Sunday, February 26

spectacular views from the elevated Highline in NYC

Dog Day of Summer
at the High Line in NYC 
You may know about my summer 2011 food, gardening & design musings -- take a look at my daily collage board on Tumblr to see what we've been up to.  Or, read one of my weekly editorials from my design column, the East End Nest  in Dan's Papers magazine where I write about design, home, entertaining and cooking in the Hamptons. It's been an action-packed summer ands I have interviewed style makers, designers, artisans, foodies and other who influence how we live in our home.

A recent visit to NYC's recently refurbished elevated HIGH LINE got me inspired. Urban gardens are especially beautiful because they are juxtaposed against the skyscrapers and voluminous city life. They act as a respite from the hustle and bustle and add value to the residents and visitors of the metropolis. It's no secret I love love Central Park and it is our oasis. With all the great stuff I've written about the Hamptons this summer, it feels right as we enter the Dog Days of summer to showcase this New York City gem.  Do you know about the history of the HIGH LINE? First let's take a look at these snapshots I took with my little iPhone:

Wikepedia encyclopedia of High line
The High Line is a 1-mile (1.6 km)[1] New York City park built on a 1.45-mile (2.33 km)[2] section of the former elevated freight railroad spur called the West Side Line, which runs along the lower west side of Manhattan; it has been redesigned and planted as an aerial greenery. The High Line Park currently runs from Gansevoort Street, one block below West 12th Street, in the Meatpacking District, up to 30th Street, through the neighborhood of Chelsea to the West Side Yard, near the Javits Convention Center.

The art of the High Line --

interesting art exhibits change regularly and check the High Line website for updates and schedules.  While we strolled Sarah Sze's exhibit caught our eye
 Still Life with Landscape (Model for a Habitat)

 New York City artist Sarah Sze's intricate installations shape space with thousands of interconnected sculptural elements. The High Line exhibit was made as an elaborate metropolis of perspective architectural models that were created with the High Line path in mind. The sculpture frames the views and is complex and dynamic, and connects with nature as well -- there was a bird observatory with perches, feeding spots and birdbaths throughout.

The Gardens of the High Line --

The landscape artists and groups involved in designing the plantings of the High Line put a great deal of thought into creating a natural environment that seems to have grown organically out of this historic area.  The inspiration came from the self-seeded landscape that grew naturally during the 25 years when the elevated rail tracks stopped running.  Although the plants are beautiful they do not feel contrived and blend with the topography well.  Nothing is overly clipped or shaped and there seems a durability to the perennials and trees chosen. As can be read on the detailed outline on the High Line website, there are many flora -- we especially loved the clematis, daisy, cosmos and echinacea that appear to weave itself around the tracks and through the area as if it's been there forever!

The Tastes of the High Line --

This Mexican ice stand on the boardwalk was quite impressive with natural homemade ices and pops -- I had a very creamy and delicious avocado pop made with no milk products. 

All above photographs taken from my iphone

more glimpses of the High Line
below courtesy of the High Line website,
which offers much information about the refurbishment and history of the High Line 

The winding history of this elevated railroad runs deep
During the early 1900s there were many accidents cause by freight trains and street-level traffic in Manhattan, and the downtown area became known as "Death Avenue".  After much effort the High Line was built in the 1930s.  The project was called the West Side Improvement and the freight traffic was lifted 30ft high above the ground, which enabled a safer way of living in the busy metropolis.  But since 1980, trains have not run and the railroad had become neglected and was in a state of disarray.  A community-based non profit organization called Friends of the High Line was formed to protect it from being destroyed.   Together with the City of New York the organization has worked to preserve the structure as an elevated public park. Since 2002, efforts have been made to restore the structure and construction began in 2006.  The design team consists of landscape architects James Corner Field Operations, architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and they both created the High Lines' public landscape with guidance from a dedicated community of supporters. The first section, which spans from Gansevoort Street to West 20th Street, opened in 2009. The second section, which runs from West 20th Street to West 30th Street opened this year.

Because of the limited access to nature New Yorkers are vehement about their parks and gardens.  Even in tough financial times, the emphasis and beauty is kept intact with locals digging deep into their pockets, volunteering their time, energy and talents to assure we have exquisite parks.  The High Line project is a testament to the passion New Yorkers have for their gardens, art and parks --

Bravo New York!

Stop back next week
for more food talk
as the Hampton Classic
horse show
hits Bridgehampton


stacystyle said...

I can't wait to explore the High-Line! I can't believe I've put it off for so long, but now I am completely inspired to stroll there this September. Thanks for sharing it with us! xosk

Tamara Matthews-Stephenson said...

Stacy - thanks for the compliment and you of all people would love it -- very inspiring! xo tamara

Maria Wheeler, Simply Cool Stuff said...

I visited the High-Line a few months ago just before phase II was opened. As a Garden Designer I was enthralled and astounded by the plantings and the design....Yes it is beautiful and certainly creative but the one thing that stays with me still is how it made me feel! It was like truly being in the best of both worlds, which we all know, NEVER happens! Thanks for the post and awesome photos!