I <3 NY: The High Line

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The High Line

I strongly feel that people tend to lean toward one living environment over the other.   There are those that want to feel the energy of the city and those that yearn for the smell of the ocean.  People that love the comfort of the suburbs and those that crave the beauty of the mountains.  As a collective whole we may not always have the privilege of laying roots in our dream location, but most of us find a compromise that works.  After high school I couldn’t get out fast enough, I could not imagine myself working or living in New York, no matter how much I loved it.

Today cities are changing their tune — locals, architects, engineers, they are all beginning to realize the importance of incorporating nature into a city layout, in turn combining features that have for so long divided the city lovers from those that crave a sense of nature.  The High Line project in downtown Manhattan has brought a sense of peace, relaxation, and outdoors to neighborhoods like the Meatpacking District, West Chelsea, Clinton, Hell’s Kitchen, and the West Side Rail Yards.

What is The High Line?

In 1847 the city of New York authorized a street level railroad system on the Lower West Side to help with all the local imports and exports. From 1851 – 1929 an enormous number of accidents occurred in the area, so much so that 10th Avenue became know as “Death Avenue”.  The city decided they must step in, they put the West Side Improvement Project underway.  The project was to build the railroad on a 3 story high platform, called the High Line, eliminating 105 street-level railroad crossings.  The project cost over $150 million in 1930 dollars, that’s more than $2 billion today.  The project was finished in 1934 and trains efficient and effectively moved goods in and out of the city for more than 20 years.  After twenty years the use of the Interstate Highways became more efficient and the High Line became nearly useless.

Over the next several decades there were acts to demolish the still existing high-line platform as well as acts to save it.  In 2002, The Design Trust for Public Space, contracts architect Casey Jones to conduct research and outreach for a planning study that will layout the framework for the High Lines’s preservation and reuse.  The City soon hops on board and a competition for design ideas are held.  Nearly 720 teams from 36 different countries submit their proposals and are displayed in Grand Central Station.  Shortly after in 2003, Mayor Bloomberg offers city funding for the project and a design team is selected.  James Corner Field Operations, a landscape architecture firm, Dillar Scofidio + Renfrom, and architecture firm that specializes in horticulture, engineering, security, maintenance, and public art.  Building began in 2006 and Section 1 opened to the public on June 9th, 2009 and Section 2 on June 8th, 2011.

Watch this amazing video rendering below!

High Line Highlights

High Line Highlights

High Line Food

  • L’Arte Del Gelato:   Artisanal gelato and sorbetto made of fresh ingredients.
    • Where: Chelsea Market Passage, on the High Line near West 16th Street
    • When:  Daily: 11:00 AM – 10:00 AM
  • Blue Bottle:  Espresso bar, Drip coffees prepared to order, iced coffees, and house-made baked goods.
    • Where: Chelsea Market Passage, on the High Line near West 16th Street
    • When:  Monday – Friday, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM; Saturday – Sunday, 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Melt Bakery:  Ice cream, offering unique and delicious flavor combinations mashed between two cookies.
    • Where: Gansevoort Plaza, below the High Line at Gansevoort and Washington Streets
    • When:  Friday: 1:00 PM – 10:00 PM; Saturday – Sunday: 12:00 Noon – 10:00 PM
  • La NewYorkina:  Ice pops in flavors that range from mango-chili to hibiscus to fresh coconut.
    • Where: The Lawn, on the High Line near West 23rd Street
    • When:  Daily: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • People’s Pops:  Greenmarket fruit-based ice pops and shaved ice.
    • Where: Chelsea Market Passage, on the High Line near West 16th Street
    • When:  Daily: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • The Porch:  40-seat, open-air cafe with sweeping views of the Hudson River. Ingredients all coming from local family farms exercising humane and environmentally friendly practices, offers fresh, seasonal, and delicious fare, including the bruschettas and sandwiches, fruit, and wine and beer from New York State.
    • Where: On the High Line at West 15th Street
    • When:  Daily: 12:00 Noon – 9:00 PM

The park is built directly adjacent to city buildings

The picture framed High Line from the street below

High Line Park Information

The High Line is located on Manhattan’s West Side. It runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th & 11th Avenues. Section 1 of the High Line, which opened to the public on June 9, 2009, runs from Gansevoort Street to West 20th Street. Section 2, between West 20th and West 30th Streets, opened June 8, 2011.

