The High Line Reopens
Great news, one of our favorite NYC botanical trails – The High Line is reopening on Thursday, July 16th. Here’s everything you need to know about planning your visit as there’s understandably going to be a few restrictions in place.
Book a Free Timed-Entry Pass to The High Line Now:
The High Line will be operating with reduced capacity. As such, you’ll need to book a free timed-entry pass which is available here:
New High Line Opening Hours
Please note the High Line will only be open from noon to 8 pm daily.
Entry to The High Line is only available at Gansevoort Street
In order to maintain social distancing at this time on The High Line you can only walk in one direction (northwards from the entry at Gansevoort Street as far as 23rd Street). The High Line will remain closed past 23rd Street for now. All other entry points will operate as exit only.
Social Distancing Requirements at The High Line
The High Line asks that you please maintain the following social distancing protocols throughout your visit:
- Wear a mask or face covering
- Maintain 6-foot distance between each person not in the same household
- If you are sick, stay home
- Wash your hands frequently
- Cover your coughs and sneezes
- Do not touch your face
For more on the reopening and tips to keep yourself and others safe during your visit:
About The High Line
The High Line in New York City is a majestic botanical oasis and one of the city’s most loved attractions (for locals and tourists alike) attracting over 5 million visitors annually. What better way to while away a few hours than in amongst these expertly curated gardens and floral installations. Here we’ll take you on a stroll through some of our favorite spots and must-see features. We’ll cover:
- A brief history of the High Line and what to expect when you visit
- Essential Info – where is the High Line and how to get there
- What’s going on and regular events
- 14 of our our favorite garden zones you have to see for yourself
Background & History of The High Line
The High Line is a 1.45-mile-long public park and greenway that is elevated above the streets of lower Manhattan’s West Side. The park was constructed on a historic freight rail line that was saved from demolition by city residents. The abandoned rail line was redesigned as a hybrid park and space for art and garden installations, where visitors are able to experience nature, art, and design all at once. The transformation of the abandoned rail line into an urban park and series of garden installations began in 2006 and opened to the public in a series of phases from 2009 through 2019. Since then it has become a world-renowned icon of contemporary landscape architecture.
The High Line took inspiration from a project in Paris: the 3-mile-long Promenade plantée (tree-lined walkway). Its popularity has since inspired many cities throughout the U.S. to transform and repurpose their own pieces of obsolete infrastructure as public parks and green spaces.
The High Line has also been a wonder for development in the Chelsea and Hudson Yards neighborhoods, both of which are increasingly up-and-coming. Since the High LIne has become one of the foremost NYC tourist attractions, real estate development and home values in adjacent neighborhoods have sky-rocketed
The High Line Gardens
According to Piet Oudolf, the original designer of the High Line’s breathtaking gardens, the High Line’s aesthetic is a reflection of the “natural cycles of life and death” and being in the gardens are meant to evoke the same feelings as “being in a wild space.” Oudolf’s primary inspiration for the gardens was nature; his aim in creating the gardens was not to perfectly imitate nature but to “recreate the emotion of being in nature.” The gardens, after all, are not just a natural product of the environment; the designs of the gardens demonstrate an intricate understanding of the ever-evolving landscape- of how the variety of meticulously placed plants would evolve and grow over time. The changes in the gardens’ landscape through each season and throughout the years have been guided by a whole team of knowledgeable gardeners who have been collaborating with original designer Oudolf since the opening of the High Line.
Changing with the Seasons
The gardens evoke different moods and create different experiences throughout the annual cycle of the seasons. Surrounded by the many hundreds of plant species, you will experience an array of colors and patterns; you will find yourself immersed in flower beds, woodlands, and grasslands. You will experience different emotions as you view art installations that match the mood of each garden space. Wandering through the series of gardens and installations, you will hopefully experience the same powerful emotions of freedom and wonder that you would while walking through a scenic natural landscape.
The High Line Essential Info
- The High Line is built on what was once known as the West Side Line, historically part of Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. The park originates on its south side at Gansevoort Street (a few blocks south of 14th Street) and runs throughout the Chelsea neighborhood to 34th Street at the northern edge of the West Side Yard (adjacent to the Javits Center).
