One favourite place in New York for us both is the High Line. Since we’ve been coming here, this old, elevated railway track has been transformed into a fantastic linear urban park and we were excited to see the new extension which has been completed since our last visit.
It was a beautiful, fine morning and we woke bright eyed and bushy tailed – and hungry!
Fifth Avenue was just waking up as we stepped out towards another favourite haunt – the Red Flame diner – for breakfast. My hero had been looking forward to his traditional, no-nonsense corned beef hash and though we’re staying in a slightly different location this time, a short walk to 44th Street was in the schedule.
Feeling suitably fortified, it was an easy stroll to the new High Line access point at 30th and 9th, which is still very much under construction and not exactly pretty right now. We’d thought of dropping into Macys, perhaps stopping by M & J Trimmings on the way or mooching in one or two of the bead shops along 6th Avenue, but we were too early (yes, once again, we could be classed as “twirlies”). We’d arranged to meet Jordi outside Chelsea Market at noon, so had oodles of time.
But maybe it was a good thing to be early; to be here before the crowds, because if it was going to be a fine and sunny Saturday morning, this was likely to be a popular place to visit today. We decided to get on up there and see what’s what.
Well, one good thing about the High Line is the management. It’s maintained beautifully for everyone’s benefit and the signage and information is well presented right the way along.
Our first encounter was with a couple of young staff members, chatting as they strolled along, keeping the peace and applying the “no cycling” rule a little harshly we thought, as they told a young mother that her small boy couldn’t ride his little scooter alongside his family. Oh my. The peace and quiet of the morning was shattered as he expressed his dismay in the only way a two or three year old can – and his mother was left to carry the bloomin’ thing!
Rules is rules, it seems.
We lingered around this new stretch, looking over to where the next, final stage of the park is being developed. There’s still a fair bit of work to be done, clearly.
The plain wood and stainless steel style looks good and the planting has been continued in the same manner throughout, though of course, this newer stretch has yet to grow into the space. We love the fact that there’s plenty of space to sit, to linger and to look around.
And here, on an adjacent building, a team of young men were working in gondolas, firstly whitewashing and preparing the side of a building for a piece of artwork and then, this pair were transferring the outline to one part of the wall ready for painting. We watched for some time, trying to see what they were doing and what exactly it was going to look like.
This was our only clue…he appeared to be holding an advertising image for the Metropolitan Museum.
We’ll have to take a look next time we are here!
Actually, there is quite a bit of art along the way, here. On this corner, there was a recording of an actor naming a variety of animals, which was a curious sound in a relatively quiet spot.
There is, of course, the usual urban graffiti – how many places does this cat appear?!
There are colourful wall paintings at street level, too
and some residents in buildings overlooking the park have a sense of humour!
The planting right the way along the park has been very cleverly designed and everything was bursting into growth, giving a fresh, Springlike feel the whole way.
I loved the way this blossom looked against the brick wall.
Since we had plenty of time, we enjoyed stopping at these little platforms, to stand and stare at the streetscape beneath us. This platform, high above 23rd Street ( I think) had high backed benches to sit on; so comfortable, we might have brought our books and sat there for a couple of hours!
We could see almost as far as the East River.
But a little further on was our favourite wall of the whole park. This was a relatively recent installation and is here for just a few months, so we felt lucky to see it. It’s a little confusing to look at in reality, so even harder in a photograph.
One side of a building has been clad in a combination of mirror and rusty metal.
The surface is uneven and the textures are terrific. The overall effect is stunning and it was attracting the attention of everyone who passed by.
The details were posted alongside so we could learn a little about what we were seeing. There’s more information here.
Now, we were in the older, more established part of the park and enjoying some of the familiar features like this viewing platform above 9th Avenue. More people were joining us up here too, joggers and tourists just like ourselves taking photographs and enjoying the fresh air.
Turning the corner, my hero looked out towards the south and spotted a landmark.
Would you have spotted her there? (I didn’t)
By now, we were in the old, original part of the park, in this very chilly covered stretch. It was becoming yet more crowded and we were glad we’d not only started early but that we’d begun at the “new” end too.
This tour group of Norwegians were taking things very slowly indeed and we were glad to think we weren’t following them!
The last stretch of the park appeared, beneath the Standard Hotel, where a new piece of sculpture was being installed. Yes, we too thought it was one of those “live standing figures”. But no, it isn’t!
The last, original part of the park, with the beautiful arrangement of rails, sleepers and trees could perhaps be our favourite.
Here at the end of the park, we’ve usually turned around and retraced our steps back to Chelsea Market, but on this occasion we decided to walk at street level to take a different view. There was a major operation taking place in the street alongside, where a vast crane was being put into position.
The structure there at the end will be the new location for the Whitney Art Museum, bring yet more energy to this regenerated area and giving us another reason to come here – as if we needed one.
We’ve not yet been here 24 hours and already, we are buzzing!