Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New York State of Mind -- Scenes from the High Line

New York at its cheekiest

Thirty years ago I traveled to New York City for an academic conference as a graduate student.  I think I paid  $50 for the airfare (it was the beginning of discount prices when they were discounts).  We had to drive eight hours to get to the airport that had this cheap rate.  Our small troupe of graduate students flew into Newark, hopped a train across the state line, trudged through the darkened streets of Sheepshead Bay to the tiny rent-controlled apartment of a friend where we all crashed for the night.

The next day we boarded a subway car with instructions not to make eye-contact with anyone (we were all friendly, innocent Midwesterners), then when we alighted somewhere near Central Park we obeyed further instructions to walk with purpose until we reached our hotel and don’t stop in the middle of the sidewalk to check a map.

For that trip I had no money.  I lived off of the free food at conference breakfast buffets and book publishers’ evening receptions, with a slice or two of New York pizza purchased for lunch.  Four of us grad students piled into a small, overpriced hotel room and endured the tone of disdain from a front desk who knew we didn’t belong in the Big Apple.  I saw nothing of the city but a corner of Central Park.  I wasn’t overly impressed with the place and left with no strong desire to return.

But now I’m back as a tagalong on one of my husband’s research trips.  I’ve traveled a lot more.  I have the money to eat pizza and then some.  I have time to explore.  But the hotel room is still tiny.  With this unseasonably mild winter weather most of the country is having, we had the opportunity to spend our first afternoon in the city strolling along The High Line, a remarkable park created on an abandoned stretch of an elevated train track.  It opened in 2009.  I can’t wait to return when the whole thing is in bloom, but it still offers a wealth of sights even on the grayest winter day.

Here is a bit of what I saw as I strolled the meandering path above the streets of New York.  Click here to see tons of photos more creative than mine posted by other users of the park in other seasons.

Brad and his colleague, Azita, miss the High Line scene as they are lost in mathematical discussion

Whimsical graffiti everywhere you turn
No, not a friendly native.  A cutout that many apartment dwellers next to the Line post in their windows
Nature loves the High Line
Somewhere in Chelsea
Lady Liberty
What is your favorite unexpected place to visit you've found at home or when traveling, and what did you like about it?  Tell us about it and provide a link (if possible) in the comments box.
Here's another story to read about one of my favorite street scenes in Dijon, France, where children are a local treasure.


Nancy said...

Beautiful photos & remembrances, Julie!

No matter how long I've lived in Seattle, Mt. Rainier still takes my breath away when I catch sight of it unexpectedly as I wander through the neighborhoods. I had just relocated to the West Coast as a graduate student at the University of Washington when I saw it for the first time. Coming from a small town in Upstate NY, I was immediately captivated. It was unlike any natural wonder I had ever seen. I vowed that day that I would never take its beauty for granted, and I haven't.

Julie Farrar said...

Nancy, I remember the first time I flew into Seattle. I was from the Midwest, corn country. What did we know of mountains? As the plane circled to land I look out the window and saw Mt. Rainier. AT EYE LEVEL ABOVE THE CLOUDS. I almost started to hyperventilate at the sight of it. It was so close and so scary. I thought for sure we would crash into it. It boggles my mind to imagine the mountains out there higher than this.

Anonymous said...

I was there 30 years (gulp) ago too and told "hide your jewelry and just keep walking!" I loved it though and always thought I'd be back. It's taking a lot longer to get there than I ever would have imagined. Thanks for sharing your photos!

Unknown said...

These pics show how different my world in the west is to NYC. I loved the pics. Thanks for this post. Your SheWrites Blogger friend.

monicastangledweb said...

I'm very partial to New York since I grew up there. And when I go, I enjoy Chelsea Market, the museums, Central Park and seeing a Broadway show. Can't wait because I'm going there this summer. :)

Cristina Dimen said...

So happy you enjoyed your trip to my neck of the woods, Julie. Looks like you had fun walking along and catching some city scenes atop the High Line. It's one of our favorite places in the Big Apple. What a relief that funding was raised to renovate it to this beautiful green space. There are plans to extend it. So hopefully the next time you're in town, it'll be done. And my family gets a kick out of seeing that man looking out the window. LOL. Did you stop by Chelsea Market on this trip? Great pictures.

Julie Farrar said...

We didn't get to the Chelsea Market, Cristina, but near the bottom of the High Line stairs we found the fabulous French restaurant Pastis and went there twice.

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