21 July 2015

High Line Impressions

While on a trip to New York City, a visit to the High Line was high on my list. This is the old elevated railroad that was preserved and turned into a park. Overgrown with weeds and plants, it was 'rehabilitated' into a walking landscape; transformed from a rusting eyesore to an urban park and walkway with views. Watering systems, soil, stairs, elevators, and of course vegetation were installed on the old structure. I imagine the steel structure had to be beefed up in some spots, too.

It is a phenomenal success story. I have a link to the High Line blog (on the right sidebar.) I read that it is inspiring similar park projects in other cities, too, like Chicago, London, and here in Washington, DC.

The plantings contain a lot of native species like echinacea, monarda, grasses and sedges.

Liatris near the edge. I believe there is a continuous light in the railing along each edge, but I was not there in the evening to verify.

There were areas where the old rails were preserved to remind us of its past purpose and use.

The paving blocks were notched at their ends to allow small slivers of planting bed to penetrate the paving edge -- blurring the edge between paving and plants. This created an appearance of the vegetation slowing creeping into the paved areas, like it does on an old paved road (or railroad.) The granite paving matches the color of the crushed stone of a railroad bed.

Benches were designed to appear as if they are a continuation of the paving -- almost like the paving was lifted up. Unfortunately, this also creates a tripping hazard.

There are movable lounge chairs. In keeping with the railroad theme, they are on wheels and roll on the rails.

This is not just a wet sidewalk. Delighting the senses, this water feature is a pool of water where one cannot drown. It is only about 1/8" deep (3 mm) and can be walked on in order to sit at the benches. (Sorry, the slight rain doesn't help the photo.) A perfect place to splash barefoot.

Artwork also delights the senses. A sculpture of graffiti is placed along the perimeter, spray-painting on the imaginary wall at the edge.

The walk also contained some shady areas where it proceeds under a grove of trees.

Success has allowed the High Line to be extended twice. This urban park is helping to spur redevelopment along the western side of Manhattan's old meat packing district. New residential condos, hotels, shops, offices, and new Whitney Museum are springing up and bringing more people (and tourists) and 'upscale' to one of the remaining industrial areas of Manhattan. I have mixed feelings about this change.


Christa atCedarmereFarm said...
WOW, that is brilliant! Thank you for a great tour. Next time I visit NYC, I will make sure to visit this park.
Swimray said...
I highly recommend this for plant lovers. It's good to read the history on the High Line web site, too.
Jan Johnsen said...
What a great post! I am so glad to know your garden blog!
will share...
Swimray said...
Thanks for the compliment, and the visit.
Linda said...
Wonderful post and beautiful photos!
Les said...
This has become one of my favorite things to do in NYC. I read this week that Richmond is building something similar, unimaginatively called the Low Line. It follows a bike trail along the James, and underneath an elevated railway.
J Clark said...
Ray - Great post. Seeing this is on my to-do list. There's a small, very basic version of the High Line in Rosslyn, if you have a chance to visit it. It's where the old Freedom Park was. The entrance is on North Lynn street, just past the exit off of Route 50. I took some photos for a post last year, if you're interested: http://gardening-wars.blogspot.com/2014/08/virginias-own-high-line.html
DC Tropics said...
The High Line is on my bucket list!
Jim/ArtofGardening.org said...
I still have not made a visit to the High Line yet. Looks like July is a good month to go.