Chelsea High Line Park is an elevated train track turned public park in the heart of Chelsea
The last time I visited New York City, my mother showed me a public park in Chelsea near the art gallery that shows her work (Ceres for those of you who are interested). The park is unique in that it is built on a historic elevated freight rail line above the streets of Manhattan. The Chelsea High Line is maintained and operated by the organization Friends of the High Line and the park was founded in 1999 by community residents. As I understand it, the rail line was about to be demolished, and at the last minute they decided to preserve the structure turning it into a fantastic and unique public park.
You can access the High Line from several different spots along the rail´s length via stairs, elevators, or ramps depending on the entrance you choose. We climbed up to the high line and after taking out my camera, my mom and I began to explore. There was an area where you could get a glimpse of the Hudson River and New Jersey. You could even see the Statue of Liberty in a few spots. There were wooden lounge chairs where people could sit and take in the view and relax. Some of these chairs were even fixed to the rails with little wheels so that you could roll them up or down to change your position.
There were also lots of little garden spots with flowers and grass sprouting up between the old railroad tracks. And at one end a hotel with a huge façade of windows. Apparently, a lot of exhibitionists rent rooms there in order to parade around nude, or show off their private lives as others walk along the promenade.That´s another story, however, and probably not the best hotel to pick if you are going for a classy experience.
In some spots, the highline also has bleacher seating with huge plexiglass pane windows in front so that you feel like you are sitting or rather floating above the road. There were a lot of people who had brought a picnic lunch (and in New York, its so easy to get almost any kind of food “to go”, so you can chat in the nice surroundings of nature, but literally all you have done is gone “upstairs” from the busy chaotic streets of Chelsea below. Its something else to see the cars come rushing out from under the very bridge you are sitting above, especially with the sky scrapers as a backdrop.
We walked a little further and came upon an area that was eye level with people´s apartment buildings. I couldn´t help buy wonder what the people who bought those apartments must be thinking now that the old abandoned railroad line has been converted into a promenade public park with people traipsing by at all hours (well, between 7am and 10pm daily). At one point, they had a set of stadium type seats and they projected movies onto a white painted wall on the other side of the tracks. I would have loved to go back and see a movie there, if only to enjoy the company, what would surely be a great indie flick, and the cool breeze on a hot, steamy summer city night.
There are things about New York you never stop missing. This sort of space is one of them. The Highline has lots of natural art in the plants, birds and insects that come along with any public park, but we ruskommend Chelsea High Line Park with 5 boquerones for its stark contrast and unique views of the neighborhood of Chelsea. It’s a space that, although crowded on weekends, is the perfect way to get a fresh point of view without going too far out of your way.