April 4, 2012

field trip: the highline

The Highline is one of those things that I've been meaning to visit literally since the week we got here, but somehow, it kept slipping down to the bottom of the list. We walked right under it on our first weekend in the city, which also happened to be one of the hottest days of the year. Total newbies, we had misjudged the lengths of blocks and the distances from one part of town to the other and had set out on a somewhat disastrous walk, vaguely looking for the Intrepid but without really knowing where it was. By the time we passed under the Highline that day, we were all hot and sweaty and tired and hungry and climbing a set of steps up to an unshaded park seemed too much like torture, so instead we dragged ourselves to the nearest subway station and came home only to find this, which remains one of my favorite New York moments of all time. But I never made it back to the Highline.

On Friday, we were looking for something low key to do before picking Evie up from school. We'd walked and walked and walked the day before, and had plans to walk some more that evening for a trip to "Big Gay" for some ice cream. We wanted to stroll. To be out in the sun. It was a phenomenally beautiful day, balmy and sunny without being hot. The perfect day to wander down the Highline.

Originally an elevated train track, the park has been growing section by section as they turn it into a long, ambling walk through the city. At the moment it stretches from the mid 30's down to 15th, winding between beautiful old buildings and uber modern steel and glass edifices through Chelsea, near enough to the water that you get the breeze and catch glimpses of the Hudson now and then. It's not quiet, but nowhere here is, really. Over the months I've gotten used to the constant hum you find in the "quiet" of the parks, most of the time it's just background noise now. And I liked that the Highline embraces it's in-the-thick-of-it aspect with little view points carved out to take advantage of dramatic views of the buildings around it or the road underneath. It is a truly urban park.
At the end of our stroll we found ourselves just a block or so from the Chelsea Market which turns out to be something of a foodie heaven (that would be where my second grilled cheese sandwich of the week came about) had a delicious lunch and then made our way back uptown in time to get our girl. I think it might have been the perfect way to spend a sunny afternoon in the city. How can you beat beautiful views, sunshine and great food?