Note: My final post about visiting NYC, slightly out of order.
High heels, even sensible ones, are not the shoes to wear on the High Line. Late on Friday afternoon, our first day in New York City, Dave and I took the subway up Seventh Avenue to a stop a few blocks east of the elevated park that runs along Tenth Avenue. The heels might have been fine if we hadn’t gotten turned around in Greenwich Village where the north/south grid suddenly angles and not all of the streets have number names.
Eventually we found Gansevoort Street and the stairway going up to the High Line at its southernmost point. The park is a recent addition, opening in phases, the first in 2009, the second in 2011, and the third under construction. It sits on top of a rail line built in the 1930s to haul freight along Manhattan’s west side.
In 1999 the long-abandoned railway, slowly being reclaimed by nature, was slated for demolition when Joshua David and Robert Hammond met at a community meeting. Two average citizens who wanted to save the structure, each one promised to help if the other would spearhead the effort. Within months of that meeting they co-founded The Friends of the High Line and spent the next ten years, first, saving the rail line from destruction and, then, coordinating the creation of the park. I read their inspiring book, High Line: The Inside Story of New York City’s Park in the Sky, during my trip to the city.
On the warm October day of our visit lots of people were enjoying the park, strolling the narrow path, admiring the view of the Empire State Building, and taking photos of a few lingering blossoms. My pinched toes forced me to abandon the walk at 23rd Street.
We returned on Sunday after our trip to New Jersey and walked the park from the north end to the south—in sneakers.
If I lived in New York City, the High Line would be my park. I imagine early morning walks in the spring savoring each new bloom, lazy summer afternoons lounging on a bench watching the world go by, and snowy winter evenings strolling the quiet path, pausing to watch the city lights blink on.