Getting to the Gansevoort Street Entrance:
- The High Line is located west of all subway lines. The best option is to take the A,C,E trains (which run along 8th Ave) to 14th St, or to take the L train to the 8th Ave station at 14th St.
- You can also take the 1,2,3 trains (which run along 7th Ave) to 14th St.
Once You’re There:
- Download the High Line app for a digital guide that contains all the information you will need to explore the gardens and learn about the history, design, and artwork of the High Line. It also contains information regarding food vendors, bathroom locations, access points, etc
- The High Line has a continuously rotating series of seasonal events. Check out the calendar of events here: https://www.thehighline.org/events/.
The High Line Garden Zones
The High Line has over a dozen different garden zones. Each has its own unique theme and landscape of plants on display. Here are some of the garden zones that you don’t want to miss:
Donald Pels and Wendy Keys Gansevoort Woodland
Location: Gansevoort Street
At the southernmost point of the High Line you’ll find the mystical Gansevoort Woodland. This is also a nice shaded area that is comprised primarily of Allegheny serviceberry trees and Whitespire grey birch trees. You can view the artistically designed tiered effect that is created by a series of steel planters. During warmer months, Japanese hydrangea vines and Amethyst Falls American wisteria hang over the Woodland’s railings. You’ll also spot unique finds such as the Minutissimum dwarf lady fern and Autumn moorgrass.
Washington Grasslands & Woodland Edge
Location: 13th Street
The Washington Grasslands boast a striking, bold scenery. This stands in sharp contrast with adjacent Gansevoort Woodland and its trees and shrubbery. Here you’ll find prairie grasses and thimbleweed, and native chokeberry. There’s also bright and colorful perennials like the bright magenta firetail mountain fleece. Be sure to also look out for the Sinonome toad lily. A brightly colored purple and white orchid-like flower (particularly in autumn) and the Fringetree (with fragrant flowers in spring and stunning foliage in autumn).
Diller – von Furstenberg Sundeck & Water Feature
Location: Between 14th and 15th Streets
The Diller – von Furstenberg Sundeck is one of the High Line’s most popular gathering spots during warmer months. Here you’ll find an enticing water feature that is a crowd-pleasing favorite (particularly for children).
There are also many wetland species such as cattails and swamp milkweed growing in the steel planters that are lined along the pathway. You’ll also find iconic plants of the High Line such as Dewey Blue bitter panic grass, smooth sumac, giant horsetail (resembling bamboo), and rose mallow (with showy pink blooms).
Hudson River Outlook
Location: Between 14th and 15th Streets
The Hudson River Overlook is the High Line’s most prominent spot for water viewing, where you’re able to look out over the scenic waterway or get a view of sunset. The Outlook runs from 14th Street to the Chelsea Market Passage, and is located below the Diller–von Furstenberg Sundeck. Its planting beds feature native plants such as the violet wood sorrel and sumac trees that create a striking silhouette against the backdrop of the Hudson River.
Look out for Cutleaf staghorn sumac, Raydon’s Favorite aromatic aster (with fragrant, cloudlike masses of purple blooms), Prairie sundrops (with bright red and yellow petals), Star of Persia (intricate flowers, particularly in spring), and Ohio goldenrod.
Northern Spur Preserve
Location: 16th Street
The Northern Spur Preserve features elements that are reminiscent of the wild landscape that would have grown along the High Line before it was transformed into the park it is today. Here you’ll find crab apples and sedges, along with Bowman’s root, Blue stem goldenrod, Lady in Black calico asters, Glory-of-the-snow, and Northern sea oats.
10th Avenue Square
Location: 17th Street
Once you’ve passed the Chelsea Market Passage, you’ll find a scenic grove of maple trees through which you’ll have an amazing view of both Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. The planting beds of this garden space feature a mix of moor grasses, foam flower, and false indigo.
