Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Unlikely Park in the Sky

The newest park in Manhattan is an elevated railroad called The High Line. After ten years of planning, preparation, fundraising, and negotiating with local authorities, the park finally opened its first section (from Gansevoort Street to 20th Street on the West Side) a couple of weeks ago. Tens of thousands of people have visited the High Line since its opening, and it's been cool to look down where I live on 19th Street and see people walking across it. If it ever stops raining in New York, I see myself enjoying a stroll or even a picnic lunch before heading off to work.

The first time we went to see the High Line was the Sunday after it opened. We went at night, which afforded a different look and feel to the neighborhoods through which we crossed, the buildings we passed, and the High Line itself. Above is a small section of railroad track which has been preserved from the days when the High Line was actually a working railroad.

One of the primary features of the High Line is the plant life. I have no idea what this plant is, but I like its color. It is embedded in gravel mulch.

This is my favorite part of the High Line (so far, anyway). This section is suspended above 10th Avenue and has uneven benches that zig zag throughout. From the windows up front, people can watch cars pass by, people watch, and catch all the action of Chelsea.

The High Line offers a great vantage point for checking out the neighborhoods through which the tracks run. Above is the Park restaurant on 10th Avenue and 18th Street.

My husband had the opportunity to visit the High Line during the day, and he captured this image of the Empire State Building from atop the tracks.

Here is the Frank Gehry-designed IAC Building by day . . .

and the IAC Building by night. I used to hate that building, but it's grown on me through the years.

From the High Line, these new high rises give Chelsea an intriguing contrast between old (La Luncheonette, owned by our neighbors, on the corner) and new (459 W. 18th Street and the Chelsea Modern).

As evidenced by the Chelsea Modern and its neighbor, Chelsea is ripe with crazy new buildings. This is 456 W. 19th Street, and it's going up right next to us. We can't wait for it to be finished because it's been a huge pain in the rear. As a result of the construction of this high rise, our walls are cracked, and we waited months before repairs began. But I digress . . .

The high rises and hotels - like the Standard pictured above - are popping up around the High Line, and we're excited about the prospects for our Chelsea and the surrounding neighborhoods. Perhaps this means someone will build a good deli near us on 10th Avenue . . .

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