Too bad I don't have a "What Took Me So Long?" category, because this post would definitely fall into it. (Actually, quite a few would, so perhaps I should add one.) But in this case, I'm not talking about why I waited so long to write a post. No, I mean what took me so long to pay a visit to The High Line, the new elevated park on Manhattan's West Side. I finally went today to take advantage of the warm sunny weather. I'm pleased to report that with its modern design, surprising cleanliness and great views, The High Line easily one of the best outdoor spaces in the New York City.
From 1934 to 1980, the High Line was used as freight train tracks that ran from Gansevoort Street to 34th Street by the West Side Highway. They have kept the original train tracks and integrated them into the design, growing grass and wildflowers around them (pictured right).
Only the first part of the 1.45 mile stretch has been turned into a park and the rest is still under construction. It currently spans from Gansevoort to 20th Street. The remainder — 20th Street to 30th Street — is scheduled to be completed sometime in 2010. The final four blocks most likely won't become a part of the park.
The park is open from 7am to 10pm daily, and I really want to return to watch the sunset one evening. If you go hungry, you can buy food from 'wichcraft, a fancy sandwich concession from Top Chef's Tom Colicchio that will be there through October 14th. Having just eaten at Keste Pizzeria (which lived up the hype of having incredible Neapolitan pies), I was more tempted to buy a cupcake from the Butter Lane people a few feet away. If you do decided to eat at the park, there are plenty of benches and even wooden lounge chairs, which give it sort of a South Beach feel. So do the hip hotels in the immediate vicinity, such as The Standard (which, as you can see in the photo below, The High Line runs right through). Not quite sure it will have that South Beach feel once the weather gets cold. But perhaps it could be a good place to play in the snow.