Once a railroad track carrying freight trains, this elevated space has been transformed into one of the city’s top attractions—a 1½-mile landscaped “walking park,” with curving walkways, picnic tables and benches, public art installations, and views of the Hudson River and the Manhattan skyline. Running from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District (at the Whitney Museum of Art) to West 34th Street, the High Line somehow manages to host about 5 million visitors a year and still feel like a wonderful retreat from the hubbub of the city.
One of the main draws of the High Line is the landscaping, which is carefully choreographed and yet wild and untamed at the same time. Visitors can see many of the original species that grew in the rail beds, as well as shrubs, trees, grasses, and perennials chosen for their hardiness and sustainability. The landscape is restless and always changing, with each week bringing new colors, textures, and scents; check the website before
you visit to see what’s in bloom.
Chelsea Market Passage, between 15th and 16th Streets, is accented with Spencer Finch’s stained-glass art and home to public art displays, video programs, music performances, and sit-down events.
A particularly popular feature that illustrates the High Line’s greatest achievement—the ability to see the city with fresh eyes—is the 10th Avenue Square (between 16th and 17th Streets). This viewing window with stadium seating and large picture windows frames the ever-moving and -changing city below as art, encouraging viewers to linger, watch, pose, and engage with the city in a new way.
The 25-by-75-foot billboard located within a parking lot next to the High Line at 18th Street and 10th Avenue presents a series of art installations on view for a month at a time.
The best way to fully appreciate the High Line is to walk the full length of the elevated park in one direction (preferably from Gansevoort Street uptown so that you can end with panoramic views of the city and Hudson River) and then make the return journey at street level, taking in the Chelsea neighborhood, and eats, below. Nearby Chelsea Market and Gansevoort Market are convenient places to pick up fixings for a picnic lunch.
From April to October, starting at sunset, you can join the AAA (no, not the motor club, the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York) to view celestial bodies and stars at various points along the High Line. Check the High Line’s Twitter feed (@highlinenyc) or website for current details.