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.
Up above, a walkway stretches for blocks, lined with native grasses and plants.
The plants were apparently chosen to pay homage to the wildflowers that had sprouted on the rail line after it closed down in 1980.
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:
Railroad tracks are still in place, with this cool feature added today:
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:
Birch trees lend an architectural view:
Another fun feature is the amphitheater leading to a picture-window view of—wait for it—the New York street below:
In a different block, you can catch a glimpse of the Empire State Building:
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: