Central Park has serious competition. Before Ruth & I went to New York in October, 2017, I googled “best free attractions” and Central Park was #1. Sky Line Park was #2.
Sky Line is unusual. TimeOut New York calls it “an urbanite’s playground”. This perfectly captures its spirit. We entered it via the elevator at its southern end and found ourselves in an elevated green space that continued north on New York’s West Side from Gansevoort Street up to 34th. For 1.45 miles this genuine park follows a New York Central Railroad spur, in this case an old freight rail track that branches off from the main line and is often visible. Visible also is the new Whitney Museum, and we were never too far from a view of the urban landscape and the Hudson River.
There are nine staircases providing entry to this narrow walkway that takes everyone through green spaces alive with trees, flowers, and sculptures. Because we were there on an exceptionally beautiful day, it was very crowded. Like Central Park, High Line is well used and I suspect I’d be shoulder to shoulder with many others even on a not-so-nice day. Visit thehighline.org to see an events calendar that lists every lure from Tai Chi to tours. Ruth & I saw some school field trippers who were there to learn about native ecology and the city. At one point we talked to a couple from Switzerland. I asked the lady how she heard about Sky Line, and she told me that it’s in all the guide books. Like us, they were thinking that this park is one of the best attractions in a city with hundreds of expensive things to do.
Sky Line opened in June, 2011 and is still not done. Coming next year is a new third section called The Spur. About one block long, The Spur will be a fine addition because it clings to the park theme. There were many artful ideas for how to develop The Spur, but tilted planters and large trees won. This is not to say that visitors see only greenery and flowers, like the dwarf lady fern and speckled, orchid-like sinonomes above. There is food and drink at 4 spots, public restrooms, lots of clever seats for resters, etc. People can exit at many places to visit the many galleries and businesses below that are not visible in Sky Line Park like the old rail tracks.
ps. I checked the website mentioned above to learn that the Jindai tatarian asters that we saw in abundance are still in bloom but they won’t be much longer.