Walking for Great Customer Service
You may or may not know that Jeremy and I work for Phone.com (@phonedotcom), a VoIP phone provider. One of our loyal customers is Context Travel (@contexttravel) and they are absolutely amazing. Based in Philadelphia, I have helped them with their phone service, that spans world-wide. If you are ever in need of a walking tour when you’re traveling, I highly recommend purchasing it through Context Travel.
In return for the assistance Phone.com provided to Context Travel, they very generously gave our company a group walking tour on the house. And, what an awesome tour it was!
On the morning of December 20th, the NYC Phone.com team met near the Google offices in Chelsea to take a tour of the Meatpacking and High Line Park with our fantastic guide, Matico. You can read more about and book this tour by clicking here.
The Meatpacking District in New York City used to be for, well, you guessed it–meat! There were many slaughterhouses and meatpacking plants. Now, it’s mostly boutiques and restaurants, with the original facade of it’s former days.
We continued through this area toward the original Bell Laboratories Building, which was a treat considering we are a phone company! Here’s a run down of what awesome stuff was “born” in this building:
“Many early technological inventions were developed here including automatic telephone panel switches, the first experimental talking movies (1923), black and white and color TV, video telephones, radar, the vacuum tube, medical equipment, the development of the phonograph record and the first commercial broadcasts including the first broadcast of a baseball game and the New York Philharmonic with Toscanini conducting. It also served as the headquarters for the company from 1925 to the early 1960s.” (Wikipedia)
And, here’s the building as it stands today (taken from my cell phone). That railroad is actually part of the same railroad track as the High Line Park.
Before the High Line Park was a park, it was used as the New York Central Railroad, opening in 1934. It was used to transport goods to local businesses, including Bell Laboratories, the Nabisco plant and many others. In the 50s, when trucking became more popular, the railroad was no longer used as often and part of it was demolished. As the years went by, weeds and trash accumulated on the tracks and it was definitely in a state of disarray. However, in 1999, a non-profit organization, Friends of the High Line, advocated for the creation of a park on the tracks. And, the High Line Park was born.
I must say this might be my absolute favorite part of Manhattan, besides Central Park. You feel like you’re on a boardwalk, high above the city, surrounded by a variety of plants with remnants of the original railroad peeking through.
There are fun lounge chairs to relax on, grass to walk on (though right now, as we are in winter on the East Coast, everything is brown) and in summer, there is even a “beach” area where people can lay out in the sun. And also, in warmer weather, there are food vendors and musicians out for enjoyment. All in all, I’ve decided I must return when it gets warm!
We took a detour from the High Line down into the Chelsea Market, which used to house the ovens for the National Biscuit Company. You can learn more about this building by clicking here. The market, a rather eclectic space, is full of delicious smelling food vendors, stores and some very interesting art (including a giant faucet fountain).
Our tour didn’t end there–we climbed the stairs back to the High Line, enjoying the scenery on the chilly day. We eventually took another detour down into some very exclusive Hell’s Kitchen art galleries, which made for a very interesting peek into this artists community. Most of these places were damaged by Super Storm Sandy but have since recovered (you cannot even tell there was any problem).
We managed to walk all the way to the end of the park to an area that is blocked off due to construction. Still a work in progress, areas of the old tracks are filled with weeds but as they continue the work, this park will grow even further across Manhattan’s West Side. Pretty amazing!
I don’t do the tour any justice with my write up as I gained so much knowledge about this area of NYC that it’s hard to put it into words! You’ll just have to take the tour yourself to get the full experience.
I will leave you with this group photo from our tour. Context Travel, thank you again! We had an amazing time!