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Walking on the High Line | DesignNotes by Michael Surtees

Walking on the High Line

High Line Tour

High Line Tour

High Line Tour

Walking on the High Line Saturday morning, I couldn’t help but wonder how different the the floor will be the next time it opens to the public full time. The High Line Rail Yards were open to a small number of people that signed up for a walking tour that was part of Open House New York. Taking advantage of one of the only times that this availability has been granted I signed up ASAP which was a good thing b/c it sold out immediately. I’d seen a couple images of the above structure before and heard a presentation by Diller Scofidio + Renfro about their plans, but for the most part my experience came from walking below it to work.

Although the walk was brief at only four blocks (starting at 34th Street and ending at 30th Street) and taking thirty minutes there was more then enough to explore and see. The varying degrees of claimed and unclaimed natural habitat was fascinating. At the start of the walk the rail lines were visible with a strong foundation of rock and wood, but about a block down it changed quite quickly to more natural habitat of grass and twigs. For the last three blocks the density of the grass changed, it varied between dense to thin, wild flowers and rail lines sticking out. I think it was during the third block were the path was almost all fine golden like hairs of grass. It was quite a contrast to the usual dense green grass that calms people in parks around New York.

High Line Tour

But as quickly as it started the trip came to an end. Another contrast was seeing how stripped down the line has to go to clean it up. As the walkway veered one way to walk down to the street, we could see to the right of the High Line a part of the pathway that was getting cleaned. It simply looked like a road underconstruction, which in fact is what it is – though a more optimistic description should be a work in progress. In 2008, part of the most southern part of the High Line will be open which will give a taste of what’s to come.

I have a number of images of the walk on my flickr set HERE.

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