One of the most unique experiences in Manhattan is a walk on the High Line, which was once an elevated cargo train line that delivered goods to warehouses along the Westside from 1934 to 1980. After it was closed down it was left abandoned and under threat of being demolished, but two local residents, Joshua David and Robert Hammond founded Friends of the High Line with the goal to preserve the High Line as public space. After several years of planning, construction for the High Line began. The first section from Gansevoort Street to 20th Street, approximately 1/2 mile, opened to the public in the summer of 2009. Then 3 years later the High Line was extended to 30th Street then in 2014 up to 34th Street.
There are several access points to the High Line from street level but I recommend starting at Gansevoort St. Once you climb the stairs you’ll encounter a lovely, green landscaped trail with amazing views of the Hudson River and surrounding streets. The perspective of the surrounding buildings is unique as you pass by residential apartment buildings dating back to the very early 20th century as well as brand new condo buildings with the latest contemporary designs, some very elaborate. There are usually some interesting art exhibits as well as little spots for food and drink. You’ll stroll through the Meat Packing District and Chelsea neighborhoods and will end at the Hudson Rail Yard, which is a $20 billion dollar privately funded real estate development project, the biggest in our country’s history.
Although the High Line from end to end is 1 1/2 miles you can always walk down any of the access stairs to explore the surrounding neighborhood for great restaurants, bars, even see some art at the Whitney Museum. I recommend visiting the High Line early in the morning, it opens at 7:00am, or later in the evening, up until 10:00pm in order to avoid the crowds. If you’re a runner, you’re in for a treat. Start on the south end of the High Line and once you reach the end at 34th Street, head west over to the Hudson River running path where you can add a few more miles to your workout.