Even if spending the first full day in New York exploring the Central Park, on day 3 I started to feel anxious. That’s when we took The High Line, a scenic pedestrian route in the middle of Manhattan. And I loved it!
Actually, I loved it so much we walked it through twice in one day!
I was a first-timer travelling to New York having only a few days to explore the Big Apple, so I was convinced staying at Times Square would be a good idea. I was so convinced that I didn’t mind paying (a lot) higher rate for the hotel, I was sure it would be worth the money spent. As we all know, a hotel located in the middle of everything also charges for the location.
Oh, I couldn’t have been more wrong! It was so not worth the money!
Every single time I wanted to leave or return to the hotel, I had to weave my way through the flashing neon lights and the incredible mass of people at Times Square, trying my best to avoid the money-begging Minnie and Mickey Mouses, Batmans and Catwomen that were getting more rude day by day.
No, it really wasn’t worth it. The ongoing road works made the streets even narrower and busier – and me even more anxious. I was balancing somewhere between an epileptic seizure and a panic attack.
Until I managed to walk a few blocks away from Times Square. Suddenly it was so much easier to breathe. Times Square was like a nightmare to me. It was nice to see it, but I wished I didn’t need to go through it ever single time I wanted to go somewhere. So on day 3 I was struggling a lot. I wasn’t sure if I could survive in New York to the day 5.
But then I remembered something.
I can’t remember where I heard about The High Line for the first time, but I knew I had to get there immediately!
What is ‘The High Line’?
The High Line is a piece of New York history. The High Line is a small little paradise in the middle of busy Manhattan.
The High Line is a green and scenic route for pedestrians above the crowded streets of New York City.
The High Line is an old train track, abandoned by trains a long time ago, but wonderfully repurposed to the benefit of people who love walking and beautiful views instead of hectic big city life.
Starting and heading South from 34th Street of Western Manhattan, The High Line was opened to trains in 1934 in order to transport goods rather than passengers. The very last train run along the track in 1980 delivering frozen turkeys. I don’t know why it’s important, but I really wanted to tell you this fact.
19 years later the organization called Friends of The High Line was founded by the people living in the neighbourhood. They wanted to open the abandoned track for the public, and they were ready to fight for it.
10 years from the foundation of Friends of The High Line, in 2009, the first part of the track was finally opened to pedestrians. The third and last part was finally opened in 2014. Today, in 2016, The High Line continues from 34th Street to 12th Street offering a beautiful escape for small-town girls like me, who can’t hold the pressure but need a little break from busy Manhattan every now and then.
Today, in 2016, The High Line is a green and peaceful scenic route for pedestrians in the middle of Manhattan.
An escape from the masses of Manhattan
You don’t need to walk alone along The High Line, but compared to the intense street level, it’s peaceful and quiet.
Even if the walkway is winding its way in between the buildings, you also get to admire the calm views of the Hudson River and the skyline of Jersey City. Trees and flowers have been planted on both sides of the walkway, and you could even adopt your own plant from The High Line.
The train track itself is still visible in most parts of the route. The atmosphere is authentic and cozy. Perhaps even a little romantic.
There are benches and places to have a picnic. There’s even art. It’s a perfect escape from the masses of Manhattan, and really makes a sunny spring day perfect.
And evening as well. After walking through The High Line and spending the day in Southern Manhattan, we realised that the sun goes down on west. So at dusk we took The High Line again and returned to the 34th Street admiring the beautiful sunset.
So in case you are looking for a great and free spot from Manhattan for admiring sunset, consider The High Line.
The High Line is open every day from 7.00 am to 11.00 pm. It’s only a bit over 2 kilometers long, but take your time. Believe me, you don’t want to run it through in a rush.
All photos in this post are taken by me (or Daniel), but if you want to see more of The High Line, you can visit the Flickr feed of Friends of The High Line here.
Did you read these stories already?