Wednesday, January 27, 2010

High Five For the High Line


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!

9 comments:

Cheryl said...

Oh I agree....such a wonderful project. If it helps wildlife as well, that is a huge bonus in my eyes. I do so love to read about projects such as this. Tks for sharing...

Teza said...

Cindee:
A most compelling piece of garden brilliance! Many fine articles have been written on its creation. While they are not raised, many abandoned railway lines near here have been converted into cataract trails where nature is only to happy to take up residence once again. Great post. It will be interesting to see the completion for sure!

debsgarden said...

What a grand recycling project! It is good to see a great city like New York do something economical and ecologically friendly. And beautiful! Thanks for this very interesting post.

Christine B. said...

I'd like to shake the designers hand. I love that the park preserves the sense of place, of what happened there in the past, all while making it gorgeous and functional for today.

Christine in Alaska

Edith Hope said...

Dear Cindee, What a splendid makeover of a previously redundant site and carried out with great imagination and flair. I do like the way that items from the days of the railway have been put to new uses.

Karen said...

I'm a huge fan of this project - I only wish I could visit it. I love that it's not too neat and tidy but has a nice wild feel to it.

Roses and Lilacs said...

It's wonderful to see some interest in natural areas and gardens. Especially when they reclaim eye sores like the abandoned rail line.
Marnie

VP said...

I think the High Line's a fantastic idea and it's on my the top of my list of things to see if I ever make it over to the Big Apple!

Stone Art said...

Looks fantastic, I think I am going to have to make a list of all the gardens I would like to visit, so that I don't miss out next time I go traveling.