Exploring the extended High Line park on Christmas day

New York

What do you do on Christmas Day in a city full of families celebrating together? We had our hands up to work in a volunteer soup kitchen to help spread some Christmas cheer but it didn’t come off at the last minute and we found ourselves with a day up our sleeve to explore a largely closed Manhattan.

Straight to the High Line! Central Park was another option but we have a week following on the upper east side complete with a dog to further explore Central Park so we made our way to the Meat Packing District for a taste of the high life.

The Whitney Museum of American Art has closed it’s uptown Madison Avenue brutal concrete doors once and for all and the new Rezno Piano designed glass Whitney will open at the southern end of the High Line in May 2015. (read more here) Disappointing for us to miss something so new after a wonderful day spent at the previous Whitney (which included a live performance by NY-based Melbourne musician Jim Thirlwell) but something to look forward to on our return trip someday.

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Our previous visit to the High Line in September 2010 was warm and the park was green with the late summer lushness that preceeds a cold, sunny and spectacular autumnal display. The park ended back then at 20th Street with phase two not far off completion in the steady creep north. Today we visit in the depth of winter, albeit sans the snow we were so wanting for this Christmas. After the torrential rainfall of Christmas Eve we were just happy for the day to be cold, clear and dry with bursts of sunlight and cerulean skies.

Real estate is booming the length of the trail and with some 1 bedroom apartments starting at $2M USD, the Meat Packing District, Chelsea and Hells Kitchen areas of New York can be well and truly stamped ‘gentrified’, well out of reach of the general population the area has previously serviced for decades.

Over five million visitors a year visit the High Line for spectacular views of the city, through design districts, fashion districts, art precincts up to the rail yards of 34th Street. A must-see historical and inexpensive landmark for anyone’s New York itinerary.

Picture by James.