One of my favourite things from our trip to New York was taking a walk along the High Line.
If you’re not familiar with one of New York’s best free attractions, the High Line is an aerial park built on a disused section of elevated railroad. Originally a part of New York Connecting Railroad’s West Side Line, it was part of the freight transport network for the Lower West Side.
After the line fell into disuse, it became over grown with vegetation and in the 1990s was slated for demolition. It was eventually saved by a non-profit group who campaigned for the site’s regeneration as a public green space. Built in several stages, with work still ongoing, the High Line first opened as a park in the summer of 2009.
It has since inspired regeneration in some of the surrounding neighbourhoods.
The High Line runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th and 12th Avenues. You can find a map here.
One of the best things about the High Line is how it weaves its way through industrial and residential areas of New York, allowing visitors a glimpse of something unique.
We visited in December, so didn’t get the full benefit of the park’s plant life and green spaces, but in summer I imagine it would be a beautiful place to enjoy the sun and people watch. Even on a cold December morning there were plenty of people walking the 1.45 mile route – but never so many that it felt crowded. There were still moments of privacy and peace amid the apartment blocks and offices that line the walkway.
There are surprises around every corner too, with viewing galleries and cut outs that offer views across both the Hudson River and the city streets, including glimpses of the Empire State Building. The walkway also features some striking sculptures and street art.
We joined the route at 30th Street, before heading downtown through Chelsea and the Meatpacking District, spending the rest of the afternoon wandering through the West Village.
If you’re in New York, I recommend taking some time to walk the High Line and enjoy a different view of the city. It’s an innovative way of transforming a piece of NYC’s industrial heritage into something fresh and beautiful.
I’d love to see something similar where I live.