A High Line Adventure

An entrance to the High Line on 14th Street

Weekends equal play time in the city, and I’ve tried to make the most of the five weekends we’ve had since meeting up in late May. One of my top considerations when planning out an activity or two for a full, uninhibited weekend day is finding something that is unique. The activity Yang and I set out to do this past Saturday may have just taken the cake for the whole summer in this “unique” category.

After hearing all kinds of good things from all kinds of different people (from our faculty adviser to fellow interns), we decided to check out the west side’s High Line. I’d learned

A stretch of the High Line’s walkway

that the High Line is a scenic walkway built on an elevated former railway from the handful of conversations I’d had, and perusing the official website convinced me that it was worth checking out. Sounded cool to me! Upon arrival on Saturday afternoon, I realized just how cool the High Line is.

While approaching one of the walkway’s entrances on 14th street, two facts on the High Line immediately became clear. The first was that the landmark certainly stood out. In a town with few (if any) other elevated walkways (a la Las Vegas), the hovering High Line was easy to spot, even in the hip and new age-designed Meatpacking and Chelsea areas on the far west side of Manhattan. The second was that the High Line was far from a tightly kept secret. The walkway was flooding with people, soon to include Yang and I.

The High Line features great views from Manhattan’s Westside

Upon ascending onto the High Line, I quickly realized what all of the talk was about. The High Line is certifiably cool. The old lines are still stylishly… visible in some parts of the walkway and the entire layout echoed the art and attitude that seem to embody Meatpacking and Chelsea.

Rail tracks can still be spotted amidst greenery along the High Line walkway

I especially appreciated the wild and rustic feel of the park (yes, it is officially a New York City park). To me, the nature displayed on the High Line didn’t feel obligatory or staged, much like a lot of the other greenery you’ll see on Manhattan. Something felt different and almost authentic in the walkway’s wilds, and it was only the other day (post-High Line) that I learned that there was a reason for that. An old childhood friend who can now be called a NYC local told me that all of the nature is indeed natural on the High Line while we caught up over happy hour drinks the other night. Apparently, when the High Line was still a train line, seeds being transported would often spill off the side of the freights, and when the commissioning of the railroad concluded, these seeds sprouted many of the actual plants that can be taken in at the High Line today. According to him, many of the plants were untouched in the conversion of the High Line. Sort of a little bit fascinating, don’t you think?

Yang and I during our High Line walk

I would recommend checking out the High Line to take in a really cool morphing of urban and natural settings – but there’s many alternative reasons as well. The walkway offers up great views, nice shopping options and a break from the New York City norm.

– Zach Garcia


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