I'm mad about the High Line. I really think it's changed my life. I know that sounds dramatic, but actually, it has changed alot of people's lives since it opened a year go, thanks to the hard work and ingenuity of a group of community-minded people.
For one thing, it gives you a completely different perspective of lower New York because you are elevated. There's something quite fab about looking down on the grime of the meatpacking district streets, walking alongside buildings as opposed to at the bottom of them and looking over the top of the Hudson to New Jersey.
For another thing, it has given New Yorkers a promenade, something that until now has been reserved for Europeans. The fact that the promenaders here might be more likely to wear sneakers, shorts and ipods rather than elegant long overcoats and Hermes bags is beside the point. It reflects the character of the city's dwellers.
And then there's just the simple fact that the High Line has brought greenery, space and openness to a part of Manhattan that doesn't necessarily offer these things, as well as a brilliant story about how preservation of a city icon can make all the difference.
The High Line runs along the West side of Manhattan from the Meatpacking District to 34th St. It was built in the 1930s to carry freight trains 30 feet in the air and off the streets.
Parts of it were demolished in the 1960s, the last train ran on the line in 1980 carrying frozen turkeys and it was abandoned and forgotten until recently.
About 10 years ago, the then Mayor Giuliani was going to demolish the rest of it had it not been for a group of locals who formed "Friends of the High Line" and fought to save the tracks. The rest, as they say, is history.
Section 1 has been open for a year. It runs from Gansevoort St to 20th St. Section 2 (20th - 30th st) is slated to open this year. I encourage all of you to make this a destination when you come to New York City. Take a stroll, lie on a sun chaise with a book, or sit and listen to a new sound installation called "A bell for every minute". Artist Stephen Vitello has recorded bells from all over NYC and beyond. They range from the NY Stock Exchange bell to a ferry bell, the UN Peace bell and neighborhood church bells.
Images: 1-9: mine, 10-14: thehighline.org