I love, love, love the High Line park. I love the concept, love the vision, love the experience. It used to be an elevated train line for freight that ran along the west side of Manhattan from Spring St. up to 34th, but it was closed in the eighties and lay abandoned for years. In 2006 a project got underway to turn it into a city park. The 1st stage, running from Gansevoort St. to 20th was opened to the public in 2009; the 2nd stage was opened this year, continuing up to 30th.
I had visited the park during the 1st stage, but today I walked the length of the High Line all the way from Gansevoort St. to 30th. It was sublime. The first part of the park has matured into something extraordinary; the second part is just lovely – I can’t wait to see how it evolves. The planting design is by Dutch garden designer extraordinaire Piet Oudolf and is an exquisite combination of colour, texture, structure and movement.
I took many, many photographs, so deciding which ones to share has proven an arduous task. However, one thing I knew I couldn’t convey through language or still images was the movement of this incredible planting design. The High Line is elevated above street level, making it windswept at the best of times. Oudolf’s planting has fully embraced this, creating a landscape that ebbs and flows and scatters light in all directions. Most of my day was spent gazing in wonder at this creation, but I did rouse myself out of my reverie to capture a few seconds of footage of this shifting, drifting, ever-changing landscape.
The end result of Oudolf’s masterful planting is a sensual delight. Rich colours, fragrant blooms, grasses you can run your fingers through and the rustling of trees and grasses as the wind caresses them and you.
Leafy tunnels, undulating walkways, a fountain that’s less a fountain and more an unboundaried shimmer of water at ground level that positively begs you to take off your shoes and wander barefoot through it; they all add up to a sense of play guaranteed to enthrall your inner child.
Here are some of the plants that really stole the show as I strolled along the High Line today.
If you’re visiting New York, you should put this park at the top of your to do list. If you live here, you should visit as often as you can. Thank you, Piet Oudolf, for this magical place.