That New York is a world class city, the world class city in many respects, is almost without question. But the way it keeps on coming up with stunningly modern ideas that wouldn’t work anywhere else in the world is testament to why it is so well-regarded in the first place. Take for example the High Line Park. This was something I hadn’t really heard about until I started planning a trip to New York, but the more I learned the more interested I became.
The High Line is a greenway, (from the green in green belt and the way in parkway) which means it is a route that has been turned into something of a functional park. It implies a much more recreational or pedestrian use rather than a typical street corridor in a location where such vegetation is otherwise lacking.
In other cities this had manifested in old roads or industrial tracts being converted, but New York had to go a little bit further. The Manhattanites who took over the project have turned a mile-long section of the former elevated freight railroad spur called the West Side Line ï¿½ running along the lower west side of Manhattan ï¿½ into what is now an aerial greenway. Essentially, it is a park in the sky, and as well as proving very popular with the natives it has proved incredibly valuable to the neighbourhoods nearby as well having prompted something of a real estate boom in the properties that run along the line.
This urban regeneration has led to the park being extended, and this in turn has led to something of a minor cultural renaissance, and it has even started appearing in popular culture as well. It features in a book by the author Alan Weisman about the world reclaiming city space post-humanity, a fact realized in the 2007 film I Am Legend which sees the main stalking around the High Line.
Of course, a park is not a good enough reason to visit New York in and of itself, but it is more an example of the kind of things you can find when you step off the well-trodden tourist trail in the Big Apple and go searching for something a little bit more outrï¿½ or authentic. Sites like DiaAFlight.com are offering cheap flights to New York so if you wanted to save all your money for a bit more exploring at the other end then this is the time to do it.
The High Line park is but one aspect of a city that almost defies categorisation. All you can hope to do is experience a tiny segment of the place, and if that segment is anything as interesting as this floating park,then it will be a trip to remember