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NYC's High Line Elevated Park is Complete and Awesome: Photos from Opening Day

June 13, 2011 at 1:20 PM | by | ()

Amazing. Free. Fragrant. Sexy. Refreshing. At least one of these adjectives you'll find yourself uttering after stepping up onto New York City's latest public attraction: the completed northern half of the elevated High Line Park. 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.

Even though such a pool seemed like a better idea on the 95-degree sunny day, thousands turned up to check the place out. And just as we did almost two years ago to the day when the lower half debuted, we climbed the stairs from the noisy and hot streets of Manhattan into another world. Our verdict? YOU. GOTTA. GO.

Aside from the facts that the park—which stretches from 30th Street in the north to Washington and Little West 12th Street in the south—is lushly landscaped, bustling with activity (and organic popsicles), and littered with photo-worthy vistas at every angle...visiting the High Line is free. Completely and utterly free, unless you opt to purchase said popsicles (we recommend the cucumber and mint special).

Highlights of the new second half include: a massive lawn for laying out, a fly-over section that feels like a bridge through the city's traditional walk-ups, close brushes with some of NYC's most interesting new architecture, and flora that demands you stop and smell the roses. The watering fountains talk to you and there's smatterings of functional modern art. It's like an urban wonderland! Actually, that's what it totally is.

Passing the mid-way point into the older half is seamless, and there's even new additions to keep you walking south. For example, more seating, a water feature that trickles H2O down the sidewalk like the shallowest and cutest stream ever, and trees and flowers that have had time to grow and create intimate nooks.

The High Line is by far the most pleasant and safe way to walk from Midtown West down through Chelsea to the Meatpacking District and West Village. Go. Just go.

[Photos: Cynthia Drescher for Jaunted]

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