A park in the sky

In each of the cities I visit for book readings, I try to take some time to connect with the more-than-human world. So last week in New York City I visited the High Line, New York’s beautiful park in the sky. Built on an abandoned elevated train track, the park is an oasis of nature in an urban area, a piece of biophilia planted in the heart of what used to be a gritty, industrial part of town.

Approaching the High Line park

Approaching the High Line

Up the stairs to the High Line park

Up the stairs to the High Line

Up above, a walkway stretches for blocks, lined with native grasses and plants.

The High Line park in February

The plants were apparently chosen to pay homage to the wildflowers that had sprouted on the rail line after it closed down in 1980.

Wildflowers on the line, from Friends of the High Line park

Wildflowers on the line, from Friends of the High Line

The line served freight trains in the meatpacking district, and it was built above the city street in the 1930s because the train tracks had been such a death trap:

High Line in operation, from Friends of the High Line park

High Line in operation, from Friends of the High Line

Railroad tracks are still in place, with this cool feature added today:

Recliners ride the rails at High Line park

Recliners ride the rails at High Line park

Even on a gray day-before-a-blizzard in the dead of winter, spots of color are visible. Yellow crocuses are nearly bursting, and a red berry bush brightens the ground:

Crocuses & red berries in High Line park in February

Birch trees lend an architectural view:

High Line park bench and birch trees

Another fun feature is the amphitheater leading to a picture-window view of—wait for it—the New York street below:

ampitheater to street at end of High Line park

In a different block, you can catch a glimpse of the Empire State Building:

Empire State Building from the High Line park

The High Line has changed the economics of its neighborhood so that now, I hear, apartment listings within range are sure to mention “view of the High Line.”

After half an hour of strolling the length of the High Line in 38-degree weather, I am ready for a hot cup of tea. But here’s another one for the bucket list: come back to New York City when the High Line looks like this:

The High Line in spring, from Friends of the High Line park

The High Line in spring, from Friends of the High Line

Summer flowers, from Friends of the High Line

Summer flowers, from Friends of the High Line

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One Response to A park in the sky

  1. Emily and I love the High Line. Thanks for these gorgeous pictures.