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The Radial Bench, Liberated


The “radial bench” is one of my favorite features on the High Line. A long — it extends for a full city block, between 29th – 30th Streets — sinuous bench, it always reminds me of the law of nature pronounced by the great urban writer and scholar of open spaces William “Holly” Whyte:  “People tend to sit where there are places to sit.” The designers of the High Line took Whyte’s commandment — make the place sittable — to heart, and throughout the park visitors find what he would call “an amiable miscellany” of places to perch: “peel-up” benches, stadium seats, deck-style lounges, a lawn, French bistro chairs. In section three at the Rail Yards, currently under construction, there are various new iterations of the peel-up bench to look forward to, including a see-saw.

This week’s snowstorm was an event made for promenading, not sitting, but regular visitors will rejoice in the fact that the construction shed that covered the entire bench for a year has finally come down. Now you can sit with your coffee, your newspaper or your sweetheart (or all three!) and enjoy the light and views that make this such a great spot.


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