Recession or no, construction continues full throttle along the High Line's yet undeveloped northern parts. Curbed recently reported on a giant hotel and condo complex that will take down a few of the existing low-rises and blue-collar businesses. There are gaping holes where more hotels will grow. Condos bloat and shoulder their way between leather bars and strip joints. Before we know it, the entire neighborhood as it currently exists will have vanished.
Today, it is not yet the glittering showpiece the developers want it to be. It's still raw. Still rough around the edges. There are interesting things to see. Like fully functioning scrap yards.
Auto repair shops where busy mechanics take their breaks in the noontime sun, to sit on the sidewalk with eyes closed, catching short siestas.
Flat fix shops with tires stacked in neat, braided piles. Taxi garages and medallion operations. And the fantastic Terminal Food Shop, aka Poppy's, serving deli food under big animal heads since 1981.
Out here, you feel like you're on the edge of things, outside of today's city. It is an odd sort of respite. No one walks with cell phones here. No one pushes double-wide baby strollers. There is no noise of clacking heels bearing down on you. The sidewalks are uncrowded. You pass by weedy little lots that smell of wildflowers and bodily fluids.
At the end of the High Line, at 10th Ave and 30th St, where it breaks into a dead-end spur and bends west to empty into the railyards, it's still wild on top, overflowing ungroomed and ramshackle.
Underneath, invisible men make their beds.
And cast a vivid litter of rose petals.
See all my photos of this area on my flickr
The New High Line
Glassing West Chelsea