October on The High Line
The High Line is an elevated park located on the West Side, in the west part of Chelsea in the Meatpacking District. It runs from Gansevoort Street to 34th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues. Open from 7 am to 8 pm daily during the winter, admission is free. ( I couldn’t find its hours during other times of the year but I’m sure they are on the High Line website somewhere).
It’s an amazing stretch of open park space elevated above the city streets, owned by the City and operated by its Parks Department. When all sections are finished it will be 1-1/2 miles long. Its integrated landscape, designed by landscape architects James Corner Field Operations, in consultation with the great Piet Oudolf, grows around precast-concrete planks that allow its railbed covering to transition from complete hardscape to complete vegetation. The planks have open joints that allow grasses and other naturalistic plantings to grow through cracks in the “sidewalk.” (In addition to input from the designers, apparently the planting choices were influenced at least in part by what was found to have survived when the design work started.)
When I visited in late October, I was impressed by how lush the plantings were even as winter approached. Oudolf’s influence was evident. I saw ornamental grasses, Amsonia hubrechtii turning golden, white coneflowers, and other tough drought-tolerant plantings.
What was equally interesting, however, were the areas in which I saw plants I think of as needing more shade and water – Heuchera or coral bells, for example, planted near small stands of white birches. The coral bells I saw looked quite good, whether because they were recent replacements or because the spring and summer in the city had been more moisture-laden than usual.
At the end of the line (for now), there were masses of asters in bloom, providing a colorful coda to our walk.
The next section of the High Line (20th St. to 30th St.) is projected to open in 2010. Check it out the next time you’re in New York, needing a “green space” fix and nowhere near Central Park.Explore posts in the same categories: landscape, Travel comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.