By Dave Caplan
Put on your walking shoes and let’s go explore two of New York City’s most popular outdoor landmarks, The Highline and Washington Square Park. Come to Pier 79 on Manhattan’s west side, purchase an All Day Access Pass and hop on the New York Water Taxi. Take the boat to Pier 45 in the West Village, walk 8 blocks uptown on Washington St. to Gansevoort and climb the staircase to the Highline.
The Highline is an elevated freight rail line that was later transformed into a public park. From 1851 to 1929 freight trains ran at street level frequently causing horrific accidents in New York’s busiest industrial district. To try to prevent collisions from happening, men known as “West Side Cowboys” would ride horses in front of freight trains waving red flags. Chaos continued on the streets of New York so in 1930 they built the Highline which lifted freight traffic 30 feet into the air to the relief of frightened motorists and pedestrians. With the decline of rail use, trains stopped running on the Highline in 1980.
Preserved from demolition, the Highline opened to the public in June 2009 offering visitors one mile of beautifully landscaped, traffic free, outrageous views, thirty feet high! Best sunsets in NY.
If you want to visit one of New York’s most iconic parks, head east from Pier 45 and follow West 4th street to Washington Square Park. Prior to becoming a park in 1827, the field was used for public executions. Now, it is the perfect place to see where New Yorkers go to “chill out”. Famous visitors and supporters have included Stanley Kubrick, Eleanor Roosevelt, Mark Twain, Robert Louis Stevenson and Samuel F.B. Morse. In 2007 the park was prominently featured in the movie I am Legend, Dr. Robert Neville played by Will Smith lived directly across the street from the park.
Last week’s trivia answer: Spanish
Last week’s mystery photo: Chrysler Building
This week’s trivia question: Who was the only US president born in NYC?