Walking the High Line

A small diversion now from the theatrical stage to another kind of theatre.  We’ve made a remarkable discovery, now destined to head our personal list of top New York attractions.  It’s “The High Line,” a mile-long park built on top of an old elevated freight rail line on the lower west side.  Check it out on https://www.thehighline.org.

We’ve been meaning to walk it since it opened, and finally got around to it yesterday morning, a beautiful day to see the magnificent wild plantings and flowers, wandering from the meat-packing district below 14th up to 30thstreet.

We just may go back tomorrow.  In the three short years of its existence, it has become #10 on Travel+Leisure’s list of the world’s most popular landmarks.  It’s already well populated with a cross section of locals and tourists.  We have to thank for it two friends, Robert Hammond and Josh David, co-founders of Friends of the High Line, for rescuing the “EL” from obsolescence, when they almost accidentally walked into a neighborhood meeting in 1999, and came up with the idea.  The stunning overall design of the project is the work of  Field Operations, a landscape architecture company, and the architectural firm of Diller Scofidio & Renfro.  It’s absolutely inspiring to see the ecological and aesthetic values placed on natural plantings as the High Line cuts its way through some of the city’s once less than desirable neighborhoods, offering magnificent views of the Hudson, the west side docks and warehouses, and the Jersey heights.  Some marvelous neighbors of the High Line, many with sharp senses of both design and humor, contribute to the surprises around every bend.

How are you feeling?
I’m feeling very unstable and insecure.
I also feel very worried and anxious about everything.
I also feel trapped and I feel that I am much too fat and that people are laughing at me. I feel very frustrated and depressed. I feel that I am unable to meet the demands that have been made on me. I am in a bit of a rut creatively as well.

I sought out a High Line men’s room just north of 14th Street.  While standing at the urinal, from some invisible speaker outlet came a computerized monotoned male voice with the following dialogue:

 “You can do it. (pause)

You can do it. (pause)

You can do it. (pause)

I can’t do it.

You can do it.

No, I can’t.

Yes, you can.

You can do it.

No I can’t. (pause)

You can do it.

Can’t.

You can do it.

Can’t.  Can’t.  Can’t.

Can…  Can…  Can!

Can’t-Can’t-Can’t-Can’t-Can’t!

CAN!”

… By which time I had completed my task and was drying my hands at the sink, when:

Bye!”

… Now unsure whether or not to answer,  I looked once more for a speaker or worse still, a camera, but found none.  Then, as I threw my towel in the trash can, and was on my way out the door,

You can feel secure in the knowledge that life loves you.”

Mind you, my wife reported no such phenomenon emanating from the ladies’ room.  I’m not sure she believed my story.  … Honest.  … I swear!

A private practical joker?  A High Line feature?  A City Park with a sense of humor?  Was I on Candid Camera?  I don’t know.  But GREAT theatre!

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2 Responses to Walking the High Line

  1. Barry says:

    Be careful with that NY “water” BIll.

    Actually, I think that whole thing in the bathroom is really cool!

  2. Bill Rough says:

    P.S. We did indeed go back for a second time to the High Line, and just to be sure, visited the men’s room one more time. This time, I found the small white box stashed under the sink that housed a timed recorder and speaker. Incidentally, there is also a female voice on the timer to tell visitors they look good in the rest room, and please to keep it neat and clean for everyone’s benefit.

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