Say Hello to High Line at the Rail Yards, the Park’s Third and Final Phase
It's pretty amazing to think that the High Line has only been around since 2008, or that there were plenty of people who lobbied against the park being built at all because it would stifle growth in the neighborhood. Instead, of course, not only has the High Line been such an instant, overwhelming success–more than 5 million folks visited the elevated greenway last year alone, and imitators have sprung up around the world–that the six-year-old park already feels like a NYC landmark, but it has also sparked a staggering amount of development, from the new Whitney at the southern end (opening next spring) to the mega-billion-dollar Hudson Yards project to the north. Really, in all my decades here in the city, I can't remember a neighborhood transforming itself so rapidly, and dramatically. And the point is this: last week, the High Line opened its third and final section to the public–called High Line at the Rail Yards–and even though much of the surrounding area is still dominated by massive construction sites, it's pretty easy to tell that designers James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio & Renfro have given New Yorkers (and millions of tourists) another winner.
Finally Finished: High Line at the Rail Yards
I had the opportunity to tour the High Line at the Rail Yards before its official opening, and so some features were still unfinished when I took these photos. To take just one small example: the by-now familiar High Line slotted seating. It's here again, in abundance, but now there's a "picnic table" version, and a see-saw one as well. The biggest design addition to the High Line at the Rail Yards is the incorporation of an area specifically designated for kids, an excavated section of rail bed, laid out with rubber cross beams to climb on and under. There's even a plastic-domed "gopher hole" through which, after a short tunnel, kids can poke their heads up into a plant bed. Expect dozens of photos of this on your Instagram and Facebook feeds in the coming months.
Stunning Sunsets: The View from the High Line
The third phase of the High Line also gets much closer to the Hudson River than previous stretches, making an immediate turn to the west at 30th Street and then curving up north parallel to 12th Avenue. Sunset fans will love the sweeping views from over here and, anticipating as much, the designers have included several "bleacher" areas on which to perch, snuggle with a loved one, and go ahhhhhh. Also new are the (child-proofed) rail beds with their glued-together gravel, and about half of the wide walkway is given over completely to the HIgh Line as it was before, where the vegetation is allowed to go wild, and you can kind of imagine what it must have been like to sneak up here in the 1980s (for example) with your ne'er-do-well friends. This "untouched", fenced-off area is also where you find a series of sculptures by the great Argentinian artist Adrian Villar Rojas. The exhibition is called The Evolution of God, it will be on display through until next summer, and it consists of about a dozen concrete cubes with various mundane objects fused within.
More Information about the High Line at the Rail Yards
The High Line at the Rail Yards is now open every day from 7:00 a.m. until dusk. Unlike the first two sections of the park, for now the third phase is not lighted, so it will close when it gets dark. Find out more information and news about the historic opening of the High Line at the Rail Yards make sure to check out the website and follow them on Twitter and Facebook.
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