09.22.19: Taking The High Line

Looking up at a lamp and building (515 W. 23rd St.) along The High Line, a 22-block long public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side, New York City.


Technical information

Aug. 30, 2016, 
11:27 a.m.

40°44'52.999" N 74°0'16.999" W
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Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Canon EF 16-35 f/2.8L (23mm) 


1/4000th second


I enjoy taking architecture shots when we travel to different cities. There’s something about the lines and angles on buildings that makes me want to find different perspectives to turn the scene into an interesting photo.

But I have to admit that this scene surprised me.

We spent a morning walking along The High Line, a 22-block long public park in New York City built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. I had found several interesting scenes along the way — mostly old buildings or public art — and spent some time photographing them.

But then a new building — HL23, a condominium building on West 23rd Street — caught my attention. The glass and wavy steel facade was interesting; the glass portion of the building served as a warm visual transition from the natural elements — a tree and blue sky — to the cold steel panels.

But the first thing I noticed when I looked up was the round light blocking part of the scene. I thought about scouting for a different angle, but the more I looked at the light the more I liked how it contrasted with its surroundings. The building was filled with angles and textures and reflections, creating a sense of movement. The light was static.

So I grabbed a photo and continued on our walk.

I captured a number of interesting photos during our walk that morning, but this one has become one of my favorites from the day. It has kind of an abstract, artsy feel.

The building — HL23 — was designed by architect Los Angeles architect Neil Denari and was completed in 2011. Units in the 14 floor building have listed for as much as $10 million.

And it’s just one of the many things along The High Line that make the walk very interesting.

The High Line was built on a disused — and, since 1980, pretty much abandoned — section of the West Side Line of the New York Central Railroad. The efforts to repurpose the viaduct, which had become an eyesore, into an urban park began in 2006. The first section opened in 2009. The final section opened in 2014. 

The 1.45-mile walk has become one of our favorite things to do when visiting the city.

Each week I will post a photo from my collection with an explanation of how I got the shot. Previous photos of the week are in the archives.