Not too much gets a unanimous nod of approval from New Yorkers, but the High Line is one of those rare exceptions. Just about everyone seems to have something good to say about this elevated promenade, a refreshing strip of greenery that cuts an aerial swath through the heart of Chelsea, between Tenth and Eleventh avenues all the way from Gansevoort Street to 34th Street.
The High Line is a disused railway trestle that once handled train traffic up and down the West Side, a supply route for factories and warehouses. Fountains, patches of greenery (some cultivated from the wild plants that took root on the abandoned tracks), and benches line the route, reached by staircases from the streets below.
As you follow the High Line you can peer down into the Meatpacking District and other old industrial neighborhoods below. At 17th Street, the view south extends all the way across New York Harbor to the Statue of Liberty. At 18th Street, the Empire State Building looms into view. Some of New York’s most exciting new architecture has risen around the High Line, including a curvaceous glass creation by Frank Gehry at Eleventh Avenue and 18th Street.
At sunset, an orange glow hangs over the Hudson River, and discreet lighting along the route ensures that the night sky, enlivened here and there with a faint star, provides a romantic canopy above the route. Weekday mornings the walkways are uncrowded, a quiet sanctuary as the workaday city rushes by below.