By Debi Lander
New construction, a seemingly never-ending process, occurs in all cities. On a recent trip to New York City, I saw work crews arrive before dawn to labor in unfinished skyscrapers and repair roads — but I also discovered a few newly-opened attractions I’d recommend seeing.
The Vessel, an unusual structure completed in 2019, soars 16 stories above Hudson Yards. From eye level, the building looks like the rear of a cruise ship, a series of horizontal platforms and inclined ramps. You’ll find 154 intricately interconnecting flights of stairs — almost 2,500 individual steps and 80 landings. Make the effort and take the climb to earn remarkable views. Although that sounds like great exercise, my short trip didn’t permit me time. I still found the structure fascinating and especially enjoyed its glittering glow from nighttime illumination.
The Shed stands next to the Vessel, a flexible, adaptable building resembling a mammoth soft-sided tent. It houses ever-changing works by emerging artists, musicians, theater productions, literature, sculpture, and dance.
The Vessel and Shed lead to the entrance of the High Line, a fantastic 1.5-mile pedestrian walkway over an old rail line. The elevated path stretches from Hudson Yards to the Meatpacking District. You stroll or jog along without the worry of crossing a street, encountering traffic jams, or stopping at red lights. Many new apartment buildings have arisen alongside the older ones lining the walkway. One particular condo or office center featured bowed-shaped windows reminding me of old root beer candies.
Near the end of the High Line, pedestrians come to the Chelsea Market, the former National Biscuit Company factory building (where the Oreo cookie was created). The updated space serves as a food hall with gourmet shops, take-away or sit-down restaurants, gift shops, galleries, and more. Stop in for a cup of coffee, snack, or casual meal.
Continue down to the High Line’s end, stop, then look right. You’ll find an odd assemblage called Little Island. The new park was created utilizing pod-like containers, filled with soil, bushes, and trees, placed on stilts at the river’s edge. The stilts resemble the backs of high-heeled shoes. The pods join together and create a unique green-like setting. People stroll around the grounds and, in the summer, sit at small tables or benches. They come to the amphitheater, with tiered seating and a stage facing the Hudson River, for performances.
Hike up to the highest point on Little Island, and you’re blessed with a panoramic view of the Manhattan skyline. Gaze across the river to see Hoboken. Look carefully in the distance, and you might spy the Statue of Liberty.
The Whitney Museum, featuring American modern art collections, lies across the street from Little Island. Browse a large selection of Jasper Johns work, Alexander Calder, and others.
While NYC can be tough on the wallet, the view of the Vessel, Shed, Little Island, and a stroll down the High Line are free — and most memorable. A quick getaway to the Big Apple always remains fun.
Visit www.bylandersea.com to read more of local travel writer Debi Lander’s stories and travel tips.
Photo courtesy Debi Lander