Saturday on the High Line -- 09/19/11

So, on Saturday... Nancy and Jeremy and I went into New York for the day...
IBM is sponsoring a special exhibit at Lincoln Center -- video on 42 big flat panel monitors -- all about making a Smarter Planet -- then the monitors all turn into touch-control computer screens letting you explore the topic.

Nancy took the above photograph of the rest of us... the hallway leaving the exhibit had a wall listing various major achievements and inventions from IBM over the past 100 years.
(Jeremy, me, Adam, Sam, Milo, Leah.)

One of the things I learned -- watching Sam and Milo control the touch-screens with absolute intuitive ease -- is that for today's children interacting with the latest high tech gadgetry is like turning on a light switch was for us when we were kids.

[A moment for grandfatherly bragging -- Sam was rotating an image of the globe with his hands and as each continent came into view, he would tell me "Now that's North America" and "And that's Asia" -- and Milo was so slick and at easy as he controlled the action on a screen that towered above him, but of course these were the same movements his fingers would make on Adam & Leah's iPod or their iPhones. Okay, end grandfatherly bragging moment.]

Sam & Milo & Jeremy by the fountains at Lincoln Center
Milo & Jeremy (Jeremy had been really looking forward to spending time as Uncle Jeremy
They were having a good time together.
Of course Grandpa had to get in the game as well...
And then -- after walking for miles and miles (okay, not quite that far, but from around 65th Street down to 30th Street is a pretty good walk). We were headed for High Line Park -- The High Line -- which is one of those totally marvelous things about New York City. (The photo above -- taken from the High Line -- shows a roller skating park that has filled a vacant lot at the intersection of W30th and 10th Avenue. Underneath the section of High Line on the right of the picture are several food vendor wagons and trucks and a lot of picnic tables for their customers.)

From about the Civil War era into the early 20th century, this had been a heavily industrial area of Manhattan, an area served by railroads that ran at street level, across streets and along streets, with an astounding number of accidents and a very high death rate from those accidents. In 1929, that was ended by having an elevated railroad built to replace the street level train traffic -- at a cost of 150 million dollars (about two billion in today's dollars). The elevated railroad did not travel along the streets, putting them into daytime twilight; it ran through the middle of blocks, just crossing streets, with siding tracks that entered factories and warehouses more than thirty feet above ground. This was a great success in its day, but by the 1960s competition from the trucking industry and New York City factories relocating to less expensive places had caused the rail freight business on this line to decline. The last train on the High Line ran in 1980. In the 1990s there were proposals to tear down this abandoned elevated railroad -- but then in 1999 Friends of the High Line was founded -- and they proposed saving and restoring it for use as public space. After several years of effort (and construction and repair, etc.) section 1 (from Gansevoort Street to West 20th Street was opened -- and this June section 2, from West 20th Street to West 30th Street was opened. (There is yet another section, still in the design and negotiations stage, that it is hoped will be opened to the public in a few more years.)

Much of the High Line has plants growing on one side or the other -- or both.

Here Leah and Sam are near a very strange looking building. That is not an optical illusion or a camera trick -- the building was designed with those wiggles and curves in it. I must admit that, although I generally find 19th century architecture to be more visually appealing than 21st century abstractions, that building does amuse me..
Where possible along the High Line, they have preserved some of the original railroad tracks as a reminder of its origins... and that even though you are three floors up, you are following train tracks..

Down around West 23rd Street there is a wide area -- complete with an ice cream sandwich vendor, whose wares are being enjoyed by our intrepid travelers...

Sam and Milo and Leah -- and that is Jeremy stretched out on the grass behind them. (Jeremy had been out very late Friday night.)

And this is a view from the High Line looking down on West 23rd Street toward the intersection with 10th Avenue. And this is where Nancy and Jeremy and I said goodbye and went down the stairs to the street below to flag down a taxi on 10th Ave. to get to Grand Central Station and start our journey back home.

And on Sunday I made it through the CVS Downtown 5K faster than I had run the NK5K the previous weekend and also faster than I had run the CVS 5K last year. (Note that was a comparison -- I said I was faster than last time -- I'm not saying I was actually fast.)

previous entry

next entry

To list of entries for 2011

To Home (Index) page

If you ended up here while searching for Scott Dikker's Jim's Journal comic strip, you need to go here.