If there’s a place I recommend 100% while visiting New York, it’s the High Line!!!
Since the opening of this elevated and original promenade, it allows you to discover New York from a different angle.
Let me explain to you the history, the design, what you can do and where you can access to the High Line.
The history of the High Line
At the beginning of the 20th Century, the Meatpacking District in NYC experienced saturated roads with pedestrians, horses, carts, cars, trucks and trains. Besides, 10th street was actually named the “street of death” because of the traffic and the danger that the street represented.
In 1930, public and private authorities decided to find a remedy for this security issue between the train, cars and pedestrians; they’ve created an underground rail line 10 meters up from the ground.
In order to relieve traffic jams and reduce numerous accidents, the construction of an elevated railroad started in 1930.
The elevated platform allowed the freight of meat, milk and other merchandises, and to store goods in warehouses installed along the line.
But in the years 1950-60, the train declined comparing to trucks as a mean of transportation which was largely preferred.
As a result, the railroad became nearly unused and in 1980 the last train passed on the rail of this elevated platform.
The line became abandoned and weed infested. The destruction seemed unavoidable but in 1999, two locals, Joshua David and Robert Hammond founded an organization to save the line and proposed a make over just like the Parisian Promenade Plantée, and suggested a suspended urban park.
In 2004, the mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, started to pay attention since the organization grew and found sympathy with the cause that he then decided to finance the project. The High Line was finally created and the first segment was inaugurated in 2009.
How is it?
The High Line is 2,3 km (or 1.45 miles) long and is divided into 3 segments.
Click on the image below to discover this promenade standing in the middle of New York.
From where can we access the High Line?
Just as you can see on the image below, and as for now, stairs are available in order to access to the High Line.
There are also 5 elevators that allow strollers, wheelchairs and elder people to go up New York’s High Line.
What are the High Lines opening hours?
It may vary according to the time of year:
– December 1 to March 31: 7.00 AM – 7.00 PM
– April 1 to May 31: 7.00 AM – 10.00 PM
– June 1 to September 30: 7.00 AM – 11.00 PM
– October 1 to November 30: 7.00 AM – 10.00 PM
What can one see?
The High Line draws tourists and locals alike.
You can really see that on weekends especially on Sundays where a number of New Yorkers come out for a stroll.
You’ll also notice that the High Line is also popular at noon during lunchtime, notably when the sun comes out 🙂
Otherwise, it’s considered a hip place to hang out since it’s located close to bars and clubs in the Meatpacking District and some of the greatest art galleries of New York in the nearby neighborhood of Chelsea.
I remember, the last time I went for a walk on the High Line, I came across Rosanna Arquette who was enjoying a walk with a friend. Yes, this is also the place where you can bump into celebrities!!! 🙂
Does the High Line promote a sustainable and eco friendly environment?
The High Line to hold the title of “the world’s longest green roof” and besides being a nice public outdoor space, it also contributes to recycle 80% of rainwater stored in retention tanks, controls the temperature with shade, creates oxygen and is a habitat for the local wildlife (birds and insects).
In other words, the High Line allows the natural cycle of nature in New York to continue.
Of course, nothing was planted randomly, each plant was carefully chosen.
The plant selection (grass, perennials, trees, shrubs) were in fact inspired by the vegetation that used to grow freely on the High Line for 25 years. It was selected because of its rustic character, ornamental qualities and with a preference for the local variety.
Half of the plants come from North America and 30% are originally from the North West region. You can find a list of all the plants here and seasonal flowers here.
A team of specialized gardeners takes great care of the High Line every day by planting new sprouts, taking care of the older plants and cleaning the flowerbeds.
In addition, in order to enrich the soil, no pesticides are being used. A homemade preparation composed of “compost juice” (fish based fertilizer, and other ingredients stimulating the bacteriological activity such as flour and molasses). Plus, when the High Line is covered with snow or ice, the gardeners don’t use regular salt just like everywhere else, but a special salt composed with non-toxic ingredients in order not to endanger the survival of the High Line plants.
It’s possible to get in touch with these horticulturists thru the website and ask questions about the plants, their lives or their care. A calendar with blooming seasons throughout the year and maps that locate the various plants are available. Finally, a precious list of plants is accessible for all gardening amateurs just like me. 🙂
The High Line lightning was also carefully though of. All lights are LED and the luminosity tends to be oriented toward the ground in an effort to avoid light pollution and to protect the people leaving in the buildings nearby.
The old railroads were conserved and certain sections are completely integrated in the new landscape.
The wood and the urban furniture used on the new layout are made out of Ipe wood. It’s a wood with tropical origins and no American background but certified FSC, this type of wood is notorious for its durability and can last up to 100 years.
What can one do on the High Line?
Various events take place every year, including guided walks, dance shows, art exhibitions, Yoga sessions and more. A lot of things to see and do!!!
Few times a month, it’s possible to volunteer and help with the general maintenance of the High Line.
Here’s a complete list of events: www.thehighline.org
Each summer, small retailers come to the High Line such as restaurants (the Shake Shack for instance), sweet treats with ice creams, muffins, cheesecakes and other goodies like small art pieces and other objects.
What the organization “Friends of the High Line” proposes?
This non-profit organization called “Friends of the High Line” works to build, maintain and protect this magnificent High Line Park. They organize fundraisers and give more than 70% of the annual budget for the proper functioning and maintenance of the High Line in compliance with New York City Department of Parks & Recreation.
It’s clearly because of this organization that the High Line has become so beautiful, innovative and dynamic.
My favorite spots
I spend countless time on the High Line since it’s pleasant, beautiful and is just a great place in the city.
It was hard to find a favorite spot since there are so many great places to enjoy in this park!!!
Although, there’s one great spot that blows my mind and I always make sure to spend time there, it’s located on 10th Avenue Square.
It’s in fact a place with rows of seats with a fantastic view on 10th Avenue in NYC.
What is magical is that it’s a one-way avenue and it really appears that the cars are coming out of nowhere!!! It’s a really cool thing to see.
In fact, cars pass under the bridge created by the High Line and continue on 10th avenue.
The huge glass windows leave you with a feeling of being in front of a big theater screen where you can see the streets of New York, but this is all very real since you are in NYC!!! “It’s not a dream!!!!” 🙂
Anyway, take your time, seat down and enjoy the show!!! 🙂
Wheelchairs are available on site. There’s a ramp with an easy access for strollers and wheelchairs. A big shout out to the designers of the High Line who thought of every details.
Tips and info you must know before visiting
– Bathrooms at the High Line are located at the entrance section on 16th Street and Gansevoort Street at the Diller – Von Furstenberg Building.
– There are 6 accesses for wheelchairs on the High Line then in different area on the promenade, which guaranty everyone to access.
– Just like all city parks, smoking is forbidden
– Skateboarding and rollers are not allowed
– A shop with High Line products is available here. It’s a little pricey but they have few nice things
– Remember that donations are more than welcome!
Where is the High Line
The High Line is located along the Hudson River. This is where you’ll see the Standard Hotel. By the South entrance, you my visit the Whitney Museum and by the North entrance, the newly built Vessel.
Official website: https://www.thehighline.org
You may have understand that I really like the High Line. It’s very pleasant to discover New York from another perspective. During the day or at dusk in summer, it’s always a good idea to visit this incredible place.
In addition, you’ll be near the famous Chelsea Market!
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