Central Park was planned in New York City before the city even reached uptown and before the town had grown to what it is now. In contrast, the High Line Park was developed around the city structure already there and that only about 10 years ago. From being tracks for trains carrying goods 100 years ago, it is now a beautiful quiet spot in the middle of buzzing downtown Manhattan, to which locals and tourists alike come to visit, to take in the views, to lunch and to get a moment of quiet.
I've had the opportunity to walk the High Line for the past four years. Being in Europe, I unfortunately missed an event back in 2008 where I was invited for a walk on the High Line still before it opened to the public; I have followed the development of this park from its very start - it is so great to see that a local community can actually make things happen and preserve some historic sites.
The other day, I decided to walk the full length of the High Line and it is interesting to see how different parts of the line change its vegetation and style along its way.
The first part at Gansevoort Street is also the first part that was planted and ready for the official opening back in 2009, so it is also the more lush and green part of the park now with trees that have grown into good sizes to make even the very edge feels green.
Along the walk, the original tracks have been left or used for benches and art, so you are all the time being reminded that it was a previous rail track. All along the way you have the view to the city though you are above it and not disturbed by its traffic (although you hear the cars below you). You also have the occasional view out to the Hudson River only one block away.
The park is now very organised with its own friendship group with its linked souvenir and ice-cream shops, a mini terrace cafeteria, even its own garbage cans of which I love the one for compost.