I mostly work from home, which I know is everyone’s dream, but it can also be a very lonely existence – especially when most others I work with are in the digital realm. So when I need a break from the computer and looking for inspiration, I head over to the High Line in my neighborhood.
The High Line runs along the west side of NYC from Gansevoort Street to 34th Street (currently open to 20th Street). It was built in the 1930’s and originally served as an elevated rail line that delivered livestock to the meatpacking plants in the area. It was abandoned in 1980 and set for demolition until a group of resident advocates set out to preserve it and have it reutilized as public space.
Thankfully the advocates won out, because today it is a beautiful park space and oasis amongst the brownstones and brick buildings surrounding it. Along the walk way are still remnants of the train tracks, covered with beautiful wild flowers – similar to the flowers that grew there when it was abandoned. And the park benches and double-wide loungers make for great resting spots, where you can enjoy views of the Hudson River, read a book, or catch up with friends. You can also grab a bite to eat from one of the outside concessions, or grab a picnic lunch from one of the many vendors in Chelsea Market right below it.
They have also implemented some very creative public art space.
The inaugural artwork on the High Line, by artist Spencer Finch, is The River That Flows Both Ways. Its title comes from the original Native American word for the Hudson River, Muhheakantuck. This work is located on the High Line in the semi-enclosed former loading dock between 15th and 16th Streets, where the High Line passes through the Chelsea Market building. Finch transforms the site’s existing casement windows with 700 individually crafted panes of glass representing the water conditions on the Hudson River over a single day. To create the project, Finch photographed the Hudson River 700 times from the deck of a boat and then carefully matched each unique image to a pane of glass.
I love the fact that since the park is elevated approximately four stories, it gives you a great perspective of the city that you wouldn’t see from ground level. Looking down at the cobblestone streets of the Meatpacking District takes me back in time and lets me imagine NYC in a different era.
Whether you live in NYC or come for a visit, take the time to visit the High Line and enjoy this great neighborhood project. Hopefully you will find some inspiration there as well.