For years, a secret, untamed garden hovered above the cityscape of Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen. Formed from the wild grass, flower, and weed seeds that randomly blew onto the tracks of a 1 1/2-mile abandoned elevated railway, it became a hidden-in-plain-sight oasis for those New Yorkers brave (and limber) enough to scale the trestles. When the city started planning to tear down the historic rail structure (constructed 1929−34), a movement was born to save it and create a “grand public promenade,” with easy access from the street, and that has now happened. Beautifully landscaped (in many places with the “weeds” that once grew there naturally), with benches and gourmet food vendors galore, it’s become THE place to head for a stroll on a balmy summer evening.
- Pauline Frommer