On August 20th, I went to my friend’s house so we can take the subway together and hang out in the city. My friend asked me: “Do you know what the High Line is?” I had no idea what on earth he was talking about. When I asked inquisitively, “What’s the High Line?”, he told me. “Well, it’s this old subway track in the city that’s recently been turned into a park,” he said. I stared at him for several seconds before asking, “What the hell are you talking about?!”
For those of you who do not know what the High Line is, it is exactly what my friend said. About eighty years ago, construction began on an above-ground railroad between 11th and 10th avenue. However, the expansion of the railroad stopped when it was later deemed unnecessary. For a long time, the High Line remained unused. Eventually, the Parks and Recreation Department of New York decided to put it to good use, and turn it into a park. I must say, this is by far one of the most amazing city project I have ever seen.
As you walk down the track, you will notice that there are still parts of the rail that remained as a part of the walkway. It was very aesthetically appealing when placed side-by-side with the cement patterns of the walkway. The plants are of various species; some were flowering and other were changing in leaf color when I went. On some of the buildings near the High Line, various works of art are drawn on the sides of the buildings facing the High Line. Scattered throughout the walkway are uniquely designed busts that were created by a variety of artists. I loved the exquisite works of art on the buildings, but the busts were rather boring and, at times, I barely considered them to be art (one of the busts looked as though a child molded it like play-doh!).
Every now and then, there is an area where you can sit and simply observe city-life. I remember one of these areas was designed very much like the seats of a theater. Quite a few people were already sitting and watching the show. I took my seat and looked down at the many cars that were driving below us. A pane of glass separated me from what I was seeing, but I felt as though there was something much larger standing between me and the city. I felt as though I suddenly became an outsider to the city, even though NYC has been my home ever since I was born. I was still in the city, but no longer a part of it. I was in a whole different world, in a completely foreign setting. These uniquely designed balconies were definitely something I looked forward to as I continued down the High Line.
The High Line goes through several buildings and makes some slight turns every now and then. The walk felt a lot like a roller coaster, speeding and gliding through the streets of New York with ease. At one point there are reclining chairs where you can simply relax and sleep on the High Line. Below the seats are small fountains where you could rinse your feet and enjoy the cool sensation of water on your heels. Several times I had to remind myself where I was. I’m not at a beach, I’m in NYC. I’m not in a greenhouse, I’m in NYC. I’m not walking through a forest, I’m in NYC!
When I looked out onto the city, I felt separate from the city, though at the same time a part of it. Time itself changed in a way; people were no longer in a rush, and all that was on my mind was the beauty of the park. Thus, I compare the High Line to a wormhole: it is a bridge that sends you away from the city and into nature, where time no longer seems restricted, but free. The High Line is my way of escaping city-life and temporarily living in a separate world, free from the urban rush. Everyone should visit the High Line, because everyone can have a nice time, no matter what age. Just one thing: if you wish to buy High Line merchandise, bring several Benjamins, for the prices are sky-high!