The Highline: Not Your Typical City Park

When people in the City are in search of a brief escape, certain green spaces come to mind: Central Park, Bryant Park, Washington Square Park. The Highline, however, is typically not among them. Maybe it’s because there’s no “park” in its title. Or maybe it’s because it doesn’t actually contain much green space at all. But it certainly offers an escape, and one sure to bring a unique experience in the heart of West Chelsea.

The Highline is a park recently constructed on an old, aboveground railway track, and establishes an atmosphere that showcases the new alongside the old. It has neither expansive lawns nor manicured flowerbeds, but instead offers a taste of nature through unkempt tall grass and sporadic patches of wildflowers. The flora has a very natural appeal, setting it apart from other parks in the city that often have a manufactured, man-made feel. Even more notable are the views The Highline offers of Chelsea’s skyline, modern architecture, and the waterfront – all particularly stunning after dark. Sitting on one of the numerous benches that line the park’s narrow, horizontal layout, one can achieve a sense of calm by taking in the city’s shabbiness and beauty all at once.

Aside from providing a place for relaxation, the section of The Highline between 13th and 14th Streets offers free fitness classes on Tuesday mornings through Shape Up NYC. The same area of the park hosts Stargazing with the Amateur Astronomers Association on Tuesday evenings, where telescopes are set up and experts offer free tours of the sky. For nature lovers, a monthly “bloom list” and bloom forecast can be found on the park’s website and provide a guide to the plant life visible in any given season.

Even if your trip to The Highline is as simple as using it for a convenient shortcut down West Chelsea, it’s a park that shouldn’t be ignored.
-Allie Prater

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