David Stone
Empire State Building from High Line Park / Click to see on Etsy
Empire State Building from High Line Park / Click to see on Etsy
© Deborah Julian

If you haven't walked the world-renowned High Line, now is your best chance to enjoy it before tourists crowd its lanes in season. Even if you have, you’ll find the park exciting again, fresh spring landscaping bordering the trail from start to finish.

And now, the High Line is easier than ever to get to. The new subway extension for the 7 Train delivers you within a short walk of the north entrance. Roosevelt Islanders take the F to 42nd Street and transfer.

Once you exit from the last stop on the 7 Line, you have a choice of walking back a couple of blocks to 34th Street and 11th Avenue where High Line Park begins across from the Javits Center’s south facing exterior. But you’re probably better off walking down 11th to join the High Line in progress, skipping the no-big-deal entry ramp.

The first thing you’ll notice is the birth of an entirely new vertical neighborhood rising fast and high all around. The Hudson Yards project is permanently and radically changing an area left to waste when freight trains abandoned New York. It’s impressive.

For the average New Yorker, the High Line’s length is not daunting at slightly under one and a half miles, roughly fifteen city blocks.

With plentiful places to sit and people watch or appreciate the natural-seeming landscaping, you still have time to take in new artworks sprinkled throughout the elevated park.

As you stroll between buildings once serviced by the High Line Railroad, you find the old tracks exposed in places, reminding you of history saved by the park. There are places to soak your feet in shallow pools and even sit in bleachers over 10th Avenue where you can watch traffic rush below as freight engineers and firemen once did.

The popularity of High Line Park has sparked development. All along the way, new structures are crowding out the old that held fast until now. 

Views of Midtown crop up between buildings, offering a different perspective on Manhattan, old and new competing for the skyline.

Vendors along the way offer refreshments and full meals under the shadows of transitioning factories, or you can pick any of several exits to take advantage of restaurants you can see below along 10th Avenue.

As you reach the High Line’s southern terminus, you find yourself at the site of the Whitney Museum of American Art’s gleaming new home. Even if you don’t have time to visit the galleries, treat yourself to the spacious lobby and gift shop. Meals, quick bites and snacks are offered throughout the museum.

The High Line stays open until 10:00 p.m. with subtle accent lighting the way. Great views of sunsets and the city as it lights up for the night.

The best way to get back to Roosevelt Island is to follow 14th Street east toward 8th Avenue on foot or by taking an M15 bus. Once there, you can take an A, C or E Train one stop south to West 4th Street and an easy transfer to the F Uptown toward home.