Tuesday, July 14, 2009
The High Line
Chic park visitors. Black is the new black.
If the great New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham can get over to the new High Line park to do a story, I guess we can visit too. After all all, we only live three blocks away. Every time TD and I had planned to go, it rained. But the rain seems to have stopped, and Monday night after work we went to check it out.
Up the stairs we went in the Meatpacking District at Gansevoort Street, home of the former Florent restaurant. The first thing you see is the new Standard Hotel from Andre Balazs which rises up overhead. The hotel is all glass windows which are lined with curtains that are different colors and too long, thus creating a messy effect on an otherwise dramatic building. But never mind about that.
The High Line itself was built in the 1930s as an elevated train track in order to get dangerous, dirty freight trains away from the street. No trains have run on it since 1980, and when it was threatened with demolition, two ingenious New Yorkers and neighbors, Joshua David and Robert Hammond, formed The Friends of the High Line to develop a park there. It was designed by Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio & Renfro, and the first section, up to 20th Street, recently opened.
I love these silver birches; they look so great in a city, combining green with a grey urban color.
The designers left some abandoned train tracks. The wild flowers and prairie grasses that were planted here look like they just blew in.
The concrete planking of the walkway evokes a linear train track.
These plants and trees will grow in and get larger every year.
Chaise lounges are installed for relaxing and people watching.
I like how the designers mixed blooming plants with the industrial tracks.
At 16th Street an amphitheater offers a place to sit over traffic going up 10th Avenue for an unusual perspective.
Flowers in the Chelsea art gallery district.
A meadow, in the city, elevated.
I loved this gigantic purple-blooming plant.
A great place to view the sunset.
The elevation of the High Line offers a new and unexpected viewpoint; you kind of feel like you're walking on air. It's a wonderful addition to the city, as is the Hudson River Park; how did we live without these things? The High Line is New York itself: smart, energetic, stylish, cerebral, a little edgy. Kudos to its creators.