Friday, December 4, 2009

The High Line

While we were in NYC we also took the opportunity to see The High Line - a park on the West Side that is on an old elevated train trestle. We were there on a Monday afternoon so we had a lot of space to walk around and explore. Apparently on the weekends it's mobbed.

I've been wanting to see this park ever since I saw the plans for it in an exhibit in one of the art museums in NYC years and years ago. I remember taking the pamphlet home and taping it to my wall, thinking about how cool it would be if they actually did it.

Since they built it I've seen lots and lots of pictures, and even though I knew what to expect, it was a thrill to actually be there. The design makes heavy use of the elements of the old trestle, and the effect is that you feel like you're walking through a (subtly structured) overgrown or feral landscape. The plants appear to grow out of the sidewalk, and you can see old tracks amongst the trees and bushes.

I was also pleased to see lots of native plants and fall color in the plantings. They were very well done and not overly manicured, which added to the wild feeling of the park.

The benches even seem to leap up from the tracks, arching up out of the architectural lines of the walkway.

M commented that this kind of project is great and all, but the neighborhood where it was built is not lacking for tourist attractions or amenities (like open space) for its rich inhabitants. It would be better served in a different, under-served part of the city. I see that logic, but think it's unrealistic that an under-served neighborhood would have the pull for funders to take the leap that they took to build this. But now that it's been built and it's successful, the model can be extended to other areas of the city where green space is more needed. What do you think?

1 comment:

Sarah said...

I'm learning about new places through your blog- I'd never heard of this garden, but it looks like such a creative space.