Transformation, rebirth, a visionary rebuilding, weaving the old with the new — words that come to mind on viewing the High Line park on the west side of mid-Manhattan. What was once a rusty, weedy, abandoned railroad segment of a freight train line, is now a verdant, blooming public park with spectacular views of the city, and ever-changing artwork.
The elevated park, which opened in 2009, runs 1.45 miles between 14th Street in the Meatpacking District (another transformed neighborhood) and 34th Street.
Above the noise and traffic and bustle of the streets below, the High Line provides a calm respite, an opportunity to walk through the city without all the stop and go of the traffic lights. Running through the park is a relaxing walkway with remnants of the rail tracks still visible in the landscaped swaths of flowers, grasses, and trees.
There are various places to gather with friends, and seating that overlooks the Hudson River and the streets of Manhattan.
The park provides great viewing points from which to see the architecture of the West Side, new and old New York sitting comfortably side by side. To the north stands the Hudson Yards Project — a cluster of gleaming buildings towering high above the city. Further down, the ultra-modern architecture of Frank Gehry’s IAC Building and the new Whitney Museum stand among the lower brick buildings of a much older Manhattan. And the Empire State Building can be seen from various points.
At end of day, small recessed lighting softens the park, and from one of its many benches you can catch the setting sun glinting off the windows of Manhattan, or watch the sun sink slowly over the Hudson River.