Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happenings: First Visit to the High Line

As long as I've lived here, I've been hearing about plans for the High Line. What is it? An elevated park on what used to be a train track, I was told. I couldn't picture such a thing in theory. But this Saturday, I finally saw it for myself.

City Guy, a couple friends and I braved the heavy gray skies after brunch and walked the rainsoaked wooden planks. The completed section runs from Gansevoort to 20th St, but entered on 18th St. When done, the park should be a mile-and-a-half long and extend north to 34th St. It offers a rare elevated perspective on the river and the Meatpacking District and Chelsea and is beautifully landscaped with plants that were supposedly growing on the abandoned tracks (trains haven't run there since 1980).The architecture is well thought out, although I did almost trip on a couple inexplicable bumps in the cement near some benches (to discourage skateboarders?). Some of the benches were sleek and reminiscent of playground slides, but so narrow that anyone with a large behind might feel less than fully supported. Others were more like beach chairs or beds, sans the adjustable back support. In any case, no one was sitting, as they were wet wet wet. My favorite feature were the windows on the pedestrian bridge over 14th St(?). There is tiered seating so you can while the hours away staring at traffic pass below. The fishbowl view from the other side was actually more interesting.
In this covered bridge above Chelsea Market, an employee from City Bakery manned a small food cart with baked goods and coffee, but wasn't getting much business.
What is this striking architectural giant? Anyone know? It strides the High Line perfectly. Saw lots of people taking pictures, but just one runner. He didn't look very comfortable, navigating the flower beds and benches--plus how satisfying could a half mile run really be? The rest of the High Line is still in construction. Looking through the locked gate at 20th St where the completed section ends, we saw plants waiting for new homes. A nice addition to the city and another bonus to living downtown and on the West side. Should be nice when it's complete.


e-Liz said...

That's the Standard Hotel, famous for having all of NYC's exhibitionists!

The Girl Next Door said...

Aha! Thanks for the ID.