Hours

The High Line is open from 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM daily. Last entrance to the park is at 10:45 PM.

Map

I <3 NY: A Tour Designed Just For The Likes of Foodies

Chelsea Market Map Diorama

Meatpacking District

Foods of New York: Chelsea Market & Meatpacking District

Savory originals, Italian delicacies, and destination restaurants are all included on a sightseeing tour of a different kind.  A tour that not only dives into the history of the Chelsea and the Meatpacking neighborhoods of Manhattan, but the foods and flavors that help to define and embody the local culture.

Today’s Chelsea Market lives in the once factory of the National Biscuit Company (Nabisco), which in the 1890’s was in mass production of Saltine Crackers and Oreo Cookies.  For over 60 year’s the National Biscuit Company, went on manfacturing some of the countries favorite packaged baked goods –Vanilla Wafers, Fig Newtons, Barnum’s Animal Crackers, and the Mallomar.

In 1959 the factory closed the doors of its Manhattan factory and for the next 30 years  – 22 structures, making up 2 million square feet of space sat empty in an area of the city that began to deteriate and fall victim to crime, underground sex clubs, and gangs.  In the 1990’s, investor Irwin B. Cohen organized a syndicate to buy the old National Biscuit Company for $1.0 million. It was Cohen’s purchase of this space in the 90’s that would change the history of Chelsea and the Meatpacking District forever.

Today the Chelsea Market is home to over 35 specialty food vendors, the lofts above are offices/studios for The Food Network, MLB, and the O Network.  The old factory floors have been kept original and weave through the central market, as you wonder past an entanglement of unused ducts, old baking elevators, a broken pipe waterfall, the original train shed, old signboards and other original details.  Cohen wanting to create a remembrance of what this space was in the past has left fragments of the National Biscuit heritage all over the complex.

Chelsea Market Central Hall

Foods of New York does a tour throughout the Chelsea Market and Meatpacking District, tour guide Diana (rhymes with banana) was passionate and full of details that pertained to all audiences. She shared her enthusiasm about food and love for new york.  We walked the Chelsea Market stopping to drool and sometimes taste the deliciousness being offered.

Chelsea Market Tastings:

  • Amy’s Breads – artesinal French-American bakery (Est. 1992) – TASTING:  Fresh french baguette
  • Ronny Brook Milk Bar – offshoot from the farm (Est. 1950) – TASTING:  Chocolate Milk made with natural coca beans
  • Sarabeth’s Bakery – gourmet American bakery (Est. 1981) – TASTING:  Biscuit & Jam
  • Lobster Place – high end wholesale / retail fish market (Est. 1974) – TASTING:  Lobster Bisque, New England Clam Chowder
  • Buon Italia – wholesale/retail Italian specialty food shop (Est. 1997) – TASTING:  Speck, Mortadella, Artichoke Spread, Cioppino Onions
  • Chelsea Market Baskets – gourmet specialty food shop (Est. 1997) – TASTING:  Cheese with carmelized onion con feit
  • Eleni’s – Classic American bakery (Est. 1985) – TASTING:  Red Velvet Cupcake with buttermilk frosting

After wiping the drool from our chins, we exited the market to continue the tour in the Meatpacking district stopping for a private showing (not during opening hours) of two destination restaurants, Morimoto & Del Posto.  The coined term “destination restaurant” describes a dining experience that is strong enough to draw customers from outside the local community.  These two restaurants are said to have drawn customers from as close as the Tri-State area and as far as cross country, possibly even further.

Morimoto opened it’s doors first in Philadelphia in 2001 and later in New York’s Chelsea District.  Masaharu Morimoto, best known as chef of the world reknown Nobu restaurant and for his role as an Iron Chef. This is not your a-typical sushi restaurant, the sushi is not served with wasabi or soy-sauce — an don’t you dare ask for some, as those two common staples are believed to decrease the flavor of the fish. A chef’s menu or “omakase” is a multi-course tasting menu designed to allow you to experience the true delicacies of Morimoto’s cusine and come highly recommended ($120 a person). If your a sushi-lover ready to step outside your box Morimoto is a great place to start.

