Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Walking the High Line

An article in the April 2011 edition of National Geographic magazine about New York City’s High Line ‘park’ got me reminiscing about my visit to the High Line in 2010.

The High Line is not a park in the conventional sense – it is more a raised landscape feature following the course of an old, long defunct and abandoned elevated railway line along the lower west side of Manhattan’s Chelsea district. Part park, promenade, meeting place, and sun deck, the High Line is a great example of a good idea whose time has come.

Once classed as an eyesore and slated for demolition, the High Line was saved from the scrap merchants yard, mainly as the result of the shared vision, work and enthusiasm of two men, Joshua David and Robert Hammond, who had the foresight to imagine a new life for the old El line, and who formed Friends of the High Line in 1999 to bring their vision to life.

The rest, as the saying goes, is history.

I walked the first section of the High Line back in July 2010, and thoroughly enjoyed my birds-eye view along a route that led from Gansevoort Street through the Meatpacking District, and across Tenth Avenue to West 20th Street. As you walk some 25 feet above street level your perspective of New York City changes constantly, and the walk makes for a very pleasant way to spend an hour or so people watching, sunbathing, or just relaxing on a warm summer day.

Here, narrated by the actor Ethan Hawke, is a short history of the High Line:

This week, stage two of the High Line opened, extending the route a further ten blocks north to West 30th Street. The High Line now provides unique views of the Meatpacking District, West Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen, and its total length now extends a full mile.

Best of all, the entire length of the High Line is wheelchair accessible with access provided by elevators located at West 14th, W 16th and W 30th Streets. A fourth elevator is currently being installed at W 23rd Street and should be operating by the end of this month.

The High Line is open daily during the park’s summer operating hours of 7:00AM to 11:00PM, and access is free.

Photographers Delight
Photographers looking for a unique perspective for their New York City images, have found the High Line to be a perfect place to capture the Big Apple in ways that, in the past, may have not been possible – or easily achieved.

Because of the generous opening hours of the High Line, setting up for early morning or late evening sunsets shots of New York’s skyline has made the High Line a popular viewing platform for local and visiting photographers.

Art, Music, Dance
A full program of art, music and dance has being scheduled for the High Line this summer, as well as regular walking tours, volunteering opportunities and more, and you can read about these via the Friend of the High Line newsletter on their website.

More information
More videos can be accessed via the Friends of The High Line YouTube page…
Friends of The High Line Org…

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