At this point, we (and by we, I mean New Yorkers) have all read/heard/ dreamt/talked breathlessly about the High Line, the brand spankin’ new urban park on Manhattan’s west side that occupies a defunct elevated rail line once popular with the urban decay set. Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, a design firm “at the crossroads of architecture, the visual arts and the performing arts” – at least, that’s what the website says – it has been hailed for the way in which it seamlessly fuses the abandoned railway aesthetic with plantings worthy of Garden Design.
But now that the park has been co-opted by the good people of New York, it has struck me that the High Line is less an urban design masterpiece than the world’s longest catwalk: a nine-block fashion runway where the sleek and the manicured arrive to display their studiously-casual boho frocks and ginormous sunglasses. And I, for one, totally dig it. The polished industrial design is so of-the-moment, the views are spectacular and the people-watching, some of the best in New York. Diller Scofidio + Renfro were even thoughtful enough to incorporate a well-designed stoner hang-out — an area I like to refer to as the “Stoner Pit.” (Pairs well with Kahuna).
To accompany the extravaganza of urban professionals, we suggest picking up a well-stuffed lobster roll from Lobster Place inside the Chelsea Market (or the cheaper shrimp tarragon roll) and following it up with the frozen deliciousness at L’Arte del Gelato (they usually have a cart parked at about 15th street on the park). Then sit back and enjoy the spectacle.
Cue the thumping music and the fruity cocktails: This is where the High Line gets totally South Beach. A row of wood chaises longues are draped with la belle élite — in addition to a standard mix of New York freaks and geeks.
The architecture of the uber-chic Standard Hotel frames the views.