I fell in love with New York’s High Line, but it also broke my heart.
You see, one of the things I enjoy so much about travel is finding connections between places, and realising that you can be reminded of what you have at home by the unexpected sights you see in far flung cities.
In the case of the High Line, I was reminded of what my own hometown of Liverpool lost; the first elevated electric railway in the world.
I never knew the Liverpool Overhead Railway – it closed in 1956 and was demolished the following year, but the legacy lives on now in the new Museum of Liverpool, where a gallery is dedicated to its history and you can climb aboard an original carriage, elevated to the height of the old tracks.
The museum was where I learned about Liverpool’s own High Line and how my city was a trailblazer back in the day. I feel fortunate to call it home.
But although Liverpool is now a city reinvented and we’ve always had vision, the post war 1950’s were not the time for investment. People fought to keep their overhead railway open, but lack of real-world funding was then, what it still so often is now; the factor that limits a dream.
Of course, New York’s High Line and the Liverpool Overhead Railway existed in slightly different times, with the Liverpool line opening in 1893 and the New York railway commencing service in 1934, but I wonder if we hadn’t demolished ours so soon, whether one day it might have been saved and redeveloped.
Maybe we could have had our own park in the sky joining both New York and Paris with its Promenade Plantée
Walking New York’s High Line was a fascinating way to explore one of the world’s busiest cities. It’s amazing how differently you see things when your viewpoint is taken to a whole new level.
The park has been perfectly designed to showcase New York and is one of the best free things to see on your trip.
You can look out at the lively streets as though you’re watching a film, or you can cosy up with a good book; just the distant hum of traffic for company and the bright lights of the big city to illuminate your pages. It’s a pretty special place.
We didn’t walk the entire High Line, because as time was moving us towards the night, our noses were getting cold and our bellies were beginning to rumble. But what we saw, we definitely loved.
So I thank the Friends of the High Line for their vision; for seeing how a derelict past can become an innovative future. You made me smile and moved me almost to tears up there, looking both down and up at New York City. I’m completely sure I’m not the only one.
Have you visited the New York High Line? Would you like to?