SPENT A COUPLE OF DAYS in the Big Town this week, taking care of business and visiting with my kids (who are grown-ups). On Tuesday, my daughter Zoe and I checked out the High Line, which is open, finally, after 10 years in the planning.
The once-rusting hulk of an abandoned elevated railway that runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to 20th Street in Chelsea has been transformed into a public park, gorgeously planted with birch trees and perennials — a natural-looking, gravel-mulched landscape inspired by the wild, weedy landscape left over when the trains stopped running decades ago. (A second section, extending to 30th Street, is slated to open next year.)
It’s a novel and exciting vantage point, a couple of stories up, surrounded by the adventurous architecture and glitzy hotels that have sprung up in the area.
The park is already well-used, full of people strolling, taking pictures, hanging out with friends and neighbors. In the evenings, I hear, the High Line becomes a lively social scene and a romantic spot to watch the lights flicker on all over Midtown.
Nicolai Ourousoff, the New York Times architecture critic, called it “one of the most thoughtful, sensitively designed public spaces built in New York in years.” (Read what else he had to say here.)
It’s sure to be the summer’s biggest tourist attraction. Weekends are likely to be crowded, so try to go during the week if you can — but by all means, get there.