You’ll also be able to spot unique finds such as Shooting star, Virginia rose, low-growing aromatic sumac, Mexican feather grass, and Alice oakleaf hydrangea (particularly beautiful to see for their bright colors in autumn).
Between 18th and 19th Streets
The Chelsea Grasslands feature a stunning matrix of prairie grasses and perennials. The bright and showy perennials are scattered throughout the more mundane grasses. You’ll also spot coneflowers, salvias, black-eyed Susans, Rattlesnake master, Culver’s root, Shenandoah red switch grass, copper iris, and wild bergamot. The bright flowers amidst the green grasses evolve throughout the seasons, in summer forming a tapestry of color and in fall featuring an array of broze, red, and gold.
Location: Between 21st and 22nd Streets
The Chelsea Thicket features a winding pathway lined with dogwoods, hollies, roses, sassafras, and a large variety of other shrubs and trees. You’ll be able to spot unique finds like the Eva black elderberry, Frosted Violet coralbells, Corsican hellebore, and Emerald Sentinel eastern red cedar.
Also be sure to look out for the original railroad tracks of the High Line that are embedded within the walkway.
Meadow Walk (no access currently)
Location: Between 23rd and 25th Streets
The Meadow Walk is one of the most visually stunning portions of the High Line, where you’ll pass through the art galleries, warehouses, and other architecturally stunning landmarks of the Chelsea neighborhood.
The Meadow Walk features a wondrous array of seasonal blooms such as Korean feather reed grass (with stunning pink flowers in late summer), Wildfire black gum, Blackberry lily, Russian sage (featuring soft purple flowers from summer to late fall), and Parker’s Variety fern-leaf yarrow (which blooms from June to November).
Philip A. and Lisa Maria Falcone Flyover (no access currently)
Location: Between 25th and 27th Streets
The Falcone Flyover takes visitors on a ramp that rises several feet above the original High Line structure, through a canopy of trees such as magnolias, sassafras, and serviceberry. The shady canopy also provides shelter for delicate ferns and woodland plants to flourish.
Here you can find the Common snowdrop (majestic white blooms you should especially look out for in winter months), Bigleaf magnolia (featuring massive 4-5 ft. leaves), Jack Frost Siberian bugloss (with bright blue flowers), and White trillium (featuring large white blooms in the spring).
Wildflower Field & Radial Planting (no access currently)
Location: Between 28th and 30th Streets
This garden space features a variety of grasses such as thread-leaf bluestar intermixed with wildflowers like aster, magnus coneflower, and prairie dropseed. The perennials and grasses of the radial plantings are adorned by a grove of juniper and gray birch trees. Also be on the lookout for unique finds like leadplant and showy goldenrod.
Spur (no access currently)
Location: 30th Street & 10th Ave
This is the newest section of the High Line- inspired by the Northeastern Woodlands- where you’ll find an abundance of grasses and perennials, along with an aesthetic mixture of wisteria vines adorning the Coach Passage.
Other rare finds here? The hart’s tongue fern (a protected North American variety), the yellow lady’s slipper (a North American bog orchid), sweetgum (a star-shaped bright green leaf), and the strawberry bush (bursting with bright red seeds when ripe).
Eastern Rail Yards, Crossroads, & Pershing Square Beams (no access currently)
Location: 30th Street
The Crossroads is the widest part of the entire High Line, featuring planting beds with a wide variety of colors and textures. You’ll be able to walk to the elevated 11th Avenue Bridge adorned on both sides by colorful gardens featuring blooms such as the beloved coneflower and fragrant perennials.
You’ll also be able to spot Munstead English lavender, Chocolate white snakeroot, Rosenkuppel oregano, Foxtrot fountaingrass, and Major Wheeler coral honeysuckle.
34th Street Entry Plaza & CSX Transportation Gate (no access currently)
Location: 34th Street
This northernmost point of the park is where the gardens of the High Line converge with the city’s street. You’ll find iconic native plants such as the Gold Russet apple tree, along with other iconic blooms of the High Line such as Butterfly milkweed (with bright orange flowers), Foxglove beardtongue, Lace grass, and American witchhazel.
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