The Highline – about 1 1/2 miles of beautiful gardens, some food vendors, benches, even a water feature you can dip your toes in and here’s the kicker…IN THE MIDDLE OF MANHATTAN.
Labor Day….what to do…what to do. Manhattan is usually not one of our choices. Although we live in close proximity to the Big Apple, we have seen much of it over the years. The traffic, the cost of parking and the crowds is a usually makes this low on our list of day trip destinations. So why did we find ourselves in Manhattan this weekend?
I’ll let you in on a local secret – on Labor Day people go other places leaving Manhattan THE place to be for those of us who hate crowds. We felt daring so instead of taking the express bus, we took the CAR. We found a parking spot in the first 5 minutes (it was a Labor Day miracle!) next to the Chelsea Market. (9a.m. we parked, when we came back at noon – not a spot to be found).
Then we headed to the High Line. Harry and I thought the High Line used to be an old highway now refurbished into a park. It turns out it was an abandoned elevated freight rail line. New York City residents fought to have this structure transformed into a public paradise. I am glad they did! The High Line can be accessed by stairs or elevators and spans between Gansevoort Street to West 34th Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues.
We climbed the stairs at 16th Street and were pleasantly surprised by the transformation from the noise of the Manhattan streets below to the serene landscape above. At every turn, it became evident to us this park was well planned with some interesting features including: a huge window displaying the street below with benches enabling visitors to relax and observe the City, a clever water feature that comes up from the cement ideal for kids, wooden lounge chairs, food stalls, T-shirt and art vendors.
City and water views make this an ideal spot for taking pictures. We could see Chelsea Piers a few blocks away (a huge sports center that spans many blocks on the West side). I was reminded of a Christmas when my daughter was in Junior High. Every year, Jenn and I would go to Manhattan to experience a New York holiday event. That year Jenn picked Chelsea Piers and we went ice skating. There were so many other activities happening there. We even passed a horse back riding stable.
Seeing all we came to see on the High Line, we made our way down the stairs and walked to Chelsea Market (between 15th and 16th Street and 9th Avenue). This market spans a full city block and offers a variety of stores and eateries. The wood and stone decor give it a feeling of an old New York factory. We walked the winding halls, admiring the water feature, stone seats and other cool features at each turn.
We were sorry we ate a late breakfast, as the smells coming from the restaurants were inviting. It wasn’t clear if some of the restaurants were closed due to labor day or if they would be opened for lunch or dinner. There were restaurants open for breakfast but it looked as though this venue would be in full swing after noon.
We did see elevators, however, I found out that the first floor is the only public floor, the other floors are business offices. Also, it does not appear you can get to the High Line from inside the building. Another noteworthy attraction in New York….a bathroom and not 2 stalls it was a big Ladies room.
So what do you think? I would imagine anyone coming to New York for the first time would have a list of places to see. We encountered many tourists in these attractions. I’m wondering how this attraction stacks up to others? Harry and I were happy we went, but is that because we have been to the main sites? Or is the High Line now considered one of the main sites? I’m not sure. I would think that visitors to New York would eventually need a serene spot like this one to decompress from the noise and crowds.