Tuesday, June 17, 2014

NYC's High Line Park

I wrote this piece last year for a now-defunct website, but since my love for the High Line remains steadfast, it's reprinted (with updated details) below. Enjoy!

Now in it’s fifth year of operation, New York’s High Line Park might be old news to you by now. However, it’s worth revisiting the west-side elevated walkway for your daily dose of delicious food, interesting art, gorgeous views and some pretty cool flowers that you probably can’t grow in your fire-escape-window-herb-garden. 

Top 10 Reasons to (re)Visit The High Line

10.) It doesn’t cost anything to walk the High Line. And in a city where $12 cocktails are de rigeur, you can’t beat free.

9.) If sweeping views of the Hudson River and the New Jersey that lies beyond it are too much for your senses to handle, focus a little closer on the innovative public art that decorates the High Line. Right now visitors can get a look at Marianne Vitalie’s Common Crossings, a collection of sculptures made with decommissioned steel railroad track components (and remember that the High Line itself is itself a repurposed railway!), and Skittles, by Josh Kline, a large scale installation involving smoothies created with unconventional and poetic combinations of ingredients. 

8.) Viewing areas are set up along the path so that people can watch people watch other people who are watching traffic down below. So meta.

7.) Sick of getting to know your OkCupid date over expensive cocktails at a noisy bar? Even when it’s crowded (steer clear on weekends and holidays), the High Line is such a well-designed walking path that you and your amour can learn each other’s names at normal speaking voices. Walking at a leisurely pace, it’ll take you about 40 minutes to get from one end to the other - so if you learn that you will never play second fiddle to her beloved tabby named Mr. Tiddlywinks, you can make your escape quickly and quietly. If the date’s going well? Turn around and walk the route in reverse. 

6.) Much of the park incorporates the original rail tracks into it’s design, allowing you to walk along tracks built during the Depression...which is just kinda cool.

5.) 210 different plant species make their home on the High Line, 161 of those are native to New York. Right now, flora and fauna with names like Common Quaking Grass, Threadleaf Bluestar, Siberian Catmint, and Fumewort are in bloom, so you may just find the inspiration for the name of your next indie band or craft beer.

4.) Can’t figure out what to do with the family on their 8th visit this year? Take ‘em for a walk. Ample seating is available all along the High Line for when dad needs a rest, water fountains are found at all access points for when mom wants to refill her water bottle, and the entire park is wheelchair accessible, so even granny can go for a stroll.

3.) A delicious variety of food is available to those looking to refuel between Little West 12th and West 18th Streets. In typical New York food truck fashion, a walk on the High Line will offer your pretzels, ice-cream sandwiches, a wine bar, a cup of coffee, tacos, gelato, and even some bar-b-que. My personal favorites are the handmade popsicles from People's Pops, who use locally-grown fruits in an ever-changing seasonal menu. You haven’t really lived until you’ve tried a nectarine chai popsicle. 

2.) Walked the whole thing twice and still want more? Not to worry, the third and final leg of the park is slated to sometime this year, extending the Highline northwest from 30th Street, cutting towards the Hudson River, and then ending around the Hudson Yards at 34th Street. Proposed plans included more lounge chairs, a kid’s play area, an open gathering space, and a makeout lookout point.

1.) Is your left brain being under stimulated? Free weekly guided walking tours are available on Tuesdays, and a variety of other walks, talks and lectures are scheduled throughout the summer - take a nature walk with a gardener, learn about the old meatpacking industry with a historian, wake up early to watch the birds with park naturalists, or go to bed late after stargazing with astronomers.

If you go: The High Line Park has nine different access points along Manhattan's west side, and is open daily from 7am to 11pm. Visit http://www.thehighline.org/ for more information and to plan your visit.

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