It was day eight of our trip to New York, our third day in New York City.
The 100F/38C heat was oppressive, compounded by sirens and crowds.
We just shared a bowl of fresh juicy watermelon from an organic food market on a long slow walk through the city.
Summer food for a good old New York Summer.
This city is full of energy and excitement, but it’s also exhausting, so we’re ready for a break.
Above the street where Jorge and I were standing stretched The High Line, a remnant of industrial New York of the early 1900.
Now renovated, it is a place for long and lazy walks where trees and grass and flowers thrive.
We meant to walk along the High Line on our trip to NYC last October, but we got caught up in other activities instead like walking over the Williamsburg Bridge in a rain storm in search of street art in Brooklyn.
But here we were now, right at the bottom of it, on a sunny day with a few hours to fill.
The High Line has over 200 different plant species.
We headed up the steps near 23rd on the west side of Manhattan (the life here, we noticed, was listed as out of order due to damage from Hurricane Sandy).
From the High Line, we peered back down on the chaos of the city below, the NYC yellow cabs creeping through layers of traffic, the sounds of construction in the distance and plenty of impatient drivers.
Around us, above the city, there were people lying in the grass under the roasting sun, couples strolling by with arms around one another, people resting on benches with shopping bags, a few runners.
This long, thin, park is built on an abandoned historic freight rail line that’s elevated above the streets.
You can still see the old rails that have been removed and reincorporated into the landscape design and indents where the track used to run.
We walked for a while, taking photos and people watching.
I love the delicacy of nature when it’s highlights against a gritty urban environment of bricks and steel and concrete.
New York is full of contrasts – here and in its old and new architecture, its rich and poor people, its sleek 5th Avenue cleanliness and its grimy counterparts on other sides of the city.
Nature slots in when it can, whether its in the parks or roof top gardens or carefully tended tree pits.
The High Line snakes through this end of the city from Gansevoort Street to West 34th Street where its trains used to carry practical items to the places they needed to go – mail to the post office, meat to the meatpacking district and so on.
It serves a few purposes – to preserve local plant species, to provide a place for people to relax and to give an alternative route from point A to point B.
Around us falls the gallery district of the city and the High Line itself is an outdoor showcase for artists.
There are sculptures dotted along the pathway.
The view beyond the High Line as as interesting as the view on top of it and we peer down at city life intermittently.
There’s plenty of amusing billboards and signs to keep us entertained.
There are places along the route where the space widens and benches are lined up under trees or pocket viewing areas are created.
As we walk further along, there’s a covered space where vendors are selling art work.
We find a gelato stand and can’t resist.
Two menta cioccolatos please.
This is definitely Summer food.
We sit down and enjoy it.
We walk on a bit further.
Wooden benches and water features line the path.
We’re headed toward The Standard to meet my friend Sarah for dinner and drinks.
We make a mental note to come back to explore the other half that we missed.
It’s definitely worth a second trip.
An additional section of the High Line is being planned now.
Perhaps it will be ready for our next visit…
London – A High Line here for us, please?
Read more about NYC’s High Line here: http://www.thehighline.org/