Chelsea, so we love walking there. Thanks for helping me to revisit it! And enjoy the spring weather this weekend.–Patti

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    1. Thank you for stopping by, Gerard. Your photos are terrific. I love that you got long shots from up high showing how the path from a greater distance.

      I wonder what it is like for the people in the residential buildings to have folks walking by their balconies all day long. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m glad you enjoyed my post. I really enjoyed yours.

        I visited the High Line a few times and each time I also wondered how the people who live in the residential buildings feel about people invading their privacy on the High Line.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s worth the trip! (And it’s free!) 🙂
      I recommend going early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the rush of tourists and the heat of the day.
      Have a great weekend.

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    1. The creativity from beginning to end is so impressive. From the architects who designed really eye-catching and functional overlooks to the landscapers who know where to plant just the right trees, the entire project is a beautiful representation of human ingenuity.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I have never walked on the High Line because I do think of it as a tourist trap. I spend so much time in Times Square attending the theater, that I’ve maxed out my tourist tolerance. But it looks lovely from your pictures.

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    1. Actually there were quite a few locals, at least at the southern end of the line. Plenty of joggers and people walking to work. If you’re in the neighborhood, it’s a nice way to spend a half hour.

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  4. I think the “tourist in town” concept is so great, Jackie! I know there is so much to see and get to know in the Twin Cities too. You (almost) make want to take out some sneakers (not white ones, promise) and get going.

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  5. What a wonderful perspective, Jackie. I love the idea of becoming a tourist in your own town. There are still so many places I need to explore in the desert. You’ve inspired me!

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    1. So often we don’t take advantage of the wonderful things to do right in our own town. I hope you get to explore your area and write a post about it. I’d love to learn more.

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  6. Just want to share that my son just got back from a week in NYC visiting a friend. They didn’t do a lot of touristy things but they did check this out and it was one of his favorite things! He said he thinks he saw his dream apartment there. Yeah, I’ll bet. =) They also walked across the Brooklyn Bridge which he also enjoyed despite the crowds. So, now he’s been to NYC twice and I’ve only seen it from I95. Totally not cool!

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    1. I’m so glad that your son had a great time in NYC and especially walking the High Line. What fun!

      Yeah, my dream apartment is along there too. When I win the lottery, I’ll invite you over. 🙂

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