Posted by: brigid benson | September 1, 2014

Postcard from: Manhattan’s High Line

Walk this way!

Walk this way!

Absolutely unmissable; wonderful! That’s my take on the Manhattan High Line

Travelling through New York City in an elevated public park that follows the tracks of a former railroad is just glorious.

Heavyweight railway lines merge into airy plantings of birch trees, grasses and flowers and fascinating sights and sounds of the city present themselves as the line weaves through the Meat Packing District, Chelsea and Lower Hell’s Kitchen.

Blurred lines: public park meets railway track

Blurred lines: public park meets railway track

The former New York Central Railroad track was a freight line carrying meat, milk, raw and manufactured goods to and even through warehouses along the West Side waterfront of the Hudson river.

Between 1851-1929 the original lower level route became known as ‘Death Avenue’ due to collisions between freight trains and street traffic. West Side cowboys were employed to ride horseback ahead of the trains waving red warning flags with limited success. In 1934 the High Line opened to carry goods safely above the city.

Warning of danger: the West Side cowboys

Warning of danger: the West Side cowboys

After decades of success the end of the High Line was reached in 1980 when the line was closed and abandoned, the last freight train carried frozen turkeys.

While Nature moved in to create an urban jungle, the Friends of the High Line campaign group formed in 1999 to save the structure from threatened demolition.Their persistent efforts were rewarded when NYC Council passed a resolution in 2001 to preserve it.

Work began to make the High Line safe and to commission plans for an elevated public park.

With inspirational planting by Piet Oudolf  the High Line reopened in 2009.

Inspired planting reflects Nature's way of self seeding to transform a railway into a wild garden.

Planting reflects Nature’s way of self seeding to transform a railway into a wild garden.

 

Stroll along the walkway to encounter fascinating scenes:

Hudson river views

Hudson river views

 

Reflected views

Reflected views

 

Half glimpsed views

Half glimpsed views

 

Tracks and benches

Old tracks and new benches

 

Rolling stock: sunloungers

Rolling stock: sunloungers

For me, the truly thrilling aspect of the High Line is the ability to travel above the streets, witnessing so much Manhattan life from a different perspective. It’s a bit like a magic carpet!

FDrom window cleaners to Spencer Finch’s window panes of art, here’s just a taste of an afternoon on the High Line.

Desire!

Desire!

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Art inspired by the Hudson River ‘The River That Flows Both Ways’ by Spencer Finch

 

 

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'Dreams come true on the High Line'  T shirt by designer Diane Von Furstenberg

‘Dreams come true on the High Line’
T shirt by designer Diane Von Furstenberg


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