Up on the High Line with Kids of All Ages!
November 15, 2014

 

The bus of senior citizens cruising in to the Big Apple from Sparta, NJ, on a recent day included our dear family friends Mr. and Mrs. Kochey. Periodically featured in our posts, they are, at "early 80s" and “late 70s,” always game adventurers. 
 
This time, they came to see the most visited outdoor space in New York Citythe High Line on the far west of Chelsea. This project, which has become a model of urban renewal, recently opened its last section, from 30th Street west towards 12th Avenue, and up to 34th Street. Ever up for an excuse to act like tourists in our hometown, we hopped the 1 train to 14th Street and joined them at the southern end of the High Line at the intersection of Gansevoort and Washington streets.  
 
Our adventure began with lunch. We descended the wide metal stairs at the section above 17th Street (there are elevators at 14th, 23rd, 29th, and 34th) and slipped around the block for lunch at Chelsea Market. The route is a fun geography of staircases, sidewalks, relatively traffic free streets to cross, till you enter into marketplace, which bustles with vendors, gawkers, and customers. 
 
Back Up to the Park
 
Fortified on seafood, we ascended again to the High Line. We decided to start at the beginning and follow the High Line north. The experience of hovering above the bustling city in an elevated park provides a unique sense of being in the outdoors within an urban jungle. Among the first things we encountered was an amphitheater, fronted by a plexiglass window pane, that descends down to about a story above street level. Here you get a bird’s eye view of the street life below—vendors, strollers, delivery trucks; the hum and bustle of the city from above.
 
We returned up to the main level of the High Line and continued north. The flora can be described as well-manicured rustic. The park has endeavored to recreate a tamer version of the plant life you would find had it simply been left as an abandoned railway. This gives the High Line an almost overgrown atmosphere—wild and tamed for visitors. 
 
As we proceeded we ran into other members of the group the Kocheys had come with. Running into so m any of their neighborhood friends—yet not one of oursmade us realize how on any given visit to any destination in New York City, the tourists around us are likely to know more people in that place, in that moment, than we, as residents, are. We also passed by several art installations which change from season to season, till we arrived up the newly opened northern end, directly West of the Empire State Building.
 
The High Line has been a deserved hit since it’s opened—now attracting more visitors than any other destination in the City. With that in mind it’s nice to know that a similar project is currently in the early stages in Queens along abandoned railroad tracks from the Long Island Railroad. Though there’s no guarantee this project will come to fruition, one visit to its Manhattan neighbor will make clear all the wonderful reasons that it should!

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