Thanks to Jay Z and Alicia Keys one of the first things that springs to mind when someone mentions New York is the image of a 'concrete jungle', which I must say is a pretty accurate description. It is hard not to be impressed by the towering facades and long blocks which are speckled with glimpses of New York's famous silhouettes such as the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building and the Flat Iron Building, and if you're lucky you might even seen the sun and the sky through them. As impressive as being on ground level is, the hubbub and neon lights of the Big Apple can at times become overwhelming. True, Central Park serves as an oasis in the middle of the city's commotion with its 843 acres boasting lakes and baseball fields. Before you know it however, you're stepping off the lush grass, which has just acted as a pillow for your feet in contrast to the ongoing concrete sidewalks, back into the city streets. So, back to the 'concrete jungle' theme, what if you could escape the ground level and return to your inner primate nature traversing above and through the jungle of skyscrapers.
Luckily for New Yorkers this is a reality due to the High Line. The elevated High Line 'park' which first opened to the public in 2009 was transformed from old freight railway lines on Manhattan's West Side and twists through the city streets adjacent to New Yorks famed buildings. From this perspective the bustle of the city below really stands out with the constant flow of vehicle and pedestrian traffic. Luckily from this level no one need walk with their elbows out vying for an inch of spare space with the person next to them and so is an efficient way to get through the city, especially if you envisioned a leisurely, romantic stroll. From up here you might think you'll be missing out on all the crazy happenings you're bound to continuously spot whilst walking through the city, but that's just not the case. The High Line provides the perfect viewpoint (judging from afar) for such behaviour. As well as offering amazing views of the city, the High Line also incorporates commissioned art works known as the High Line Art which include sculpture, video programs, billboards and so on and adds creativity to the surrounding urban landscape.
Marianne Vitale's Archeo: Common Crossings commissioned by the High Line.
What I found most appealing about the High Line however was being able to see so many pieces of art dotted around building facades only properly viewable from the height of the High Line. It is pretty much a street art walk along New York City's park in the sky.
Eduardo Kobra's mural of Alfred Eisenstaedt's V-J Day in Times Square.
Kobra brings this famed image to life on 25th Street and 10th Avenue in the popular Chelsea area. Eisenstadt's renowned image is brought from the 40's to modern day by Kobra's vivacious technicolour kaleidoscope-like mural. Below the two figures are an amalgamation of 1940's New Yorkers, with trench coats and fedoras, and vehicles which once lined the streets. Kobra's mission is to create 'Walls of Memory' or 'Muros da memoria', keeping New York's past in the publics present memory by reproducing old famed images in his unique style. The fact the bottom part of this mural is placed next to NYC's Auto Design, a place where personalised vehicles are produced, further reflects and exemplifies Kobra's juxtaposition between the old and the new.
Jordan Betten's Lost Art project, Lady Luck.
Located on 27th and 28th Street this mural depicts a lady, presumably a lucky one from the title, sprawled across a blue background. Despite the two-dimensional appearance, the woman does not appear static due to the fluidity of her position, her hair and Betten's vibrant red strokes. This could perhaps reflect the idea that New York City is ever-moving and ever-changing, even when one wants to remain static, the city's pulse inevitably wins.
Young Veezy, artist unknown. Chelsea.
This mural shows a portrait of a solemn looking man, perhaps lost in thought or a portrayal of resentment. The black and grey tones and the fact the image is alone portrays solitude showing that even in a bustling city like New York, one can still feel lonely and isolated.
Urban Rattle by Charlie Hewitt.
Located on 10th Avenue and 23rd Street this sculpture is an eclectic mix of shapes, materials and textures, and colours.
With so much to see from the High Line, whether it's observing the city below, looking out into the horizon or taking time to see all the other art works viewable from the High Line, you could really make a day of it.