A visitor's guide, events and attractions on and off the historic High Line Park
To escape the madness of Manhattan, I sometimes escape to the idyll and tranquility of High Line Park, a great place for a walk and a little relaxation. Here is a guide to visiting.
The park has 10 entry points between Gansevoort Street and 34th Street that lead to the free, elevated public park, a green refuge built nearly two decades after the last freight train dragged frozen turkeys across the tracks. The visionaries behind the urban sanctuary cleaned up the railway line and planted more than 500 varieties of trees, grasses and flowers; installed an outdoor gallery; and benches every few steps where visitors can practice Zen without traffic.
1. Gansevoort Street
Three years ago, the Renzo Piano-designed Whitney Museum of American Art sailed downtown, dropping anchor at the southernmost point of the High Line. The institution deals with contemporary artists ("Andy Warhol - From A to B and Back" on November 12th) and provocative topics ("An incomplete protest history" ends on August 27th). Enjoy the impressive views of the High Line and the Hudson River, walk past the Studio Cafe - you can always come back later for a ginger raisin waffle and coffee - and step onto the eighth floor terrace. Descend until you have to return to the fifth level.
2. Gansevoort Street
The dishes at Bubby's will wrap around you like an old college sweatshirt. The restaurant offers breakfast for lunch and fried chicken in three different flavors. Grab a slice of cake and then add a la mode at the adjacent Ample Hills Creamery. The ice cream parlor created a special flavor for the occasion: Float 'Over the High Line,' a sweet marriage of root beer ice cream, mini marshmallows and chocolate sprinkles.
3. Gansevoort Street
Before you climb the stairs at Gansevoort Plaza, look up and down for a surprise. Marinella Senatore's art installation literally illuminates a line from feminist poet Warsan Shire: "Give your daughters difficult names." The piece is part of the "Agora" group exhibition, which examines how art can influence society and its role in public spaces as a means of protest. The show features works by more than half a dozen international artists and runs through March.
4. Gansevoort Street
From May to September, volunteers with Friends of the High Line lead free tours on Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. and 10 a.m. Saturdays. The 75-minute “From Fear to Flowers” program flies from topic to topic like a butterfly. The guides cover the history of the railroad and the creation of the park, pointing out such fine details as the GPS coordinates on the tracks and the Art Deco railing on the amphitheater.
5. West 13th Street
The Standard , High Line Hotel has a south and north view. All 338 rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows so you can people watch on the High Line and, if you don't close your curtains, you can be watched. The view will follow you like Mona Lisa's eyes from the shower in the black tiled bathroom to the gym on the 18th floor, the diamond-shaped hot tub at Le Bain Disco to the rooftop bar with the pancake stand. When it's time to head back to a more down-to-earth spot , you can rejuvenate at the Standard Biergarten, a streetside eatery with pretzels, ping-pong, and tables with faucets.
6. Between West 14th and 15th streets
Cool your heels and toes in the spray at the Diller von Fürstenberg sun deck and water feature. Then dry off and snooze in a wooden lounger with wheels, a nod to the High Line Park's original traffic.
7. West 14th and 15th Streets
New York City never turns off its lights, but you can still see a few celestial objects during stargazing nights hosted by the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York. On Tuesdays from April to October, members of the organization line the route with super-powerful telescopes. On a late May evening, viewers peered at Venus, Jupiter and four of its 53 moons and a blooming flower moon.
8. Between West 15th and 16th streets
Chelsea Market is located in the former National Biscuit Company factory, which once got its baking ingredients from the High Line. The food emporium now feeds the snacking masses at nearly three dozen restaurants, including A-list eateries (Morimoto, Buddakan) and New York top bakeries (Sarabeth's Bakery, Amy's Bread, Li-Lac Chocolates). You can also shop at local and independent retailers.
9. Between West 15th and 16th Streets
Food carts crowd the Chelsea Market Passage, a covered thoroughfare with seating and global groceries. Handy meals include empanadas at La Sonrisa, Italian panini at Tastalu, Venezuelan hot dogs at Perros Y Vainas, gourmet ice cream sandwiches at Melt, and paletas (Mexican ice pops) at La Newyorkina. (The latter two also have booths on 22nd Street.) For something saucier than Boogie Down Grind Cafe's Grandmaster Frappé, order a Friese at Terroir at Porch—basically a glass of rosé stuck in a snowstorm. Friends of the High Line runs a small shop with park-themed gifts, such as socks made from the concrete planks, bookends made from reclaimed railroad tracks, and plant pens so you can grow a High Line in your own yard (rail parts not included).
10. West 17th Street
At the 10th Avenue Square and "Overlook" passage in the amphitheater, facing a windshield of windows, enjoy the small play ("Chelsea, Traffic, Life!"). On the Hudson River side, the hardest working lady on the Hudson, the Statue of Liberty, beckons.
11. West 22nd Street
The High Line Park is about 60 miles from Dia: Beacon in New York's Hudson Valley, but just a block from its sister gallery in Chelsea. The contemporary art space, located in a former marble work warehouse, reopens on September 15 with an exhibition by Nancy Holt and Blinky Palermo.
12. West 23rd Street
Plan an elaborate picnic on the park's only lawn, which features Dorothy Iannone's vibrant mural: "I Raise My Lamp Over the Golden Door."
13. West 23rd Street
If the burly man drinking a ginger beer at the bar resembles the author of "The Perfect Storm," congratulations on your keen literary eye. Sebastian Junger is co-owner of the Half King, an Irish pub and restaurant along with a bookworm. The Chelsea establishment hosts photography exhibitions and weekly readings, with the book of the moment sold on site.
14. Between West 25th and 27th Streets
At the Philip A. and Lisa Maria Falcone Flyover, industry and nature go hand in hand. The 10-foot-tall metal walkway is flanked by warehouses and a floral display of Allegheny serviceberry, eastern redbuds, wild ginger and magnolia trees.
15. West 27th Street
I n the 10-story Hotel Americano, rooms ending at 6 or 7 overlook the High Line Park and a wealthy neighbor's soccer field and tennis court. The top deck of the property contains a diving pool which, according to published rules, can only accommodate five swimmers at a time. Wait at the bar or on the cushioned bench that is at least half a lap longer than the pool.
16. West 30th Street
Hudson Yards, which will open its first phase in March, is the largest development in New York City since the 1930s Rockefeller Center. The newly minted New West Side neighborhood will challenge your credit card limits with 100 new stores, including the city's first Neiman Marcus. the fitness-focused Equinox Hotel; The Shed, an entertainment center with Transformer powers; and a number of restaurants tagged by famous chefs such as Thomas Keller, David Chang and José Andrés. To climb over it all, climb the Vessel, a 15-meter-tall structure with 154 stair rises and 80 platforms.
17. West 30th Street
The construction is blocking the entrance to the Spur, but is coming back next year for the final section. Free events take place in the park's largest outdoor area, such as ¡Arriba! Latin dance parties as well as large public works of art. You can also find a number of restrooms that don't require hiking from the High Line Park.
18. West 31st to 34th Streets
Blow kisses to passing ferries, sightseeing boats and cruise ships on the Hudson River. Depending on wind direction, some may land on the Jersey shore.
19. West 34th Street
Leave the High Line and get on the newly built subway station, line 7, or simply turn around and walk the rail park again.