Sunday, March 28, 2010

Municipal Magic

On the advice of a wise friend I went up to the High Line for a walk. It's spring now, so I'll call this my official celebration. If you're not in New York and you aren't omniscient, this is a park built high above the street on a once-abandoned raised railway line. The part that's open now is in Chelsea. I'm sure it's beautiful in summer. But early spring has its charms, with shocks of bright green grass and tiny fresh leaves everywhere. The spareness made it easy to dwell on the details: the art installations, the lounge chairs that actually roll on the rails. And the not-such-a-detail parts, like the gigantic hotel built around a portion of the trail. 

It was quiet up there though, so there was also a strange feeling of having been lifted out of the day for a minute at a perfect vertical angle. A moment of clarity, or the illusion of it, for no work outside of taking the L to Eighth Ave. It does really feel like a floating park, very different from a rooftop garden or cafe. I always feel sort of penned in at places like that, and, while the High Line sometimes has a terrarium feel to it, it's more of a magic flying terrarium or glass bottomed boat. Not so much made to contain you as appointed to afford to you the best advantage in observing the world below. There's even a sort of amphitheater for watching the street through a big pane of glass.

Walking past, you might miss it too. You have to watch for this sign:


I love the name too. It sounds like a brand of cigarettes from the 1920s and reinforces my impression of the place as a couture park. 
My visit coincided with discovering the stupendous musical duo Mr. Gnome. I'd love to see them live but I missed their show when they were here a few days ago. This video of theirs gives me a magical spring feeling, not unlike my visit to the High Line.

Check out the High Line website: www.thehighline.org

2 comments:

Dustin said...

Are these your shots? If so, masterful job.

Bad Idea Potluck said...

Wow. Thanks. That's a real compliment coming from you. But I think my camera deserves all the credit. Now with a wider template I can finally show it off.