Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Weekend in New York, Part 1: The High Line Trail

Last weekend (March 13-15), Kali and I met a friend from the Netherlands who we had not seen for 12 years in New York City.  Our friend, whose name is Trijntje, had been in New York for a week attending a conference; she extended her stay so that we could get together and catch up.  We had a great weekend.

One of my motivations to visit New York was to walk the High Line, a highly landscaped park built on an abandoned freight train trestle running along Manhattan's West Side from about 14th Street north to 34th Street.  Though the park is formally landscaped, the design harkens back to the scruffy, weedy ecosystem that had developed naturally on the trestle after it was abandoned.

Though the day was cloudy, windy, and very cold, the trail was crowded.  Kali at first said we would "sample" the trail by walking a few blocks, but even though she was chilled, we walked the entire two-mile trail and she became more and more impressed the further we walked.  So did I.

I took my pocket point-and-shoot camera with me to New York so that I didn't have to carry my large camera around the city, but the images the small camera produces are not nearly as good as those from my full-sized camera.  Please excuse the quality of some of the images.
The High Line near its southern terminus
Looking northward on the High Line
An unusually shaped building near the trail
The unusually shaped building, closer up
The Empire State Building visible from the High Line
A spring-blooming witch-hazel
The image above is a non-native spring-flowering variety of witch-hazel with unusual orange flowers.  Our native witch-hazel blooms in very late fall/early winter, and has bright yellow flowers.
The residential building in the image above was built after the trail was created.  It has become famous for its architecture and its proximity to the High Line.  Residential structures are popping up all along the trail (which formerly was New York's meatpacking district) and they command very high rents/prices.  A modest new residential condominium across the trail from this structure had signs in the window advertising units for sale from $2 to $20 million.
A closer view of the building above
In my next post, I'll feature some of the other things we did in the city.


RB said...

A friend took me on the Highline a few years ago. What an awesome idea for the city! I loved it!

I walked the entire length at end of February. When we came to the end (south) we walked right into a awesome coffee shop.

robin andrea said...

Looks like an interesting place to take a walk in New York. I've seen headlines lately about the insane cost of housing there. Something similar is happening here in CA.

Scott said...

RB: Despite the fact that it was really cold and windy, and the vegetation was sere, we really enjoyed our walk on the High Line. Since I teach restoration ecology to landscape architects, they talk about the High Line all the time and I really needed to finally see it myself.

There's a similar abandoned elevated rail line in Philadelphia, and there have been proposals to create a High Line replica here, too. The organization that would be responsible for "our" trail just received its first $1 million grant this week. Now, it's only a matter of time.

Scott said...

Robin Andrea: The High Line walk was very interesting and enjoyable. I wish that it had been longer than its 2-mile length, but that's the length of the remaining rail trestles.

We couldn't believe the housing prices, either. I heard on the radio this morning that housing prices are stagnant in most parts of the county--except New York and California.

packrat said...

The High Line is obviously a very popular attraction; what a great idea. The small images are not bad at all, Scott.

Scott said...

Packrat: Considering how cold and windy it was, we were very surprised how many people were enjoy the high Line. it must be a real ZOO in the spring and autumn.