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Monday, July 6, 2009

City Portraits - The High Line, Chelsea

View from the High Line
Photo by myself from the High Line, at Gansevoort and Washington Streets in Chelsea. The new elevated park gives views of existing warehouses in the area.

A couple weeks ago I paid a visit to the newest addition to NYC landmarks - the High Line, a public park in Chelsea.

I'd heard vaguely about the project several years ago - something about old elevated railroad tracks being turned into a park. Now I know what the hubbub was about.

This public space is wonderfully designed, using modern materials that manage to refer to the structure's history. Precast concrete pavers are shaped to resemble train tracks, with grass growing in crevices.

At some points, rusty rail tracks are scattered casually on the ground. There are the typical things you expect in a park - plants, paths, benches and water fountains. The difference here is that you're on an old elevated structure, raised above street level.

If you're interested in visiting, I suggest starting at the entrance near Gansevoort Street, where a modern stair literally hangs from the old structure. Travel north, and encounter events along the way - piers that jut out for a view of the Hudson River, an outdoor theater space, and scattered seating areas.

The High Line Entrance
The entrance to the park, at Gansevoort Street. Walking up the stair, you ask yourself - am I inside or outside?


The High Line
At times, the park traverses below buildings sharing the same aesthetic.


The High Line Overpass
Parts of the concrete flooring rise up to become benches.


The High Line Overpass

The park meanders much like a landscape, allowing for views of self-referential views along the way.

The glassed-in space is an open-air theater that looks out onto the street below.

The Steps at the High Line
Dozens of people were sitting on the steps, enjoying the weather. It looked as if something were about to happen.


High Line flexible seating
Large reclining chairs on wheels can be moved along train tracks.

Be aware, though, that besides the buildings, there is little shade along the path. On summer afternoon, it can be hot up there.

Said one European in passing: 'We are closer to the sun!'

Related posts: City Portrait - Washington Square Park, City Portrait - BBQ Block Party, Madison Square Park and Warehousing Art in Chelsea.

5 comments:

missb@dragonflyvintage said...

pretty cool! thanks for the tour. isn't there another one of these high line plantings somewhere else, like maybe queens or brooklyn, i forget...

Terry B said...

Thanks for the tour, Kitty! I've heard a lot about the High Line from various sources, but yours is the first thing I've seen that really makes me want to see it on my next NYC visit.

Lily Hydrangea said...

I love the gleaming bar of white you have managed to capture in this beautiful black and white portrait of the High Line.

chimesey said...

Ooh, we walked under the High Line last Sunday! But we were heading off somewhere else, and didn't realise what it was. Back home now! Never mind. Next time.

Kitty said...

Welcome MissB
Not sure of the other park you mean. I'll have to look around. That'd be a great photo-op.

Hi Terry
Oh, I hope you do come by and see it. I recommend it so highly. Nothing else new of late comes even close.

Hi Lily
Thanks so much, dear!

Hi Chimesey
How funny? I didn't know you were visiting. That's awesome!