The High Line in New York is a 1.45-mile-long linear park in Manhattan. It is on an elevated section of a railroad spur called the West Side Line. It is a short walk away from Midtown Bus Terminal and you can access it easily from street level.
The Midtown Terminal
The 158 bus, a direct service to Midtown, stops right in front of the Econo Lodge. I took this to town on my second day in New York. It takes 40 minutes and is far more convenient than walking over the New Jersey Turnpike then down a flight of steps to reach a dingy bus stop.
The bus has comfortable seats and A/C, providing amazing views of the Manhattan skyline if you get a seat on the left.
Arriving at Midtown Bus Terminal is quite fascinating too. The terminal is at a busy intersection. It has several levels like a multi-story car park with a central courtyard for the ticket office and shops. Once we crossed the Lincoln Tunnel the bus turned right onto the Port Authority Bus Terminal (PABT) ramp. The ramps are for use by bus only and look like a spaghetti junction. Some of them elevate the bus 4-5 stories above street level before entering the terminal building. Currently more than 80 million passengers use the facility each year! If you are a public transport geek it is definitely worth a visit.
A bit of history: By 1939, growing interstate bus traffic was causing chaos in New York City. Buses would drive to and from eight separate bus terminals scattered throughout Midtown. Congestion was a major problem and the City needed a good answer. In 1949 they broke ground at the site between the Eighth Avenue, 40th Street, Ninth Avenue and 41st Street. The construction required 9,000 tons of structural steel and more than two million bricks – more than the amount for a conventional Manhattan skyscraper. Read the rest of the story here.
The High Line
From PABT it is an easy 20 minute walk to the High Line. You will walk past
some important buildings like the New York Times offices or Madame Tussauds. Join the High Line at the intersection of 11th and W 30th Street if you want to walk the full length.
The line originally opened to trains in the 1930s as part of the West Side Improvement Project. It went through the centre of blocks, rather than over the avenue, carrying goods to and from Manhattan’s largest industrial district. The last train ran on the High Line in 1980, pulling three carloads of frozen turkeys. The line became non-viable because of the decades-long growth in the interstate trucking industry. A group of property owners lobbies for demolition. However, Peter Obletz, a Chelsea resident, activist, and railroad enthusiast, challenged this in court. Thanks to his efforts the line still remains open and is now a beautiful park.
When I visited during the mid-October summer a number of models were taking advantage of the good weather. Their photographers followed them around taking shots in front of various landmarks, such as the meat packing building.
The walk along the tracks is super relaxing and gives you the opportunity to peak into offices and apartments along the way. Both sides of the walk are lined with perennial plants, trees and shrubs regularly attended by the Friends of the High Line. The walk takes about an hour at a relaxing speed or a little longer if you stop to eat and take in the scenery at a more leisurely pace.
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