For the past five years, New Yorkers have enjoyed that linear green thoroughfare known as the High Line, which has been slowly extending up the West Side of Manhattan since 2009. Yesterday, the third and final phase of the park was completed, and it's both happy and sad—that a great project was seen to completion, and that the excitement of the project is over.
I paid a visit to the last leg of the High Line, which starts at 30th Street and 10th Avenue and heads north before bending to and fro until its terminus at 34th Street. Last time we visited it, it was a shabby site of an art installation. Look at it now.
Phase three begins in a very nondescript block, with loud, unpleasant construction work buzzing on all sides. This part of town is home to many future towering skyscrapers, and one of them sits directly next to the phase three entrance.
Seriously, this behemoth of a building is right up in, and on top of, your grill.
Once you get a few yards clear of the construction, you emerge onto the familiar walkway of the High Line. Pretty soon this path will be engorged with citizenry and tourists alike on their Sunday afternoon strolls.
Your typical High Line embellishments are intact, evoking the linearity of the park and its rusty railroad past.
Take a look back and see that giant building once more. Yikes!
The path crosses over 10th Avenue, not the most scenic of NYC avenues.
There's this really cool below-the-surface play area for kids (and kids only—lame).
A mole hole!
Phase three bends around Hudson Yards, which houses a fleet of commuter trains in shiny silver rows.
Curving along to head north along the West Side Highway, you can catch a glimpse of some of that gorgeous iron work that makes up the former elevated railway.
Along the way are a number of these distressed concrete blocks. You may think they are architectural detritus, but in fact they are an art installation by Adrián Villar Rojas. Look closely and you can see all kinds things embedded in the seams, like sneakers and pigeon wings!
Rounding the bend, you come face to face with the Javits Center, a convention venue that is basically hell for anyone who has ever stepped inside its cavernous interior.
One of my favorite aspects of the High Line is the chance to get unique views of some interesting architecture. The area around phase three is pretty wide open and doesn't stink of chic the way the Chelsea section does. I loved this cluster of buildings right here.
The surrounding area is very industrial, leading to some interesting sites you don't expect to see near a city park.
Sorry, but a row of scrawny saplings won't hide this row of shipping containers.
Before unceremoniously reaching the terminus of the High Line's phase three, I decided to retrace my steps at street level to see what interesting perspectives I could find.
It's nice to actually see a wide view of the original.
That brings us back to the beginning, face to face with this monstrosity.
All-in-all, the last leg of the Highline is enjoyable if unexciting. It's a bittersweet end to what was an exciting few years to be a New Yorker—knowing that this unique public park was extending further and further. Hopefully the success of the High Line will help other projects that make this city more enjoyable see the light of day.
All photos by Michael Hession