The High Line, an elevated repurposed rail line along the West side of Manhattan, is a park that has something for everyone. More than a mile long, it is an edgy public space offering healthy doses of nature, art, architecture and food.
For the Nature Lover
Spring offers a creative vision of verdant shrubs and flowers on this elevated nature walk. The park serves as an inspiration to natural gardeners in cities who aim to evoke undesigned country-like landscapes all in its splendid disorder, like prairies and meadows. The result is a series of gardens spilling out into curving pathways and grazing the legs of passers-by. Not just pretty to look at, this greenery has become a valuable habitat for birds and bees and butterflies.
For the Art Enthusiast
Since its opening in 2009, there are tons of art to be seen on and around the High Line. A wide variety of art work specifically commissioned for the park has been presented. The most recent of which is a group exhibit called Busted. It is a collection of ten sculptures found throughout the park that is far from conventional and a bit whimsical. Aside from these, one only has to look up, down or sideways to find amazing graffiti done by street artists under the cover of night. The most famous of which was an installation made by Banksy, an anonymous British street artist, that only ran for 5 days last October.
For the Architecture Fan
Designed by world renowned firms, the park’s architecture is a sight to behold. It is both organic and urban, integrating plant life with modernity, that is ecologically sensitive. The cityscape surrounding it is equally complex. A perfect blend of old and new, shabby and posh, industrial and residential, that is truly New York. From triangular Flatiron-style buildings from the turn of the last century to former factories and warehouses to hotels, condominiums and office skyscrapers designed by celebrity architects like Frank Gehry, the High Line has it all. It elicits the most common question from people of all ages from dozens of foreign languages – “What’s that building?”
For the Foodie
Looking for a perfect spot for a picnic, forget the line at your favorite brunch spot and hit the High Line instead. Before throwing your picnic blanket on a little patch of grass, head to adjacent Chelsea Market first and grab to go whatever food that takes your fancy. Or sometimes all one needs is a perfect slice of pizza from nearby Artichoke Basille’s. If picnicking is not your thing, the park offers a variety of food vendors from coffee to ice cream to ribs and tacos to be enjoyed in a courtyard with tables and chairs. There is also an open air, full service cafe with beer, wine and small plates.
For the Photographer
Because of all the things I have mentioned above, a photographer, novice or professional, will recognize right away how photogenic this park is. Modern art emerges from lush greenery, pedestrians weaving in and out of walkways interposed with the original locomotive lines, and sunsets with distinct urban backdrop of Manhattan are great subjects.
There you go, no matter what the purpose of your visit, there is no better way to enjoy a soon-to-be blooming New York City than to go to this celebrated park.
Written by Faith Azul-Evia. Faith is an avid flashpacker (a slightly older version of a backpacker with a bigger budget but still wants to avoid a packaged version of a destination) and believes that her travels start as soon as she steps out of her NY apartment building. She is in constant search of new places to explore, eat, drink, sleep, spa, run, hike and yoga. She has been to more than 40 countries on 6 continents and dreams of going to Antarctica someday. Follow her @faithflashpacks on Instagram.