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NYC – From Skyline to Highline

June 18th, 2014 by Magdalena Tabor

I have to thank my cousin Lisa for my introduction to NYC’s Highline which came about two years ago. We work just a stone’s throw NYC Highlinefrom one another in Manhattan and upon occasion get together for “lunch”. Well, the first time we actually ate but from then on we became walking buddies in an effort to work off what eating puts on. She led me down to the west end of the city not far from where we set out, and we proceeded to climb an elevated platform. I had no idea what to expect but was quite simply thrust into a part of the city I’d never known existed. How could this be? I thought I knew it all when it came to the city. But it was quite apparent I’d been out of the loop.
Here was a world where nature extended her hand and literally led you down the city’s primrose path. What was once an expanse of abandoned elevated train track, had been transformed into a private pedestrian walkway; an unexpected vista of ever changing cityscape interspersed with surprise elements of wooded glens, petite lawns, flora/fauna and you name it. As if that weren’t enough, the intriguing view above the city streets free from the intrusion of traffic and blaring sirens, highlight the architectural interest of brand spanking new buildings alongside Victorian Chelsea. With a nod to the city’s talented art community, this montage also injects a gallery of sculptures mounted on the sides of buildings scattered along the way just for good measure; we wouldn’t want you to get bored.
There was a time when this bed of railroad track that lay abandoned for some time, was considered by some just a stretch of wreckage and should be demolished. Nature began to reclaim what was hers and determindly took root there. With a vision not unique to New Yorkers alone, for the idea germinated with the existence of the Promenade PlantĂ©e in Paris, a plan to create something similar was born. But it became something much more; a necessary element of which many city people are deprived. A backyard. A place of respite. A moment’s pause reminding us how important it is to integrate ourselves with nature, even in a place as bustling as NYC. Perhaps even more so because of it.
Children playing on lawns. An old woman in a straw hat biding her time amongst the flowers. People on a leisurely stroll mid afternoon. Others, sunning themselves on newly mown grass in bare feet. Some time in New York City? You betcha. The Highline soars.

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3 Responses to “NYC – From Skyline to Highline”

  1. Michael Tabor Says:

    There are so many of these hidden gems in N.Y.C. that so many lifelong New Yorkers don’t even know about. Thanks Magdalena.

  2. Sal Paradise Says:

    What a beautifully written piece, Magdalena. It was about three years ago my wife and I were introduced to the Highline by good friends who then lived in Mid-town, and whom you subsequently met at Kevin Spacey’s compelling Richard III performance at the BAM. Kudos, indeed, to the visionaries who had the imagination to make such use of such neglected property.

  3. magdalena Says:

    What a world this would be if there were more visionaries….what’s been lost is lost thus making the treasures we have ever more valuable.

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