image The New York Highline Review – Timing is Everything

New York Street With Taxis
New York City Life – From the Highline
The Highline is a re-purposed elevated railway that has been fully landscaped as a unique public park. If you walk from one end to the other you will see a microcosm of New York urban life from a lofty viewpoint – trendy up and coming areas with large scale street art, a little bit of post-industrial decline and finally a concrete and steel jungle of what will no doubt be super-expensive apartments once finished. The Highline experience is really just about ambling along enjoying the environment and the ever changing views of what is, after all, an ever-changing city; so the the Highline is a bit of an urban timeline made real.
Empire State With Red Guitar Sign
Trendy NYC Suburbia and the Empire State
New York Tenement Block
Not Quite So Trendy Tenement Blocks Alongside the Highline
It has the potential to be a quieter alternative to the non-stop urban chaos of New York but be warned – it can also get very busy. We visited late morning and across lunchtime on a Sunday when the park was incredibly crowded and in some places it was just a queue of people filing along some of the narrower parts. The upside is that there are plenty of entertainers and street food carts that add to the atmosphere whilst catering to the crowds.
Crowds Rushing on Highline
A Busy Day on the Highline

It was still enjoyable, but for a different experience I suggest going much earlier or much later in the day or perhaps a weekday would be worth a try. Sunrise or sunset across the city from the Highline would be a real treat. So pick your time of visit carefully – timing really is everything to get the experience you want; quiet and serene or busy and lively.

We started our visit at the southern end of the park after getting the subway to 14th Street. There is a small visitor’s shop and some toilets here and I recommend you use the toilets – there aren’t any as you head north. Also, if you are considering eating, be aware that the kiosks on and just off the Highline will charge you a PREMIUM price for water and snacks ($3.50 for a bottle you can pick up for a dollar elsewhere!)

The park itself is populated with entertainers, art works and places to sit and contemplate the world as it goes by. There are also the artisanal street food carts…. but watch those prices, like I said. The food did look great but if you are on a budget you might be best advised to hang on and take advantage of some of the excellent looking restaurants that are accessible around the southern end or in Hells’ Kitchen further north . We actually ate at the Skylight Diner which we passed on the walk back to our hotel

Once you get to the northern end around 30th Street and the Hudson Yards, the feel and character of the park changes to become far less attractive and green. This is referred to as the “Interim Walkway” on the website so perhaps it is still to be fully landscaped. However, for a significant section you do feel like you are walking through a rather noisy high rise building site for multiple giant apartment blocks and then alongside a very busy main road. Once that building work is finished, the environment will probably improve, but for now you will just want to get through that bit and back down to street level.

Trains in Hudson Yards New York
Hudson Yards From the Highline

Once off the Highline at the northern end, I think the nearest subway is at 34th and 8th or you could do what we did and walk back to the theatre district via Hells Kitchen – worth seeing in its own right as a cultural melting pot and street photography opportunity, not to mention the cheaper dining options.

So, the Highline is well worth a visit but tie it in with a nice restaurant lunch, dinner or something else, like a further walking tour or another visit – the Intrepid Air Sea and Space Museum is about 10 blocks from the Northern end and well worth a visit too!

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