Ticket prices got you down? Head to the High Line above 10th Ave for a free show where New York herself is the star. This park, a repurposed elevated track, is an exercise in “city as theater:” By framing and focusing our otherwise scattered attention, the High Line reveals New York as the glittery, every-changing diva she really is. Walking along this shrubbery promenade, you stop, breathe, and really see where you are. Is this not the highest task of art?
The High Line takes the metaphor of “City Theater” even further with its viewing gallery. Straddling 10th Ave above 17th Street is a kind of miniature stadium, aimed uptown, that makes a proscenium of steel girders, and a 4th wall of a window. Traffic rumbles beneath you, then zooms into view, always a surprise, and just a little bit scary. It’s as if you’re birthing the Hondas, taxis, and pedicabs that appear, one after the other.
The High Line “Theater” isn’t just a visual festival. Curious gulley-like water fountains project aural treats when engaged; one even gives the ultimate pep talk by reciting Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnet 43 (“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…”) I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember the last time a water fountain proclaimed its undying love for me. Only in New York, folks!
So grab a picnic basket and head to the High Line — no tickets! No cramped seats! No predictable endings! It’s just you, the city, and a friendly reminder to look up, breathe, and soak in the beauty.