The High Line was an elevated subway line that ran up the west side of NYC that stopped running in 1980. A passionate group of volunteers championed the idea for a park to be built on the long, narrow strip of land that’s been unused ever since. Almost three decades later, the first leg of the park is open, about 10 blocks, and it is just what a park should be: pretty with plenty of places to plunk down. In addition to benches there are some honest-to-goodness chaise longues that defy you not to sit for a spell with a coffee or book.
Oh, there are views too. It is, after all, New York City.
I started at Gansevoort St., happy that there was no pronunciation test. I found a charming little enclave of bistros and boutiques and almost didn’t make it to the park for all the distractions. But spotting the sign, I trotted up a few steps to a new, quieter perspective. As all good things in New York, the park is no secret, but I found plenty of solitude and places to rest amid the morning hustle of moms pushing strollers and tourists recalling the city’s yesteryear.
About halfway down the park, you can run down to street level and grab something to eat at Chelsea Market and do what the locals do: lounge away.
Railroad tracks, an homage to the subway of days past, were incorporated into the design, and great care was taken with the plantings, though I did find myself looking around as I settled into one spot. The prairie milkweed emits a scent that is, well, not for everyone.