The Toronto Powers That Be murmured and grumbled again yesterday on whether or not the soon-to-be-defunct TTC Scarborough RT should be made into a park similar to the popular High Line in New York City. Nothing is set in stone, and as with everything in Toronto even if it were set in stone, it’s unlikely anyone would see it until sometime in 2215 at the earliest anyway (not an actual fact, but a fair prediction).
For those who haven’t been, the High Line is a public park that runs above the streets along the west side of Manhattan from Gansevoort Street up to West 34th Street (between 10th & 12th Avenues). Converted from a defunct rail line, the park is partially funded by public donations that help keep this unique walking space incredibly maintained.
While waiting to check into my room last month, I decided to check this off my ever-shortening NYC to-do list. It was a sunny and cold day, made even colder by being elevated above the city streets. The upside to that was that it wasn’t crowded at all and I found myself alone for a good portion of the jaunt. If you do what I did and start from 30th, the walk to 30th and 10th may momentarily have you believing this park doesn’t exist. There were no big flashing signs along the way, telling me I was indeed heading in the right direction (I knew I had to be though. It’s kind of hard to screw up 30th and 10th), which made it kind of feel like a secret space in a city that is consistently bustling.
Be prepared to walk several flights of stairs to get up there initially (elevators are available) and don’t forget your camera in your checked luggage like I did, thus leaving you with nothing decent but your aging iPod to snap pics. From views of the water, a subway yard, the unique Manhattan architecture, and the walking space itself which on its own is a site to see, you will be pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to end up walking the entire length of this former railway, when you swore you were only going to check it out for 10 blocks or so.
If you get hungry along your journey, walk down the many flights of stairs (and take a deep breath if heights aren’t your thing) at 17th and grab a slice of pizza across the street at Artichoke Basille’s. The slices are a tad pricey, but huge and will sustain you til dinner. Head back up those stairs again (deep breaths! You can do it. It’s just… height!) and you’ll find washrooms right there as well, which were surprisingly quite clean.
There is a certain sense of accomplishment you feel when you realize you’re suddenly at the end and that yes, you did walk the entire thing in one freezing go. Strolling around the area near the Gansevoort Street entrance/exit was an additional treat with a much expected different look and vibe to where I started at 30th. Like everywhere in NYC, it’s like jumping into another world when you’ve just gone a few city blocks.