REDNEPS | blog

Walking the High Line

Posted in Uncategorized by Andrew Spender on June 21, 2009

Starting at Gansevoort Street in the Meat Packing District and running to 20th Street in Chelsea, the High Line is a new elevated public park on the West Side. It was originally constructed in the 1930s to lift freight trains off Manhattan’s streets. The first third-of-a-mile stretch has been transformed into a wild flower paradise that retains the original aesthetic of a heavy industrial transport route.

The High Line is about 30 feet off the floor and it runs through a gentrified belt of the West Side

The High Line is about 50 feet off the floor and it runs through a gentrified belt of the West Side

When all sections are complete in the next few years, the High Line will be a mile-and-a-half-long elevated park, running through the West Side neighborhoods of the Meatpacking District, West Chelsea and Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen. It features an integrated landscape, designed by landscape architects James Corner Field Operations, with architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro, combining meandering concrete pathways with naturalistic plantings.

Iron work of the High Line.

The range of plants is extensive and it’s sure to improve with age. There’s an interesting section on the High Line Web site about the planting design.  I really like the way it has been planted to create a “reclaimed by nature” feel. The whole walk-way feels like a journey through a place that time forgot, but the detail and quality of the design is remarkable.

The contrast between the wild flowers and the industrial buildings makes the High Line enchanting.

The contrast between the wild flowers and the industrial buildings makes the High Line enchanting.

The views from the High Line are also fabulous. To the West, there are a series of industrial storage buildings and factories along the Hudson River, the majority of which have been converted to office buildings. The only Frank Gehry designed building in New York can also be viewed in all it’s glory. To the East, you get a different perspective of the very chic Meat Packing District and Chelsea with it’s blend of renovated-for-designer-retail industrial units and uber-modern residential blocks, with hidden gems like the Episcopalian seminary.

View looking East from the High Line. This picture has it all - old & new, residential and industrial, low-rise and Empire State.

View looking East from the High Line. This picture has it all - old & new, residential and industrial, low-rise and Empire State.

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