Wednesday, November 11, 2009

To the Big Island

Last weekend, I ventured beyond the city limits of Annapolis on the Greyhound bus to New York City for a long-overdue college roommate reunion. I got a glimpse of NYC life, from the fast pace and constant stream of people everywhere to the lovely apartments that I invaded with my overstuffed luggage. I entrusted my friends to arrange the itinerary, and went along for the ride.

One of the weekend's highlights was a trip to Manhattan's West Side Saturday afternoon.  A level above the streets of the Meatpacking District, lays a long line of railroad track which dates back to the 1930s: the High Line. Originally built to transport goods into and out of the city's industrial neighborhoods without disrupting traffic, it has been abandoned since 1980, left for the weeds to grow between its wooden slats. As it turns out, those weeds were the basis of a vision that started the non-profit Friends of the High Line's project a few years ago to reinvent this unused space.

Today, the High Line has been transformed into a public park, 30 feet above the city's bustling sidewalks.  A winding path flanked by slatted stone benches divides the beds of vegetation- tall grasses, black-eyed susans, wildflowers- growing amid the old tracks.  The park starts on Gansevoort Street and goes to 20th Street, but is due to open through to 30th street next year.  Walking through the park on a weekend afternoon was crowded, but we could still appreciate the creative design of such a unique space. 

After our stroll along the tracks, we explored Chelsea Market, nestled beneath the High Line at 15th and 16th streets.  We entered a tunnel of small food shops and restaurants lining a cavernous hallway, full of lots of delicious fare from bakeries, chocolates, meat stands.  We explored every option before making our selections (these choices are very important), and sat down with cannolis and coffees.  The afternoon faced into evening as we people watched and caught up on the last year we'd been apart.  I have to say the catching up was far better than all the Italian pastries in the world.  Thank you for a wonderful weekend!

A few things I learned on my trip:
-the tiny mice scampering through London's tube are nothing compared to the rats of NYC's subway
-there may be plenty of cabs in NYC, but they're all full exactly when you need them
-the definition of hipster, if there is such a thing, in action
-expect angry looks and words when navigating your way through rush-hour foot traffic towing a rolling suitcase behind you


  1. i'm so jealous of your recent trip to the city! I want to go so bad. let's move there together in January :) It'd be SO MUCH FUN. AH! Also, I can't believe you didn't faint when spotting an NYC subway rat. I would have.

  2. haha yea mice are ok, but rats are a little much for me. i would love to move up there if i could just find a job...