Tuesday, April 27, 2010

NYC: West Side Wonderland

Just two years ago, the Meatpacking District was still pretty much a specialty Manhattan nabe, enlivened by posh eateries, bottle-service clubs and haughty condos—certainly a shadow of its former industrial demeanor—but hardly a destination for the mainstream or out-of-towners.

And then the magnificent High Line park opened, built along a section of a former elevated freight railroad that was built in the early 1930s to eliminate the fatal accidents that occurred along the street-level. It was abandoned in 1980, before being transformed last year into an oasis of landscaping, leisure seating and walkways, as much of the original railroad ties are built into the design. It now extends from Gansevoort Street to 20th Street, with plans to expand its full length to 30th Street.

Leonard and I took a nice walk Saturday through the park, and I was stunned; it was like navigating through Times Square—packed double-file with folks enjoying the view. Meatpacking itself, meanwhile, was booming... beautifully landscaped with new pedestrian-friendly seating and walkways, packed outdoor cafes and enough slow-walking drones to prove it a new tourist hot-spot.Above: High Line; below: Meatpacking.Next, we made our way to Chelsea, polished and pretty, en route to visit Leonard's childhood home: the historic Hotel Chelsea... (see next post, cool cats!).Above: My former residence at 468 West 23rd Street, 1997-1998. (PHOTOS: THE SMOKING NUN)