Friday, April 17, 2015

Walking in New York City - 10th Avenue stroll

Recently I decided I was being rather remiss about getting out and about in my effort to walk all the streets and avenues of New York City, so I headed into Manhattan, this time to check out 10th Avenue. The southern part of the avenue runs from 59th Street (above this it is known as Amsterdam Avenue) down to the West Village and is one of those areas where I usually have little reason to wander so I was intrigued as to what I would find. 

First impressions weren't that great - a street of heavy traffic and rather old and mostly ugly buildings interspersed with construction sites and parking lots.

The views down the cross streets were more attractive - such as this one at 34th Street with a glimpse of the Empire State Building in the distance.
10th Ave & 34 Street

In the 19th century railroad tracks known as the West Side Line ran along 10th Avenue. The mix of freight trains and pedestrians proved to be so dangerous the street was nicknamed Death Avenue and cowboys (The Tenth Avenue Cowboys) were employed to warn people of an approaching train. In 1934 most of  the line was elevated, but eventually fell into disuse and partly demolished in the sixties. In 2006 construction began to convert the remaining line into the High Line, an urban park.

 The first section of the park opened in 2009 and the final section in 2014. As these photos show it can be seen from the street, unfortunately in places the view from the park is not particularly attractive.

The creation of the High Line has spurred a huge amount of development along its length however, including some interestingly shaped buildings. 

At 17th Street the High Line crosses 10th Avenue and a viewing gallery has been created so people can sit and watch the traffic below!  

All in all, not the most attactive avenue to walk, although there were a few bright spots:

and some interesting shops:

But wait, what's this? - a grand piece of 1865 architecture suddenly appears in view. Now the Highline Hotel, it originally was the General Theological Seminary. The hotel web-site provides the following description, 'Just off 10th Avenue, the gated Parisian style courtyard complete with lush gardens demarcated by gas lamps, beckons passers-by to step into a different era.'  Unfortunately, one look out of your window if your room is on the front of the building would soon remind you what era you are in.  

The land, a former apple orchard, was donated by Clement Clark Moore who not only owned most of the area which is now known as Chelsea, but who also happened to pen 'Twas the night before Christmas'. 

Further south on 10th Avenue a small park offers a respite from buildings and construction but, given it's surrounded by major roads, not from the noise of traffic. 

But at least you can get a glimpse of the river!

And finally I'm at the end: The old meat-packing district where some of the buildings are still in original use : 

and others have been converted into international food courts: 

Gansevoort Market

I have to say, this one had some delicious looking options - so I may well have to pay another visit.

All in all, an interesting walk, certainly helped by the wonderful spring weather - warm and sunny, just perfect for walking. And after a long inclement winter, I finally get to put a few more lines on my map!


  1. Thanks for this, Mel! I love to see the different parts of the world we all live near. Hmmm....Mind if I borrow the idea?

  2. Glad you enjoyed it DV. Borrow away! I love reading about other cities, especially when it goes beyond the tourist sights - gives me an idea of which ones I need to visit one day:)