Summer in the city is nothing without a stroll in the park, and this year, that saunter will reach new heights.
Section 2 of the High Line, Gotham's elevated rail oasis, is set to open next month after more than three years of design and construction. The long-anticipated new section runs along 10th Avenue from 20th Street to 30th Street, ending at a food court and entertainment area in a lot below the park on 30th Street.
"I think it'll blow people's minds," said James Corner, lead designer of the High Line. "It's an experience you've never seen before in the city. ... It's got a really good neighborhood vibe and a more intimate feel to it."
Corner said that for Section 2, which cost about $66.8 million, he tried to create a sense of episodic movement, and that the new section's location gives it a sort of "West Chelsea art gallery/neighborhood/residential sort of feel."
Section 2 continues the park, which begins at Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District.
Work on Section 3, the final portion of the long-abandoned railroad freight spur, is still in negotiations. It will run along 30th Street and wrap around 12th Avenue onto 34th Street.
Some 10th Avenue businesses said the new section should be a boon, much as the first section was when it opened in 2009, but that construction has been a bother.
"We've definitely felt it," said Anna Dasilva, owner of Pepe Giallo at 25th Street. He was quick to add that the restaurant is expecting a nice customer bump.
John Weis, the chairman of Community Board 4, said the new section will bring a welcome boost to the neighborhood.
"It's great for attracting people to the western part of Chelsea," he said. "Part of that area is very quiet, and this is gonna open that up for a lot of new people."
But some Chelsea residents, while appreciative of the park, worry about the added traffic the new section could bring.
"There's already too many tourists here - they are all over this area," said John Engwerda, 77, a park regular who lives in Chelsea near Section 2.
"I want to keep coming back, but there's times it's just not worth it, and I think Section 2 might just add more of that," he said.
Some park regulars, however, are eager to see the extension.
"I've been watching it and waiting for it - I check it out every time I come here," said Chris Smith, 40, of Cobble Hill. "The area looks really interesting so far - more of this extraordinary outside space that we all love already."