A morning in New York City. The sounds of the city crept its way into the apartment along with the morning light, muffled by the drone of the AC unit, but still audible. I could hear my kids begin to stir in their beds on the other side of the room. Time to start another day of exploring the Big Apple. We had plans to visit our favorite park in the city that day, The High Line railroad park.
Taking our time in New York City
We were in New York City for the week, on our annual family vacation. It had been four years since my husband, stepson, and I had been in the city. And for my two youngest kids, it was their first time visiting New York City.
On past trips, we had tried to squeeze in as much as we could during our visit. This time around, we wanted to take our time. We chose only one or two places to spend each day. On today’s agenda was The High Line.
The High Line railroad park is a relatively new park located in the Meatpacking District, first opening to the public in 2009. It covers 1.45 miles of reclaimed former elevated railroad, now populated by trees, greenery, and a walkway. We first heard about The High Line in 2010, when it was just being built, and loved the idea of old structures being used for the public good. Back then, The High Line railraod park was relatively barren. But now it’s a lush oasis, providing a nice break from the craziness of the streets below.
A visit to The High Line railraod park
Our day started off with some coffee at Kopi Kopi, an Indonesian cafe in Greenwich Village. It was nice to enjoy a simple snack of ketan hitam, black rice porridge. My husband ordered his favorite Indonesian drink, jus alpukat, a purée of avocado, sweetened condensed milk, and chocolate.
After coffee, we walked through Washington Square Park, and then headed to the Meatpacking District. Before heading up to the High Line railraod park, we stopped by Colicchio and Sons for brunch. After a filling meal, we walked over to one of the stairs leading up to The High Line, and entered the park.
The High Line railroad park is much different now than when we first visited it four years prior. Back then, there was only about half a mile of railroad that had been converted into a park. Now the park stretched across from the Meatpacking District up into the edge of Hell’s Kitchen. By the time we got to The High Line, it was midday. The park was filled with visitors walking along the path and enjoying the views of the city buildings.
Seeing the New York City from a different angle
A concrete walkway, along with trees and shrubbery, cover the tracks of the old railroad. But there are some spots where you can still see bits of the railroad tracks. Scattered along the length of the park are spots for resting and relaxing.
One of the first of such spots was a covered area with benches for resting and an art installation. Another spot was a small area of concrete walkway that was covered by a stream of water. My daughter really enjoyed this part of the park. And it was nice to splash around in the cool water on such a hot day.
Also scattered throughout the park are small amphitheater-style seating areas facing a large glass overlooking the city streets. New York City has one of the most beautiful skylines of all the cities I’ve visited in my life. I am, of course, a bit biased towards the Seattle skyline, but even I have to admit that New York City’s skyline can’t be beat. It was fun to catch the view from above, to see the city from a different angle.
A relaxing day of walking and playing
Around 2:30 we headed back down to the streets and grabbed a snack at Chelsea Market. I had never been to that market before. I loved checking out the different restaurants and shop.
There was an especially cute little specialty Italian shop, and I was tempted to buy some snacks there. But we settled for sandwiches instead. After our snack, we headed back up to The High Line railroad park to spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing. We found a grassy area where we let the kids run around while my husband and I took a short break.
Around 5, the wind picked up and it started to rain. So our day at The High Line railroad park had to come to an end. All in all, it was one of my favorite days in New York City. I hope to be able to enjoy again.
With so much development in many of the major cities around the world, city parks are becoming somewhat of an endangered species. I love the philosophy behind The High Line railroad park, the idea that old industrial structures can be repurposed to provide green spaces for the city. What makes The High Line special is that the execution of this philosophy was perfectly thought out. And now what the public has is a beautiful city park where we can enjoy a relaxing day of walking and playing.
Coming to terms with my relationship with New York
I have somewhat of a love-hate relationship with New York. The culture of the city is so rich. I admire the trendiness of the people. And I love the prominent role the city plays in America’s history.
But I don’t particularly like the noise, or the grittiness that comes with millions of people living within the city’s boundaries. And the constant state of being “on” when you’re walking through the streets is tiresome. Fortunately, The High Line railroad park is one of the things I love about New York. And it’s this park that makes me want to come back.
Have you visited The High Line railroad park? Share your experiences in the comments!
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