Sunday, June 14, 2009

New York's Park in the Sky

Last week, the High Line Park, which has been about five years in the making, finally opened to the public. It's a park literally in the sky - 30 feet in the air, 22 blocks long, stretches about 1.45 miles, and is only 60 feet wide. It offers beautiful views of the classic New York buildings, the Hudson, and even a glimpse of the Empire State Building. It is the fact that this park is elevated above the ground and surrounded by industrial buildings that make this park one of the most original and ingenious parks in the world, essentially recycling what would have otherwise been demolished. Add this to the list of what makes New York the best place to live in the world. While Central Park remains our number one love, the High Line Park will now be our love when we just want to stroll over without going too far (it's a three-minute walk from our apartment).

The High Line Park is on an abandoned rail line that once ran freight up and down the West side of Manhattan from the 1930s until 1980. The first section of the park that's now open to the public is from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 20th Street in Chelsea. This photo shows the entrance from Gansevoort Street. As you enter, the folks from City Bakery offer some snacks (they also have a cart mid-way into the park).

The park is a mix of steel, concrete, glass and combines modern elements with green landscaping. There's actual preserved tracks mixed in with flowers representing the wild species said to have existed after the trains stopped running.

The sleek and modern looking wooden and steel bench chairs and wooden sun loungers really adds extra style oomph to the park, and makes the park feel like the park for the iPhone generation.

The challenge will be getting here early enough to snag one of these great loungers, where we hope to be leisurely lying around with some books and snacks. Hey, even non-rich folks like us have the right to FREELY lounge around in style. We're certain that once the sun sets, there will be some mischief here (especially considering this area). Actually, we'd love to be able to bring a cooler with finely chilled beers and a radio here late at night, or better yet at sunset.

This is another great area of the park. Your view: the crazy cabs and crazier (overly stylized) people on the Meatpacking streets. It's like people watching on a clear movie screen. Voyeurism at it's best; Hitchcock would have made a great Rear Window scene here.

It's one of the most interesting sights - to see the beautiful grass, landscaping and flowers above the concrete jungle below.

This is at the 20th Street end. We're curious to see what the 20th to 34th Street stretch will look like a year from now.

A New York Times writer described the High Line Park as "one of the most thoughtful, sensitively designed public spaces built in New York in years." Welcome to the neighborhood!