The High Line, New York

High Line, Manhattan, Summer 2015.

The transformation of almost one and a half miles of an elevated spur of the old New York Railroad in lower Manhattan into a greenway from 2006 to 2015.

The old rails are visible in some places and camouflaged by plants in others.  The edges of the pebbledash  cement pathway are curved upwards to alert feet to move away from the plants.  On one side a view of the Hudson.  On the other the city.   Elevators have been installed periodically.  At the southern end is the new building designed for the Whitney Museum of American Art.

More than 200 varieties of plants, not all of them native.  Shade provided in one spot by birch trees coming up eerily through the floor.  Wooden seating of various shapes the length of the greenway. You can lie back and sleep in the sun on some of them.   Thankfully, plants are strangling some of the mediocre art commissioned for the greenway. I am tired of politically correct ‘public art’:  the graffiti going up on buildings on the city side is more interesting.

At 30th Street, adults and children were in deep concentration building fantasies with pristine white Lego parts at the invitation of the Danish-Icelandic architect Elafur Oliasson. I was touched by the gentleness of a middle-aged woman  encouraging the man with her, hanging back, to go ahead and join the children.

The greening of this railroad and the new Whitney have been a spur to the transformation of this neighbourhood.  Many ‘real’ construction workers all around.

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