Week One along the High Line, Section Two

Week One along the High Line, Section Two . . .

The opening weekend crowd packs the 20th Street gateway to the new Section Two of the High Line. (photo taken 06 11 2011)

One week ago today the High Line opened its Section Two. The new span stretches beside 10th Avenue between 20th and 30th Streets. This expansion doubles the length of the park and includes some new features such as the 23rd Street Lawn, an elevated grassy area designed for public relaxation.

Two visits have plunged me into humongous crowds that resemble market days at Union Square. The High Line may be twice as long, but it is at least ten times more popular, too. Several articles in The New York Times alone have celebrated the new opening as well as the park’s solid reputation as a crime-free zone. Today’s visitors included a crowd surrounding a cooking celebrity and a model who was posing for a fashion layout. The results of this attention already show on the park. The much vaunted lawn has been closed off due to wear from the opening week’s foot traffic.

I am of the opinion that the outdoors and parks in particular are areas designated for open space, quietude, and contemplation. The added popularity of the park is a good thing, but just now this finite space has become a bit overrun. Once the bandwagon of green celebrities and politicians has moved on, the High Line will certainly settle back into the more manageable and pleasant level of use the park has experienced since its initial opening two years ago. That will be the time for serious urban naturalists to explore this unique blend of sustainable nature within an ever-changing city environment

Unlike media attention, celebrity sightings, or sound bites from politicians, the High Line is here to stay.

Wildflowers in the foreground, the Empire State Building in the background: just one of the unique urban nature views availabe on the elevated greenway of the High Line. (photo taken 06 14 2011)

– rPs 06 14 2011

postscript: Click on the “High Line” link listed under the Blogroll to visit the Friends of the High Line website.

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