The High Line

Section 1, running from Gansevoort Street to 20th Street.

In the heart of Central Park, or Fort Tryon Park farther uptown or Prospect Park in Brooklyn, you can almost forget you’re in the city. The street sounds fade to near silence, and the canopy of trees obscures much of the skyline. That’s part of the fun of visiting—the convenient escape.

The High Line, by contrast, makes no pretensions at escape. It is an unabashedly urban park, an abandoned elevated railway once slated for demolition but now lovingly repurposed as public green space above the busy city streets. The design embraces the park’s industrial history, with benches evoking railway ties, and celebrates the plants that found a home there when the line fell into disuse and neglect. Visiting the High Line, you never leave the city, never even pretend to, but you glimpse it from a different angle, taking in the old buildings and new buildings and the Hudson River and the greenery all at once. It’s an interesting experience, an elegant experiment in conservation in a dense city.