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Audra McDonald

Top-of-the-line tourist attraction

Top-of-the-line tourist attraction

— Is it any wonder that a city renowned for its lofty skyscrapers has created a stunning park in the sky?

The High Line Park, a 1930s-era elevated rail line, has been transformed into vibrant green space, perched some 30 feet above Manhattan. There aren't many spots in a bustling city where the cacophony of horns and rushing traffic below melds with the Zen-like peace of an urban sanctuary up above. Yet the High Line, which was opened in 2009 and bills itself as the first public park of its kind nationwide, manages to achieve that feat.

It's a sensory feast with a visual layout and meticulous landscaping worthy of a French Impressionist canvas. More than 300 species of plants,...