Back in September, the northern section of the High Line opened to the public. While not fully completed, you can still walk around the rail yard and take in the view. This northern section is markedly different from the lower part of the High Line. Below 30th street or so, the High Line seems very much a vegetal oasis within the ever crowded expanse of buildings surrounding it. In some spots it feels as though you are walking through a human-sized container garden with the walls of the surrounding buildings buttressing the fragile plant life from the world at large.
In contrast, the northern section loses the pretense of protection. It is an expansive plane, where the vegetation loses itself to the larger world.
Here, the glint of the Hudson River competes for attention ultimately losing to the glimmer of parallel resting trains.
South of the rail yards on 26th street, visitors become part of the cityscape when silhouetted by a billboard frame. It’s an intimate and irreverent reminder of our role in the city.
On the northern end as visitors soak up the landscape, we become part of the cityscape once more.
The intimacy, however, is replaced by the uncomfortable balance between individuality and uniformity. To observe is to stand alone in isolation, while being observed we lose ourselves amongst the masses. At the northern end of the High Line, you can revel in both.