Whitney to High Line to Chelsea Market: A newer New York

Traveling through the Meatpacking District of NYC to 99 Gansevoort Street, home of the Whitney Museum.

Traveling through the Meatpacking District of NYC to 99 Gansevoort Street, home of the Whitney Museum.

Mindful of our friends’ recommendations for what to see during our Christmas Holiday 2015 in NYC and loving art for art’s sake, we headed to the Whitney Museum following our usual routine:  look up address, find appropriate bus or subway, ride, get off, enjoy. But when we arrived where our guide book told us to go — 945 Madison Avenue — we found a closed building.  Shut, if you will.  Not a problem, we thought.  Just ask someone on the street.  And that’s how we found ourselves back on the bus headed to 99 Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District at the new Whitney Museum.

Map of the High Line in New York City

Map of the High Line in New York City

Designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, the cantilevered building known as the Whitney offers 50,000 square feet of indoor galleries with 18,000 of it dedicated to special exhibitions.  This largest column-free museum gallery in NYC is a far cry from the original museum founded by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in 1930.  And with its position between the Hudson River and the High Line, the Whitney offered us an array of modern art as well as views of the area we would never have seen otherwise.

Whitney Museum in its new location in the Meatpacking District of NYC. Note the starting of the High Line with its row of trees in front of the museum. (From website: http://whitney.org/About/NewBuilding

Whitney Museum in its new location in the Meatpacking District of NYC. Note the starting of the High Line with its row of trees in front of the museum. (From website: http://whitney.org/About/NewBuilding

With art from names we recognized — Thomas Hart Benton, Alexander Calder, Peter Blume, Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Marsden Hartley, Edward Hopper — to artists we learned about the night of our visit, the Whitney amazes those well-versed in contemporary art as well as the casual observer.  Wide spaces, clean white walls, natural wood floors — all work beautifully, not only for giving each piece of art the space it deserves but also for allowing the efficient movement of spectators who want to view art up close AND far away.

But the evening outside was just as fascinating as the art inside.  Expansive porches allow guests at the museum to stand and gaze at buildings lit for the night, to watch people climb the stairs accessing the High Line, and to stare out at the Hudson River and watch the sun go down.

Sundown on the Hudson River as seen from the porch of the Whitney Museum.

Sundown on the Hudson River as seen from the porch of the Whitney Museum.

We, too, wanted to experience the High Line, but merely as a conduit to nearby Chelsea Market. Then we read more in our guide book about this pathway that was first an above-ground rail line.  In the 1980s, the last freight train on this line delivered goods to merchants.  But by 1999, Joshua David and Robert Hammond, hearing the outcry from residents to preserve the structure, founded Friends of the High Line to keep the railway and repurpose it for something else.  Planning and design work began, and by 2009, the first section of the High Line opened to the public as a scenic walkway.  Today, multiply plantings beautify the structure.  (See pictures on Flickr here.) And people enjoy walking the High Line as much for sheer enjoyment as to get from Point A to Point B. (Because it was dark, we have no pictures to share.  But here is an outstanding view from the Friends of the High Line website.)

Beautiful picture of the plantings along the High Line from Friends of the High Line website: www.thehighline.org

Beautiful picture of the plantings along the High Line from Friends of the High Line website: http://www.thehighline.org

We wanted to experience a walk along the High Line, but we were also on a mission:  to find dinner at Chelsea Market!  So, we climbed the stairs to access the High Line, walked a couple of blocks, and then climbed back down to find ourselves squarely in an industrial space filled with restaurants, vendors of quality goods, and people just roaming around — talking and eating, of course.  (Be aware of one thing:  there is little seating in Chelsea Market.  People order, stand at counters or take food out.  They enjoy the space for what it is.  We landed at a burger place simply because two stools magically became available!)

You can find seafood, burgers, spices, cheese, etc., at Chelsea Market in the block long, block wide building holding 35 vendors, or you can just watch the people go by.  (And according to the website, about six million national and international visitors filter through the place per year.) It’s a venue to see, all right, and the food (a global mix, we’d say) is worth the wait — and the standing!

Vendors line the sides of this industrial interior at Chelsea Market.

Vendors line the sides of this industrial interior at Chelsea Market.

If you’re thinking of visiting NYC, take the route we found quite by accident — from the Whitney to the High Line to Chelsea Market!  And, yes, it’s worth the steps. After all, you can rest on the bus as you ride back to your lodging in the city, feeling proud that you’re now an art connoisseur full of good food from one of the greatest cities in the world!

For more information:

Whitney Museum of Art, 99 Gansevoort Street, New York, NY 10014; (212) 570-10014; whitney.org.

Friends of the High Linehttp://www.thehighline.org/

Chelsea Markethttp://www.chelseamarket.com/

About Oh, the Places We See

Met at University of Tennessee, been married for 47 years, and still passionate about travel whether we're volunteering with Habitat Global Village, combining work at Discovery with pleasure, or just seeing the world. Hope you'll join us as we try to see it all while we can!
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19 Responses to Whitney to High Line to Chelsea Market: A newer New York

  1. Awesome pictures from Chelsea Market!

    Alicja | http://www.lifeofaluxaholic.com

  2. I laughed out loud about the two stools becoming available. Sometimes you just had to grab what you can. 🙂 We haven’t been to the High Line yet, but it’s on our list for next time. Great photos as always.

  3. Amy says:

    Great market place via your lens, Rusha. It didn’t look as busy as I expected. 🙂

  4. Sherry Galey says:

    Love all these great images of New York. Love Hopper!

  5. terrytrekker says:

    Nice! Yes, NY is so interesting!

  6. Quite the adventure. Art, food and a repurposed railway. The rails to trails movement in America has been quite successful at saving old rail right-a-ways for biking and hiking trails. Some of them may even be repurposed back into rail lines at some time in the future. Anyway, its a great program. –Curt

  7. Dawn says:

    Art and food…some of my favorite things!

    • Me, too, Dawn! In fact, that’s what I look for when visiting a big city. We didn’t focus on food as much this time — it’s hard to get from one highly rated restaurant to the next. So we ate where we were. However, wherever you are in NYC, there’s something good to eat!

  8. tappjeanne says:

    Ah yes, Chelsea Market (old Nabisco Oreo factory) and the High Line are one of my favs in NYC. And one of my favorite photos of Bill & me taken by professional photog son Michael was taken at the High Line. Check my new/old Facebook page photo!

    • I’ll definitely check out that photo! What a fun place to visit, and you have a chance to return any time. I may not go back to Chelsea since I like to sit and eat, and we almost didn’t find anywhere that would allow that. It was fun to see the people, of course, and the interesting shops. Thanks for checking out the post!

  9. fifi + hop says:

    Love the High Line. Still have to see the new Whitney which was too much for my girls in the time window we had. I recently wrote a piece on the High Line and Chelsea Market too. If interested see http://fifiandhop.com/2015/11/20/everyone-loves-the-high-line/
    Sounds like you had a great evening!

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