Highlights on the
NYC High Line
Must-Sees on a Tour of Manhattan’s Newest Park
Your first visit to the High Line is magical, much
like the thing itself.
A public eco-park built on the remnants of an
elevated rail structure from the 1930s, the High
Line is the best thing to happen to New York since,
Grand Central Station or
Really; it’s that fabulous. Dormant for decades, the
rusty ruin owes its new life to local residents who
joined forces with experts in industrial design,
ecology, horticulture and landscaping to build what
is now a global model for eco-urban public spaces.
The High Line meanders up Manhattan’s west side
between 10th and 11th avenues, through the
Meatpacking District and Chelsea. Its first section,
which opened in 2009, runs from Gansevoort Street to
West 20th Street. The second section, which opened
in 2011, runs from West 20th to West 30th streets.
We are partial to Section 1. Of course, it is
possible that’s because our first [magical] visit
was long before Section 2 opened, winning our
affection and allegiance. The sections do have
defining characteristics, reminiscent of Central
Park: The southern half (Section 1) is filled with
more hustle and bustle. The northern half (Section
2) is narrower, quieter and a bit more “wild.”
Friends of the High Line website has a
good map to help you navigate what’s where.
The High Line experience varies greatly by season.
Spring blooms beautifully on the line, turning the
park into a cornucopia of bright flowers and
beginning “the season” for local food vendors.
Summer welcomes throngs of sunbathers, making
weekends here seem like crowded days at the beach.
It also welcomes the full complement of food
vendors, including L’Arte del Gelato and People’s
Pops to keep you cool on crazy-hot days. Fall is
ablaze in vividly colored leaves, welcoming cooler
weather and glorious sunsets with smaller crowds.
Winter is, by far, our favorite time on the High
Line. It is pale and uncrowded, with an otherworldly
aura. If you are lucky enough to be there on a snowy
day, you will marvel at how much it feels like you
are inside a snow globe. There are no food vendors
in the dead of winter, so a stop at
Chelsea Market to get a warm beverage to carry
with you is de rigueur.
If you have an aversion to crowds, visit on a
weekday, before or after lunch. We love just to
wander around the High Line, looking up, down and
all around. But we thought you might like to know a
few of our “must-see” items along the way (listed
from south to north).
High Line Hunger
There is no shortage of places to eat around the High
Line, from fine dining at Top Chef judge
Tom Colicchio’s Colicchio & Sons, to delectables
from any of the shops and restaurants in
But if your High Line outing leaves
you wanting to get away from the crowds, try one of our
new favorite restaurants, just a block over on Ninth
Avenue, between 19th and 20th streets:
Tipsy Parson. An English cottage feel combines with
American comfort food and super-friendly service to
offer a cozy and delicious experience. Brunch is to die
for: Have them spike your hot cider, and create your own
build-a-biscuit breakfast. —LH
The southern start of the High Line leads up a wide,
easy staircase from Gansevoort Street into one of the
park’s wider and more densely planted areas. The
Gansevoort Woodland literally weaves original railroad
tracks with concrete walkways, trees, grasses, plants
and flowers. Sit on a disappearing bench, and watch
these seemingly disparate items grow into and out of
each other, featuring different colors and textures
depending on the season and weather, and let your eyes
and your mind wander.
Diller–Von Furstenberg Sundeck & Water
Feature (14th–15th streets)
The rolling built-in chaise lounges are the best part of
this section. Overgrown wooden chaises with metal wheels
roll along original train tracks and provide ample
seating on which to sun yourself and enjoy views across
the Hudson River. In warm weather, the “water feature,”
which was added in 2010, is a favorite with the under-10
10th Avenue Square
This is our favorite spot; judging by frequent crowds of
both locals and tourists, we’re not the only ones. The
wood benches and floor — which is actually a graded,
handicap-accessible ramp — form a sort of sunken
amphitheater deck from which to watch the endless
traffic flow under you on 10th Avenue. Viewed through
expansive windows, the parade of cars, trucks and
busses, interlaced with the bright yellow pops of cabs,
becomes an engrossing performance.
23rd Street Lawn and Seating Steps
Frequent visitors have longed for a grassy swath upon
which to picnic and sun themselves since Section 1
opened. Section 2 answered their prayers with a
perfectly manicured lawn abutted by reclaimed-wood
26th Street Viewing Spur
This spur is part of a “flyover” — a metal walkway
raised over the landscaping and original tracks. Cozy
into what looks like a ginormous wooden couch, and enjoy
the view west up Chelsea’s 26th street, which is framed
by a metal rectangle, meant to recall the billboards
that were once attached to the High Line. Be sure to
look east, as well, to get a nice river-to-river
Wildflower Field (starting around
The narrow wildflower field blooms its native species
and newer perennials into bursts of luscious colors
through the growing season. Native grasses — the same
ones that naturally grew through the tracks in their
ruined state — blow to and fro on the railroad tracks
throughout the year, surrounding the walkway.
Public Art and Performances
Public art projects are commissioned
and exhibited on
the High Line year-round. There is always new art to
discover in the nearly 1.5-mile park. Likewise,
there are myriad performances, from theater to dance,
music to video, on the High Line from spring thru
fall in various locations in the park; many take
place in the covered Chelsea Market Passage, where the
High Line cuts through the Chelsea Market building. Visit the
High Line website for info about
performances, exhibitions and tours.
Whether it’s your first or 50th visit to
this unprecedented public wonderland, be sure to take
your time, and enjoy the views and the experience. The
High Line will wow you with its only-in–New York
creativity, architecture and abundance.
High Line Updates
June 10, 2013
Opening in 2014, the third and final phase of the High Line under construction now, will offer a
sharp departure from the earlier phases. It's back to nature, as the article, "High
Line Offers a Walk on the Wild Side" describes, with a look that will include rusted tracks
overgrown with Queen Anne's lace and goldenrod. Free tours of the still-under-construction phase
are being offered, but they are fully booked for months.
Learn more about the plans for this area.
Lauren Hauptman is a native New Yorker
who is temporarily a long-term tourist in San Francisco, where
she lives with her husband and her dog, a tedoodle named Ezra.
She has been a contributing editor and writer for WHERE San
Francisco and Pulse Guides, and is an editorial and creative
services consultant for numerous other publications and
She also wrote One
Short Day in Midtown,
One Short Day on
the Upper East Side and
A New Yorker’s
Top 10 Must-Dos in New York City for Must See New York. She
believes New York is the center of the universe.
High Line Facts
Location: Manhattan Lower West
Hours: 7 am to 7 pm daily
Section 1, Gansevoort St to West 20th St - June 9,
Section 2, West 20th St to West 30th St - June 8, 2011.
Length: 1 mile
High Line Resources