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High Line will reopen with timed-entry pass system

BY ISAAC SULTAN | The High Line will reopen to the public on Thurs., July 16, with a number of social-distancing restrictions, according to a press release sent out this Thursday.

In a coronavirus world, entry to the aboveground park — for the time being — will now require a reserved ticket reservation or a wait time.

In addition, the only place to get on the High Line will be at the southernmost entrance at Gansevoort and Washington Sts., in the Meatpacking District, and all foot traffic will then flow north.

A limited number of walk-up passes will be available at the entrance. But to reduce wait time, the High Line is strongly encouraging parkgoers to sign up for a free timed-entry pass in advance. Free passes are available at thehighline.org/welcome.

Robert Hammond, the co-founder and executive director of the High Line, explains in the video how the park will handle social distancing during the pandemic. All parkgoers will enter at Gansevoort and Washington Sts., the park’s southern terminus, next to the Whitney Museum, where Hammond is standing, above.

Also, to ensure parkgoers are able to stay at least 6 feet apart from each other while in the park, a limited number of people will be permitted to be on the High Line at any one time.

Staircases at 14th, 16th, 17th, 20th and 23rd Sts. will be exit-only. All access points north of 23rd St. will be closed.

To help explain the park’s new reality during the pandemic, the High Line released a video, in which Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver and Robert Hammond lay out the new ground rules.

‘‘We are happy to be able to reopen the High Line and we invite our neighbors and fellow New Yorkers across the city to reconnect with the High Line and each other in a new way,’’ Hammond said. ‘‘Throughout the pandemic, we have really seen how important parks and public spaces are to our physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. As New York City and our immediate neighborhoods
continue to reopen and recover, we hope the High Line will bring comfort and happiness to all who are able to visit. Finally, while you are here, please remember to wear your face coverings.’’

The High Line will be open seven days a week, from noon to 8 p.m.

As New Yorkers return to the elevated park, they also might be pleasantly surprised to discover a more rustic landscape than they are accustomed to.

“Our city, nation and world have fundamentally changed since the pandemic began,” said an e-mail from the High Line. “So have we — and so have the High Line’s gardens, which have been growing unchecked while our gardeners were working remotely, much like the original self-sown landscape we discovered years ago. When you reenter, you will find a wilder, lusher, more exuberant landscape, reminding us of the power of nature to reclaim even the mightiest of industrial structures.”

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