Big Apple’s Renaissance in Lower Manhattan

Here’s a great day trip with a friend or an overnight with your spouse. On a sunny (or drizzly) day, one can thoroughly enjoy a stroll along the High Line to catch glimpses of the exciting developments along the waterfront.  Highlights include recent projects by prize-winning architects and historic structures.

The 1-mile long linear park starts at 30th Street and 11th Avenue.  Originally the High Line was created by local activists who wanted to preserve the former NY Central Railroad spur as public space. There are plans to continue the elevated park up to the Jacob Javits Center.  You can find a Self Guide Tour at the website, which is where we found our map.

On the High Line, you can see an irregularly shaped contemporary structure designed by Neil Denari which uses structural elements to create a design motif (image at left.)

Textured wall art and many refreshing landscape details are also evident.

The overall naturalized planting design was by Piet Oudolf working with Architect James Corner and Landscape Architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro.  Some of these unique features can be incorporated into your next patio project.  For example: ground coverings can penetrate into paving strips or squares creating a soft edge blending into a grassy yard (image at right.)

If you travel a lot or own two homes, you might consider installing overhead shutters which can roll down to secure or shade an open porch with an expanse of glass doors. This photo illustrates an interesting urban application (center building by Shigeru Ban) where a cluster of 2 story condos each have the ability to create privacy (image at left.)

A jumping off point is 14th Street near high-end boutiques and restaurants.  The Spice Market is one of several trendy places to eat with exotic cuisine.  Or, for a quick snack, continue your walk over to the Chelsea Market between 9th and 10th Avenues and 15th and 16th Streets.  Here you can meander between food and sundry stalls reminiscent of the Kasbah. The clerestory windows running down the center of the trussed commercial ceiling (image at right) can be classically integrated into a family room addition to bring daylight into the center of the space.

Or, if you like modern Japanese fusion cuisine, make reservations at Chef Masaharu Morimoto’s restaurant at 88 10th Avenue. Here, there are elegant modern interiors by Tadal Andl, including fabric ceilings and special lighting.  Halogen light fixtures (with a criss-cross aim) create a delightful diamond pattern on the wall.

Glass partitions provide some acoustic privacy and a glass bar counter with inset leaves glows a cool blue.  These details create an intimate ambiance and artful compositions (images above.)

And, the climax of your trip can be a visit to the new 9/11 Memorial Museum at the World Trade Complex (image at left.) This is now open to the public.  You will need reservations and a Visitor’s Pass.

Visit for more information.  The entrance is six blocks from the Path station.

Travel Tip: Allow between 5 to 6 hours for walking, a lunch break, and a tour of the Museum.  Have a great time as you become more aware of Lower Manhattan’s treasures!

Published: December 2013

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