Yesterday we explored two different free parks in NYC. The High Line and the new temporary indoor park/garden, The Lowline Lab.
High Line Park
The High Line is an old above ground railway which was converted into an 1.5 mile outdoor urban park. It runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District, through Chelsea, to the northern edge of the West Side Yard on 34th Street. I’ve visited this park a few times before, but it’s been a couple years. I loved the idea when they did the conversion in 2006, but until yesterday I had the sentiment it was overrated and too congested with slow walkers….I’ve changed my perspective though. This truly is a ‘walk through Manhattan’. It IS overpopulated with both locals and tourists snapping photos every step, but there’s a reason for that. It’s special.
The trail winds through a stretch of Manhattan, and allows you to take in a new perspective, you’re not only among the buildings at this height, but surrounded by really interesting plantings which range from grasses to flowers. The design of the path is as interesting as the views, in one area we played with lounge chairs attached to railroad track which you could roll around. In another area we climbed down wooden bleachers and perched over a glass window that hovers above the traffic on 10th avenue.
The High Line Park also has cultural attractions. There are fascinating installations in different areas of the path, which change so there is a good chance it will feel fresh with each visit. You can see Spencer Finch’s installation, The River That Flows Both Ways, which is uses the windows of the former Nabisco Factory loading dock. It’s another picture worthy opportunity to snap a cool shot with 700 purple and grey colored glass panes. We opted to take a family selfie in front of this:
There aren’t many vendors along the path, which is nice. But we did meet Iddi Amadu, who had a small table with his oil paintings. And we bought one, couldn’t resist. Looks just like my pug, Bertha.
It was a cold morning, so after a good dose of fresh air and taking in quite a bit of wind we piled back in our car and drove to the Lower East Side to check out the much talked about indoor Lowline Lab.
We were really excited to check out this new indoor park, based on photos we’ve seen in the press it looked like something we’d love. Lowline Lab is actually only a prototype for NYC’s first underground park. It’s not really underground right now, it’s housed in an old warehouse – formerly a market where I used to buy my groceries. The idea is to create a green space deep below NYC’s streets, using a pretty complicated process which involves projecting the sun’s rays underground.
When you enter the ‘lab’ or indoor park, you walk into a museum type installation which outlines how the sun’s rays are captured through equipment on the roof, transferring it into the warehouse..details, details and more details. Then you walk around a huge black curtain into the park, the part our 4 year old was most excited to see. It was cool, it was super cool. But the green space was way smaller than I had expected. In about 5 minutes Brooklyn was ready to leave and find a playground. And I was just beginning to understand the remarkableness of the process and wanting to learn more. Well, she won. We left soon after arriving and hit a playground so she could do what she does best, run and climb. While the indoor park is impressive in science and quite beautiful, it’s small and not the space to run and climb. This is a cool project, probably best enjoyed on a date. Definitely not a play date. So if you’re looking for somewhere to schlepp some active kids, this is probably not worth the haul.
Today was really interesting for me. I’ve lived in NYC for 18 years now, and it’s really amazing to see how the city grows and changes. Like me. Today I revisited areas I used to enjoy for wine and shopping. But now I mostly hunt for good spaces to run and climb, take in cool views, and learn. I love that I’ve had the chance to experience NYC as a single woman in my 20’s, a hustling professional in my 30’s and now a stay at home mom in my 40’s. It’s not getting boring any time soon.
The HIgh Line Hours
Dec 1 to Mar 31: 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM; Apr 1 to May 31: 7:00 AM – 10:00 PM; June 1 to Sept 30: 7:00 AM – 11:00 PM; Oct 1 to Nov 30: 7:00 AM – 10:00 PM
The High Line is fully wheelchair accessible.Entry on Gansevoort and Washington Street (elevator access), And all along 10th avenue: 14th Street (elevator access), 16th Street (elevator access), 18th Street, 20th Street, 23rd Street (elevator access), 26th Street, 28th Street, 30th Street (elevator access), 30th Street and 11th Avenue, 34th Street and 12th Avenue (ramp access)
Lowline Lab Location:
140 Essex Street
(between Rivington and Stanton Streets)
Lower East Side – New York City
Subway: J/M/F Essex Delancey Street
Saturday and Sunday
10am – 4pm
Free and Open to the Public
October 2015- March 2016