High Line
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids New York City (AMC Books)
Address:Gansevoort Street and Washington Street, Manhattan, NY
Hours:7 A.M. to 11 P.M. daily
Fee: Free

thehighline.org; 212-500-6035

Bathrooms: North side of 16th Street on High Line, just opposite Northern Spur Horticultural Reserve
Water/Snacks: Vendors at Chelsea Market

USGS Jersey City; thehighline.org/about/maps

The High Line is an example of the successful conversion of urban space into a bucolic recreational environment, and a great place to teach children about the area’s natural flora.

High Line.
Photo by: iStock

Rising 30 feet above the ground, the High Line was built in the 1930s as an elevated line for freight trains. Trains stopped running there in 1980, and by the late 1990s the structure was scheduled for demolition.

In 1999, a community-based nonprofit, Friends of the High Line, organized to save the structure and turn it into an elevated urban park and walkway. The park’s forebear is the Promenade Plantée in Paris. Since opening in 2009, the High Line has gained national attention as an example of how urban spaces can be renovated to create public recreational landscapes.

It offers not only dramatic views of Lower Manhattan, but also art exhibitions and so-called self-seeded landscapes, which are cultivated swaths of the flora that grew in the rail tracks in the years after the trains had stopped running. Children will enjoy seeing their surroundings from a higher vantage.

The best way to experience the High Line is to take the stairs at the West 30th Street entrance and walk south. Toward the southern end you will find 10th Avenue Square, an elevated amphitheater that allows a bird’s-eye view of the city blocks below and is very popular with photographers and local artists. At the end you will descend into the Meat Packing District, a lively neighborhood with numerous restaurants.

Thanks to the recent opening of the upper half of the High Line, nine access points now exist: just north of Gansevoort street on Washington Street, as well as entrances along 10th Avenue at 14th, 16th, 18th, 20th, 23rd, 26th, 28th, and 30th streets. The 14th, 15th, and 30th street entrances include elevators; the others require walking up stairs.

Remember: Dogs, bicycles, and scooters are not permitted on the High Line.

Plan B:

Because Manhattan is so narrow this far south, many alternate destinations are nearby, including Pier 96 (Trip 22), Battery Park (Trip 23), and Battery Park City Esplanade (Trip 24).


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