My office looks out on the High Line. Elevated freight rail tracks that were once used to expedite goods from the various factories along the west side of Manhattan and that have recently been turned into an urban park. The tracks run from Gansevoort St up to 34th Street and the structure is gorgeous. The workmanship in the iron girders has always impressed me and the creativity of how they executed the actual park is just breathtaking. An urban oasis that sits above while looking onto city life.
With the opening of the High Line, a bubble of life has also emerged in the neighborhood. Yes there are the classic images of people strolling along enjoying the day, those who use it as a traffic-free commuter path and, those who just sit and contemplate the day. Then there are those who live in the buildings along the edge of the High Line, they live in plain view of the thousands who pass through every year. No apparent privacy.
The thing is, New Yorker’s are all exhibitionists to varying degrees. It’s practically impossible to have a completely private apartment what with the buildings so close and so to live here is to operate under the assumption that within the confines of our homes we may see something but we don’t say anything.
I’m pretty sure my neighbors have gotten an eye full of me at some off-timed moments. I know the guy who lives in the building beside me likes to sit on his fire escape smoking after sex – based on the sounds of his partner he deserves the break; someone in the building that backs onto the neighboring playground likes to watch their wall-size projection TV, which for me turns into a drive in movie viewed from my couch. Then there’s the girl off to the building on the side who is learning to play the guitar, topless, she’s getting quite good at it. These are all people I glimpse living their lives, I would never be able to recognize them on the street.
So when I stroll along the High Line though I may stop to see things but I don’t stop to see the people who live there. That’s for the tourists. Yes, that is how we know you not a local.
New Yorker’s we choose to live here and be seen, just please no photos.
Or at very least, get our good side.