Oct 27, 2010

Walking The High Line: The Alchemy of New York, Part One

Twenty-four hours in New York without the children

Bathed in golden light, the High Line on a fall afternoon sings of endings and rebirth. It's an abandoned train line that has not operated since 1980, part of which has been turned into a park, and the rest will be redeemed from the weeds some day. To walk a couple stories above street level, on train tracks, amongst mounding grasses and masses of asters, is a revelation. You look around to see Chelsea's understory. A giant yellow billboard looms over the path. A decrepit factory invites you not to look in. The parking lot of a wholesale butcher shop, full of gleaming white trucks, lies below.

You're just above the hustle but way below the sky. The buildings and billboards are startlingly close but inaccessible, like strangers wearing sunglasses on the subway. You gaze at the factory's broken windows without knowing why. You admire the sheer size and brashness of the yellow billboard. As you watch, a bride steps out from behind it. The entire bridal party appears; they are having their picture taken.

Everyone walking the High Line looks beautiful: the giggling toddler trying to run away, the elderly woman in a wheelchair being escorted by her son, the film student with his parents, the young African couple taking iPhone pictures. This is their moment, New York's moment, our moment, in the golden sun.

You take a picture of your husband next to the asters, the Hudson River in the background. The picture is a tiny rectangle of versimilitude, a vain attempt to capture the light on his face, the silver in his hair.

You link hands as the shadows fall. It's time for dinner.


Anjali said...


Crockhead said...

Nice description. I can't wait for Part Two.

elsewhere said...

beautiful post. like how it ends with a mention of food.