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Surfin' the High Line: Opening Day At NYC's New Elevated Park

June 9, 2009 at 11:51 AM | by | ()

Nothing's cheaper than free, and in New York City, we take what we can get. Luckily, what's available beginning this summer is nothing short of awesome as the hotly-debated High Line Park opens to the public.

Built in the 1930s to transport freight through the warehouses of the west side of Manhattan, the High Line is an elevated rail track that stretches from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District up to West 34th Street. The last train traveled its scenic route in 1980, and since then proposals for its future have included everything from completely disassembling it to turning it into a mile-long lap pool.

The final decision to add nature and make it a pedestrian-friendly park couldn't have been more perfect for this year of staycations, and so we headed up a level yesterday in the first few hours of the High Line's public life to check out the greenery and scenery.

The High Line and Standard Hotel as seen from Washington and Gansevoort Streets

Until fall of next year, we won't be able to walk the whole thing, but the finished first section stretches all the way up to West 20th Street and that's plenty room for jogging free of traffic, sunbathing on the built-in chaise lounges, and teaching your children about wildflowers.

Right now, the only entrance is at the south end on Gansevoort Street, but guests may exit anywhere along the route. It's a 15-minute walk each way, and our video above is of us walking against the flow to head back south and underneath The Standard Hotel.

A Frank Gehry building is visible off to the left

From the High Line, the views stretch across the Hudson River to New Jersey and through Manhattan past Frank Gehry and Jean Nouvel buildings to the Empire State Building. Crossing east-west streets allows for traffic watching, made all the more easy by the addition of a sunken outlook over 10th Avenue. We envision ourselves having many impromptu picnics here this summer, especially since the High Line stays open until 10pm.

The laptops are already out on the High Line

Now you ask, how can the city afford such an altruistic endeavor when the NYC subway system is beyond broke? Easy—enlist big names like designer Diane von Furstenberg and her husband Barry Diller to donate $10 million at a time, or throw parties with people like Jerry Seinfeld, Ralph Lauren, Barbara Walters, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon to shave off smaller contributions.

Since these first few weeks of the High Line's life should be mostly tour group-free, it's likely that you might spot some of these famous faces sunning themselves with the masses. And this, friends, is why we pay what we do to live in New York City.

Related Stories:
· The High Line [Official Site]
· Cheap NYC Coverage [Jaunted]

Archived Comments:

new visitor

that's cool!Today I visited the High Line for the first time and loved the gestalt of the whole project. The best remark I overheard was from a child passing while I was chilling on a wooden lounge. He said that he wished he was around when the railroad used to run on the tracks. - Linda who is looking for the best electric toothbrush