Everyone knows there are wonderful things to do and places to see in the public parksÂ of Manhattan. There is Central Park, and numerous squares and gardens sprinkledÂ throughout the island. There is one park, however which is not so well known becauseÂ unlike all of the others, this one is above your head, not below your feet.
How to Get There:
You can walkÂ right under it and not even know it is there. Called â€œThe High Lineâ€, it is not a â€œpocketÂ parkâ€ but stretches twenty-two blocks. It is roughly 1.5 miles from Gansevoort Street toÂ West 30th Street on the west side of the island. The park is part of three distinctÂ neighborhoods in the cityâ€”the Meat Packing District, West Chelsea and Clinton Park.Â Originally built in 1934 as an elevated freight train line serving numerous companiesÂ with the delivery to meat, produce and dairy warehouses, the narrow park began redevelopmentÂ in 1999, opening ten years later.
The High Line, which is wheelchairÂ accessible, is entered via one of nine stairways or four elevators to an urban oasis threeÂ stories above the hustle and bustle of the streets of Manhattan.Â Once you have ascended to the park, you will find meandering concrete paths borderedÂ with naturalistic landscaping. There are plenty of benches and some very ampleÂ bleacher-style shaded seating at various points. It is even possible to see the original trainÂ tracks embedded in the walkway.
There is a cafÃ© near the 14th Street entrance namedÂ â€œTerroir at The Porchâ€ and various and some quite elegant seasonal food vendorsÂ stationed throughout the route between April and October.Â There are over three hundred species of perennials, shrubs, grasses and trees at TheÂ High Line. Dogs and skateboards are not allowed. Bordering parts of the park there areÂ some very interesting modern buildings with undulating asymmetrical walls, so there isÂ something to see besides the trees and shrubbery.
On their website you can even access aÂ â€œBloom Scheduleâ€ for each month in order to find out what is currently in bloom.Â A long-time resident of New York emphatically recommended the High Line to me.Â Iâ€™m sure I never would have known about it, let alone visit it without his guidance. It isÂ sort of a secret hiding in plain sight and well worth a few hours visit where you can relaxÂ and unwind.
Hours and Operations:
Although owned by the City of New York, the park is maintained by â€˜Friends Of TheÂ High Lineâ€™. The summer hours are from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and admission is free. There isÂ a future and final phase of the park now in development called â€˜High Line at the RailÂ Yardsâ€™, to be opened in 2014. It will encompass a significant area where the trains wouldÂ loop around and head back to their original destinations. This phase will include aÂ childrenâ€™s playground.
The High Lineâ€™s website is: thehighline.org
Their phone number is: 212-206-9922