The view of the High Line looking upward at its southern terminus from the street at Gansevoort and Washington appears like a cut of meat chopped with a cleaver. A sheer glass wall looms thirty feet overhead; the design seems intended to remind the viewer this is the historic Meatpacking District. Fittingly, according to park docents the very last train to travel the High Line delivered a shipment of frozen turkeys. Much has changed, in 2014 the Whitney Museum of American Art will open a massive new extension snuggled up next to the High Line at this location.
There is much to see along the initial one mile walkway – from striking views of the distant Hudson River and iconic Manhattan buildings poking skyward, to gorgeous landscapes at your feet. Before heading north from the Gansevoort Street entrance it is worth turning back towards the “meat chop” terminus to experience the view. The High Line passes north through a series of beautiful gardens and unique features, including Gansevoort Woodland, the Sundeck and Water Feature (a shallow linear wading pool), Chelsea Market Passage, Chelsea Grasslands, Seating Steps, Wildflower Field and the Radical Bench.
- 10th Avenue Square (between West 17th and West 18th streets) features bleachers that descend through original girders ending with a framed view looking up 10th Avenue. The installation is wheelchair accessible by zigzagging down the rows of bleachers.
- This place in particular reveals original art-deco steel side railings; but they are present throughout the park especially when a section is viewable from the street level. Commonplace round railing were used where the public could not see the original viaduct from the street.
- At 26th Street a viewing spur includes seating facing the street with a large frame that recalls the billboards that blocked the views to the west before the elevated rail viaduct was transformed into a park. The frame is empty, allowing park visitors to view people on the street, and allowing park goers to be seen from the street.
- The park currently ends, or starts, at West 34th Street between 11th Avenue and Westside Highway at the Hudson Yards.
The landscape design itself includes much of the original wild self-seeded plant life and flora that used to naturally inhabit the abandoned corridor – some 300 species of perennials, grasses, shrubs, and trees. The Friends of the Highline web site contains a Bloom List updated by the season. For a printable walkway map use the Web Map link above (or the Friends web site).
- The deck along the High Line corridor was created from a series of smooth, tapered concrete planks laid in a linear fashion, suggestive of railroad tracks. The walkway flows variously from side to side or into the center or can cover the full deck; it can be narrow, or divided into parallel paths, or become as wide as 60 feet (at 10th Avenue Square). At the Falcone Flyover (between West 25th and West 26th streets) the narrow walkway is elevated above the rail bed which carries visitors through a canopy of sumac and magnolia trees.
- Throughout the park original rail tracks can be seen; more than a third of them have been re-installed. In some places the tracks are embedded in the pathway, in others hidden among various plantings and vegetation.
- After sunset sections of the pathway glow from LED light bars installed low to the ground (and under benches), making possible stellar views of the Manhattan skyline from 30 feet above ground with no overhead lights. Perhaps it needs to be said, the crime rate on the High Line is very low.
Listen to a walking tour of the High Line by Joshua David and Robert Hammond, the Co-Founders of Friends of the High Line. They were interviewed on NPR's "All Things Considered," September 3, 2011. The tour begins at the corner of Gansevoort and Washington streets. (This version is 80 minutes; at the NPR site is also a 12 minute interview.)