Del Posto, Mario Batalli’s baby, has been awarded 4 stars by The New York Times, the first Italian restaurant to be given 4 stars since the 1970s.  They also hold the record for the most extravagant dining experience in New York, conclusive of a 12-course tasting menu for two at the small cost of $1269.00, before wine :).  Del Posto’s decor and ambiance are that of luxury, deep colors, private dining spots, and a endless wine collection.  A special experience sure to go down in the books.  It is even said that all plates are served to a table of guests at precisely the same time, whether you are a table of 2 or 8.

A Local NYC Butcher Still Working in the Meatpacking District

After opening our eyes to the type of restaurants that now exist in the neighborhood, Diana led us to the Meatpacking District.  A part of the city that is rich with history — one in which many people wish to turn their heads too.  In the 1900’s this area was home to over 250 slaughterhouses and meatpacking plants, but as the times and technology enhanced they were able to move these plants outside the city and import the products in from New Jersey.  In the 1980s only 10 slaughterhouses still existed and the area became known as a center for drug dealing and prostitution.  Over a dozen sex clubs surged in the area.  At the center of the scene was the members-only club, controlled by the mafia, it was forced to shut down by the city at the height of AIDS prevention.  The area began to become somewhat of an outlaw.

In 1997, restaurantuer Keith McNally, saw the area as an opportunity, he dreamed up and opened Pastis.  The motto, “If you build it, they will come,” did not work for McNally.  New Yorkers were not ready to give up the stigma of the preceding years in the Meatpacking district.  McNally devised an ingenous plan, when his other restaurants were full with reservations, hosts and hostess would offer up Pastis, however the catch was to provide limo service to and from the restaurant for free!  Something a New Yorker cannot pass up is a free limo ride.  McNally’s theory worked, within a few year’s the Meatpacking District had lost its negative stigma and transformed into grand loft apartments, designer boutiques, and world reknowned restaurants.

Today the area is home to some of the city’s hottest nightclubs, boutiques and showrooms like Diane Von Furstenberg and Catherine Malandrino, and the newly added Highline Park.

Macelleria

As we wandered through the Meatpacking District we were bought into Macelleria, a local Italian restaurant, in which everything is made with the utmost perfection.  Chef’s are Italian immigrants and know their food!  If you find yourself wandering the area, steer clear of the tourist traps and head straight here.  At Macelleria we endulged in a sit down tasting, making you eagar to simple stay for another meal.

Meatpacking District Tastings:

  • Macelleria – Italian Steak House (Est. 2000) – TASTING:  Sit down tasting, Homemade pasta with Ox Tail Ragu

All in all the tour was fantastic.  I would recommend this to anyone looking to experience a New York different from which you already know or at least a side you would like to know better.  When searching for a food tour try out “Foods of New York”  they run tours through many different Manhattan neighborhoods and give you an insight and taste into the life a local New Yorker.

Other Foods of New York Tours:

Cost:  Tours range from $47 – $65 a person
Length:  Most tours are approximately 3 hours long
Tastings:  You get at least 5 tastings on all Foods of NY tours

I <3 NY: An Ode to Food

Hello Big Apple!  How lovely you are in the summertime, even the 99F temperatures and 80% humidity, doesn’t stop your streets from being alive with sundress clad New Yorkers, stroller pushing mom’s, and camera toting tourists.  The city that never sleeps seems to embrace the motto more boldly this time of year.

From Broadway

From Broadway

This short series of posts (“I ❤ New York”)  are an ode to New York City, however not that of the copper lady statue, Time Square lights, Central Park activities, or world-renowned museums. Having grown up outside of New York City from 6 years old to 19 years old, I have already been fortunate enough to see the sights of Central Park, Time Square, 5th Avenue, The Guggenheim, Greenwich Village, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the GW Bridge, the MOMA to simply name a few.   Instead this is a tribute to the tastes and flavors that have originated from the 1.5 million people calling the island of Manhattan their home.