In the summer, the High Line is a crammed conveyer belt of eyes and backpacks and practical outfits. From this perspective above the streets, through the lens of an iPhone or camera, New York City is an object to observe .
On this north end of the park, a small theater-like seating area looks out on to rows of stoic buildings. Trees attempt to enliven the weary facades. Air conditioners pop out of some windows. This view of the
Penn South Chelsea-Elliot housing projects is neatly contained within a steel and glass frame on top of a railing and presented to tourists as a vista.
One very blonde family, possibly Dutch or Scandinavian, sits down and looks out. The father’s fuchsia polo shirt matches a set of curtains in one of the several windows of
Penn South the Chelsea-Elliot project that face the High Line. He and his wife pose for a photo as though they are admiring a sunset. Chelsea-Elliot looks back at them, but these tourists don’t seem to notice. Two stories above the room with the pink curtains, a man’s arms and torso shift in and out of view. His window is the only one that’s open.
Another family, this one Spanish-speaking, exhales onto a bench in exhaustion. The dad recites his planned route back to the hotel. He has his printed maps of New York organized in a clear plastic folder. A couple of girls stand under the theater’s frame and smile for a photo. It’s definitely Instagram-worthy.
Along the street that cuts eastward through these buildings, a man with a shopping cart of bulging garbage bags begins to throw bread on the sidewalk. Pigeons swoop in. Cars drive around him as he walks in the middle of the street. Backlighting him, the sun behind the viewing gallery is like a projector in a cinema.
And the conveyer belt keeps going.
Correction: A previous version of this piece referred to the buildings in front of this viewing gallery on the High Line as Penn South. In fact, the apartment buildings directly in front of this viewpoint are part of the Chelsea-Elliot project. Penn South is located behind them. We apologize for the error.