Puffles and Honey went strolling above the city at the High Line, an untraditional park in the sky, stretching from 34th Street to the downtown Meatpacking District.
New York City’s only elevated park is one of Manhattan’s most popular destinations. A rail track that went out of use in 1980, the High Line was resurrected as a 2.3km long green space in 2009, running from Hudson Yards to the northern edge of Chelsea. The second section from West 20th Street to West 30th Street opened to the public in June 2011 and the third and northernmost section on the park, the High Line at the Rail Yards, opened to the public in September 2014. The High Line has been transformed into an urbanite’s playground planted with wildflowers and grasses, offering walkers some of the best views in NYC, and that makes the park simultaneously removed from the city and an inextricable part of it.
On Manhattan’s Far West Side, they built an elevated railroad in the 1930s because freight trains and pedestrians kept colliding down on 10th Avenue. The trains won.
On the High Line today, the locomotives are long gone, and the pedestrians have emerged the victors and 5 million people visit every year. The High Line has become one of the top visitor attractions in New York — more popular even than the Statue of Liberty.
The High Line serves up the Big Apple on a platter 9m high. Looking eastward is the view of Midtown’s iconic skyscrapers. Looking west is the Hudson River.
The first two sections, which opened in 2009 and 2011, run 20 blocks, from the Meatpacking District north through West Chelsea, and cost $152 million to design, engineer and reconstruct. The new section, the High Line at the Rail Yards, initially cost $35 million. The section will be structurally rehabilitated in about a decade as the adjoining rail yards become the platform for a whole new skyline above them.
The costs may seem high, but as the architects and landscape architects got down to work, they discovered that much of the infrastructure needed major renovation. The High Line is, essentially, an elongated rooftop garden, where the depth of the (highly engineered) soil is measured in centimeters, and elaborate stormwater management and irrigation systems lie hidden from view.
The force behind the park’s formidable horticultural presence is a Dutch plant designer named Piet Oudolf, who also designed the Lurie Garden in Chicago’s Millennium Park, Battery Park in Lower Manhattan and the Seasonal Walk at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx.
The underlying design philosophy of the High Line was to recognize the sheer power of its passage through the city and the drama of its years in the wilderness. The High Line is free of dog runs, playgrounds (the new section features a discrete children’s play area) and conventional park planting schemes. Bikes, skateboards and cigarettes are banned. The plants, now maturing, give the High Line its singular spirit.
At Gansevoort St, the High Line meets the new $422 million building designed by architect Renzo Piano for the Whitney Museum, which opened a year ago.
In 1930, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney had offered her collection, which included many works by John Sloan, George Bellows, and other Ashcan School painters, and by the sterling modernists Marsden Hartley, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Stuart Davis, to the Metropolitan Museum. But the director, Edward Robinson, who was both averse to modern art and contemptuous of its American proponents, spurned it. Apparently he told her, “What will we do with them, dear lady? We have a cellar full of those things already.” She stormed out of his office without mentioning the offer of five million dollars for a new wing to house the works.
Whitney decided to open her own museum, on West Eighth Street, in 1931, and appointed Juliana R. Force its director. Since then, seven directors have overseen the growth of the collection, which now contains twenty-two thousand items, seventeen thousand of them works on paper. In 1961, the museum began seeking a site for a larger building. After decades of grappling with space problems at the various locations it tried out, the museum decided to move downtown to the location that marks the southern entrance to the High Line park.
Puffles and Honey thought the best thing about the museum was the views!
And its proximity to Bubby’s High Line at 73 Gansevoort St 🙂
It is the place for cherry pie!
Back on the High Line for a siesta…
…before a visit to the Chelsea Markets for lunch.
The pizza was delicious!
Near the pizza place is Li-Lac Chocolates, Manhattan’s oldest chocolate house.