Live the High Life in Chelsea

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It’s a gorgeous day. You need to get the little one outside to run around. But the playgrounds are passé, and you want some space where the running won’t involve crossing traffic or getting lost. Where to? The High Line, of course! Built on a mile and a half of elevated rail line, this park is a one-of-a-kind stroller’s paradise, offering beautiful views, a fascinating array of pop-up art, lots of local flora to interact with, and plenty of places to sit while your youngster burns off some energy. Best yet: enjoy a post-stroll treat in the Chelsea Market, wander through the neighborhood’s famous art galleries, or grab a bite at one of the many great restaurants when you’re done.

What to see: Though you may be tempted to get quickly from end to end, make some time to stop and sit awhile. There’s a little open window with theater seating near 17th street, made for watching the traffic on 10th avenue. Like looking down over a river, it’s oddly entrancing. When you do start walking, be sure to look around. Given its location, it’s no surprise that the High Line is packed with great tidbits of pop-up art. For a fun treasure hunt, seek out the Lilliput exhibit: tiny statues hidden at various places along the walk. And keep an ear out for Digital Empathy, an art installation that incorporates sound in interesting places, including an elevator, and a water fountain.

In Chelsea Market, be sure to grab a fruit-juice popsicle from People’s Pops, or have them make a shaved ice, straight from a giant block of ice. If you’re more in the mood for a meal, Hale and Hearty Soups always has good pickings. And if you’ve got a budding bookworm, the children’s section at Posman’s is worth a visit. 

What to bring: Sunscreen or hats are essential for bright days. There’s water fountains at regular intervals, but you may want to bring a bottle just in case, and there’s lots of great lawn-chair style wooden loungers and benches, especially on the south end, which are great for small picnics.

When you arrive: The High Line runs from just below 14th to 30th streets along and parallel to 10th ave. There are elevators at 14th, 16th, 23rd and 30th streets, and the park is also accessible by stairs at Gansevoort Street, and at 18th, 20th, 26th and 28th streets.

Where to eat: If Chelsea Market is too overwhelming, there are a number of restaurants up and down the High Line, from ultra-high end to happily home made. If you’re going high-end, you’ll want to browse and make plans ahead of time but if you’re just looking for something quick on the north end of the park, try Ovest Pizzoteca, at west 27th street. If you’re further south at lunch time, Friedman’s Lunch on 9th ave, between 15th and 16th streets has great food.

Hours: The park is open from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm daily

Admission: none.

Directions are available at the website: 

— Christopher Michel

photos courtesy of Creative Commons