Passing Thoughts on the High Line

Eddie Pensier writes:

Today I met frequent UR commenter Tex for a walk along the High Line, the elevated-railroad-track-turned-public-park that runs for a mile through the southwest end of Manhattan.262px-West_side_line

Discussions of the virtues of the park itself are probably best left to my colleagues who are more well-versed in such matters. What makes the High Line fun for me? The first word gives a clue: it’s high. Ten stories up gives a great vantage point to observe the wonders of Manhattan and the teeming life contained therein. Frequent benches and lookout points invite reflection, picture-taking, and just watching people go by. (The High Line should not be confused with the Hi-Life, where reflection of an altogether different sort has been known to occur.)

Besides the train tracks and the plants (all “native” and “indigenous”, we are assured), one feature that Tex and I noticed was the slightly elevated ridges of concrete from which grass sprouts, placed at the angles in the walkway. I’m sure there is some Very Important Reason for these to exist, but their main purpose seemed to be to get in my way and cause me to stumble every ten steps.

It also, regrettably, gives you a view of some OMG FUGLY buildings nearby. The presence of the High Line has made the far-west bits of Chelsea and the Meatpacking District more attractive to developers and potential residents, the result being some of the blights I took snaps of below the break. I started photographing at 23rd Street and walked downtown: if you know the names of these buildings or their architects, leave a comment so we can assign proper blame credit.

The Empire State Building in the background provides a sad contrast.

It’s a sorry thing when the construction equipment is more interesting-looking than the Frank Gehry building it’s next to.

This might have been my favorite thing I saw on the High Line: a cheeky bronze satyr wearing a kilt, by artist Sean Landers.


About Eddie Pensier

Television junkie, opera buff, connoisseur of unhealthy foods, fashion watcher, art lover and admirer of beautiful people of all sexes.
This entry was posted in Architecture, Travel. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Passing Thoughts on the High Line

  1. The Man Who Was . . . says:

    Those are some damn ugly buildings.


  2. Buildings? Or chic kitchen appliances?


  3. When I was in NYC a few years ago, one of the first things I did was walk the High Line. I too was struck by the terrible buildings along the route. I’ll dig out my pics.


  4. Fabrizio del Wrongo says:

    Holy shit that Gehry looks like a Nintendo graphic on a TV that has gone all fritzy. Sadly, he’d probably take that as a compliment.

    Do you reckon the satyr is supposed to be wearing a kilt? Maybe he’s going through a grunge phase?


  5. I wondered that, or if it was detritus from some revelry last night (I did find a pair of what I believe were women’s underpants not far away). But the info-card confirms that it is actually a kilt.


  6. slumlord says:

    Still not as bad as my home town, Melbourne.


  7. Christine says:

    Maybe I’m spoiled from years of living next to Prospect and Central Parks, but I felt like such a sourpuss about the High Line when it opened. It’s the Tuileries of the dystopian science fiction world we live in.


  8. I took pictures of two of the same buildings as you did, but from different perspectives:


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