Just another manic Mondaze where you are too? About this time I think we’re wondering, “Where in the World (of NYC) Is WMM?” How might her potential stage struck encounter with Mr. Hanks and Ms. Wilson turn out? Even if they don’t meet across the aisles, I’m certain Wendy in Boots will come back with a much relished recap of her adventures in Gotham. Do you think she has found THE shoes yet? It’s only full day two.
I’ve lived way off the beaten path and long-term trod the pavement in several big cities. Whether it’s every day, or simply for work or vacation, I always enjoy searching out urban green spaces, for the nature, the serenity, the sense of community, a bit of people watching, and the relative quiet.
One of my newer favourites is NYC’s High Line. Once an 80-year-old, derelict freight railway that transported goods from the waterfront into the city, 1.5 miles of the old track is now a one-of-a-kind linear park, oasis and public promenade. For residents and visitors it has quickly become an unexpected breath of fresh air along 10th Avenue on the Lower West Side.
VIEWS: Walking along the High Line you can see the Statue of Liberty, the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building, the Hudson River and, for your inner fashionista, Diane von Furstenburg’s DVF building. At 30th Street, you might also see acrobats through the windows of the New York Trapeze School.
ROOMS: There’s one 20-storey building that actually bridges the track, the very non-standard (trust me) Standard Hotel, by Andre Balazs, who also owns LA’s Chateau Marmot. Their penthouse rooftop bar is covered in glass and fake grass. In addition to the usual selection of foreign affairs DJs, there’s a creperie. Truth, I was fixated on the colourful seating. Not because my heels were killing me – it was a cluster of Solairs, the surprisingly comfortable, recently revived Canadian chair you could once find lined outside every motel here come summer.
SCHEDULE: Strictly IMO and I’m not a native. But my best times to go are early morning before the crowds, as well as Tuesday nights when half-a-dozen or so experts from the New York Amateur Astronomy Association are on hand with powerful telescopes for stargazing along with the skyline.
EVOLUTION: The third and last section of the park, like most of the $5 million annual operating cost, is being covered by Friends of the High Line, the non-profit group that got it all started. That newest segment, running west to 12th Avenue and north to 34th Street, past the West Side Rail Yards, is scheduled to open in 2014.
IF YOU GO: The High Line is free and opens daily at 7:30 a.m. In summer, it stays open until 11:00 p.m., current winter closing is 5:00 p.m. Visit www.thehighline.org for installations, events (like a recent snow sculpting contest), maps and history. Follow their tweets @highlinenyc and check the Photo of the Week on their blog.
MORE PLACES: The High Line model is now being emulated in Rotterdam and Chicago. My other favourite elevated park is Paris’ longer Promenade Plantee (a.k.a. Coulee Verte), running through the 12th, just east of the Opera Bastille. It had a movie moment in the 2004 flick Before Sunset, starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy.
TIP: Abby mentioned this on one of WMM’s previous posts. Next time you are on a trip mail some postcards to your future self. Writing the things you want to remember about the moment will make a lovely souvenir. And they’ll likely arrive back at your home after you do – a surprise bright spot and getaway reminder to look forward to.
Is there a park or green space near you that gives you real pleasure? What kind of attractions do you tend to seek out on a city break? What is/ would be your favourite metropolis to live in or visit – pick one. Please share your adventures, home and away. And, of course, Stay Safe.