Wednesday, January 27, 2010
What do you do with a defunct raised railroad bed? Make it into a nature park, of course! That’s exactly what New York City did with their High Line elevated railroad. Being too expensive to tear down, it sat there unused until Mayor Bloomberg gave the go-ahead to make it a park.
Situated in the Chelsea district, it is a lovely little oasis of green in a sea of concrete. Natural plantings of grasses, trees and native wildflowers give New Yorkers a nice place to stroll, relax or people watch (indeed, the Standard Hotel received the nickname of “The Eyeful Tower” when hotel guests started treating night-time High Liners to their own little exhibitions).
Old flatcars have been made into chaise lounges for sun soaking and many of the old rails are still in place and artfully incorporated into the design of the garden.
I’m always delighted when I see something big and ugly become something big and beautiful, but what I’m especially happy about is that the High Line has created habitat for wildlife where there was none before. The grasses and wildflowers are a rich seed source for many small birds. The trees create a mini forest in the city. The only addition I would suggest would be nesting boxes for birds in the spring.
At the far end is an amphitheater facing huge glass windows that look down on 10th street.
Sitting in the amphitheater watching people go by on the street was fun, but being on the other end and looking up to see them all watching you was a little strange.
Currently the High Line runs about a half mile, but on completion of the next phases, will extend 2 kilometers. Good Job, New York!
Posted by Moonstone Gardens at 10:07 AM