“Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.” — Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See
Early morning walks are nothing new for me, but I rarely take them when I’m in Manhattan. Simply put, I don’t love walking in the city the way I love walking in other places. Blame it on the endless concrete, traffic noise and dog owners who don’t pick up their dogs crap. I can love the energy of the city while not enjoying the walking environment—I’m complicated in that way.
There are exceptions to this rule. Central Park is one. The riverfront is another. And then there’s the High Line, that old elevated railway turned into a pedestrian walk. This delightful walkway doesn’t allow bicycles or skateboards or even dogs (for the record: I love dogs, it’s irresponsible owners I don’t love). This is to protect the fragile plants along the walkway, but it has the side benefit of protecting your footwear too.
The High Line has proven to be a big hit with the public precisely because of the removal of all that I dislike about walking in the city. You feel like you’re in another world up on the High Line. A world of art and natural plantings and no cars. It’s the kind of environment that could make you love walking in Manhattan.
Alas, my walk was abbreviated by construction. walking down the stairs back to street level reminded me that I’m a country mouse at heart. Still, a short walk on the High Line is better than nothing.